Announcing Williamsburg’s awesome new Mentors for 2018-2019

At Williamsburg, our mentors are the heart of our program. They create the open, safe, fun and challenging learning environment that lets our students thrive, and ask the questions that help our students discover and tap into their potential. We’re on a never-ending quest to find and hire the best mentors from around the world to serve our students, and this year we could not be more excited to be welcoming ten awesome new mentors to the Williamsburg team! Get to know them all below. 

Dawn Bird, Math Mentor

Dawn has always been interested in logic and reasoning for her experiences in life, and attributes this curiosity to why she was drawn to mathematics. After all, she says, “Mathematics is the ultimate example of logic and reasoning. I have always loved how mathematics can bring precision and reason to an idea that seems so complex. I hope to bring this curiosity to my students as we move through the world of mathematics together.”

Dawn’s favorite quote about math comes from Marcus du Sautoy: “Mathematics has beauty and romance. It’s not a boring place to be, the mathematical world. It’s an extraordinary place; it’s worth spending time there.”

Dawn lives in a small town in the mountains of Idaho with her husband and their “fur baby,” Monty the adventure dog. She hold a B.S. in Mathematics and Spanish from Montana State University and an M.Ed. from University of Cincinnati. Dawn has taught mathematics for ten years, and when not teaching, Dawn can be found running, rafting, biking, and (most importantly) skiing.

Camille Christensen, Math MentorCamille Christensen

Camille grew up in Mesa, Arizona, and her childhood consisted of friends, swimming, and sports. “School was also a huge priority in our family. While it may not have been the purest of motivations, my goal was always to outperform my older sisters.” Math was always Camille’s favorite subject: “I remember begging my mom in third grade to take me to school early so I could try getting faster times on my multiplication tables!”

Over time, Camille realized that her passion for math came from her amazing high school teachers and that she wanted to “be that teacher for someone else.” This led Camille to attend Brigham Young University and Utah State University studying Math and Math Education. Camille also made her first connection with Williamsburg while attending college and joined the team as a math tutor.

Camille and her husband are parents to a beautiful baby girl. Along with math and spending time with her family, Camille loves to play the piano and attend sporting events.

Kathryn Garland, Math MentorKathryn Garland

Kathryn has tutored and taught online for many years and loves having the unique opportunity to meet new people from all over the world through online learning platforms. In her own words: “I LOVE teaching math and think it’s the best subject out there! I believe all students can ‘get’ math with enough effort. I love helping students make those connections.”

Kathryn grew up in Arizona and has lived in Finland for one-and-a-half years. She is proficient in Spanish and fluent in Finnish and enjoys trying to find ways to use both of these languages back at home in the U.S.

Kathryn holds a BS degree in Math Education from Brigham Young University. She currently lives in Ohio with her husband, and they both love being outdoors, hiking, and playing racquetball. They also love going to sporting events (“go Indians!”), trying new foods, and riding new roller coasters. Their absolute favorite pastime, though, is playing board games with friends. 

Ross Gilbert, Leadership MentorRoss Gilbert

“G’day mate! Yes, you guessed it, I am Australian. Not quite the ‘Steve Urwin Crocodile Hunter’ type, but pretty close!” Ross is very excited to be the first “Aussie” mentor for Williamsburg Learning. Growing up, Ross was deeply impacted by his own caring role models and mentors—so much so that he realized he wanted to serve others the same way for the rest of his life.

After completing a Bachelor of Business & Economics and Japanese Language & Asian Studies from Monash University in Australia, Ross “did what most people do: got a job and paid off a mortgage.” After that, something changed: “We needed more from life and so my wife and five children and I left Australia and began exploring the world.” They have now visited 33 countries and love seeing how travel changes how they see the world.

On one of his family adventures, Ross had a “chance” encounter with some Williamsburg mentors and their families, on top of Mt. Vesuvius, Italy. That moment changed Ross’s life (“thank you, Denning and Young families!”) and the rest is history. 

Emily Gutierrez, Humanities MentorEmily Gutierrez

More than anything, Emily loves learning new things and sharing her enthusiasm for learning with others. As a result, Emily has found herself in a wide range of teaching situations, including teaching writing to homeschoolers; teaching reading to a child with dyslexia and teaching English, keyboarding, and Spanish in public school. In her own words, “My life has been rich with opportunities for discovering and sharing the things I love most with others.”

Emily studied English Education at Utah Valley University and has “a deep fondness for the Rocky Mountains, sagebrush, and sunshine of the West.” At the same time, after living for six years now in Central New York, Emily also feels at home “amidst the woods, waterfalls, and rich history of the East” with her husband and three children.

Wandering through antique shops, hotly debating whether ice cream tastes better from a cup or a cone, practicing yoga, turning up the volume to Beethoven’s 9th symphony, reading great literature, identifying birds in my backyard, and holding impromptu dance parties in the living room are a few of Emily’s favorite things right now.

Jeremiah Makin, Leadership & Humanities Mentor

As a teenager, when people asked Jeremiah what he wanted to be when he grew up, his reply was always, “An entrepreneur… or an NBA basketball player.” It was “partially a cop-out answer because I had no idea what I wanted to do or be…  but the entrepreneurial itch has stuck with me and I have learned a lot as I have ventured down this path.”

About two years ago Jeremiah felt a desire to pursue a different career path so he could work more with youth, and he “ditched a great desk job to go on this adventure… which has led me and my family to Williamsburg.” Jeremiah is very excited to share with students what he has learned (and continues to learn) about the world, self-mastery, entrepreneurship, and life.

Jeremiah is earned a BS in Digital Media (minor in Spanish) and an MBA from Utah Valley University. When he needs a “life-recharge,” Jeremiah can be found creating ditties on the guitar, sketching, having fun with his wife and five kids, shooting hoops, or “quietly observing the world from a lofty place.”

Emily Poai, Math MentorEmily Poai

Emily grew up in a small town with no stoplights or sidewalks. “There were acres and acres of alfalfa fields around my house,” in which Emily and her siblings would fly kites and play endless games of hide-and-seek.

While studying in college, Emily fell in love with the beauty of mathematics. As she says today, “I love studying math for mathematics sake—not for when I ‘might’ use it. And even more than discovering the beauty of mathematics for myself, I love to help others discover it as well.”

Emily received an undergraduate degree in Math and Math Education from Brigham Young University. After teaching math for five years in a public school, she decided to further her education and earned a Mathematics Teaching graduate degree from the University of Utah. Emily currently lives in Provo with her husband and two beautiful children. She enjoys hiking, reading, swimming, biking, dancing and, most of all, spending time with her family. 

Kent Schwager, STEM MentorKent Schwager

Kent grew up in the middle of the Sonoran Desert, where there were more cacti than people. As a kid, he spent all of his time outside—when he was not running around in the desert, he was usually building some sort of contraption that would help him catch desert critters. Kent is very thankful for this childhood setting.

Kent has always loved science and anything to do with designing and building things. These passions, combined with a personality that is “never satisfied with short answers or textbook explanations,” have made science a way of life for Kent. “The more you understand, the less you actually know. The eternal progression of learning more, to understand less, is very addicting.”

Kent holds a degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from Western Governors University, where he majored in elementary education. Before joining Williamsburg, Kent taught middle school science for five years at George Washington Academy in St. George, Utah, where he was voted Teacher of the Year twice in a row.

Robert Shrout, U.S. History, College Leadership & Financial Leadership Mentor

Robert has taught in both public and private schools (including IMG Academy, a leading private school for student-athletes) and worked as an educator in the corporate world. Robert has been a student for most of his life and loves sharing his passion for learning with students.

Robert is an avid reader and deeply values his own liberal arts education. In his own words, “the liberal arts have taught me to understand and connect with those who hold different values, beliefs, and cultural norms than I do and to see their importance as human beings.” Robert’s wife, Sara, and daughter, Penelope, “help me to realize how precious time is and to value our moments of fun and laughter.” Robert loves to travel, hike, and watch Kansas City Royals baseball, and he and his are huge Disney fans.

Robert holds a BA in History & English and an MA in Education from Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri. He is currently working towards a Doctorate of Education with a specialization in leadership through Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia.

Karin Williams, Journalism MentorKarin Williams

“To gain your own voice, you have to forget about having it heard.” Karin first read this Allen Ginsberg quote years ago, and as a writer, it blew her mind. “Why hadn’t I ever approached writing from that point of view?” she asked. “I write. It’s what I do and what I love. Learning about writing, sharing my writing, helping others foster their creative voices is my passion.”

Karin and her family live in a little town just outside Las Vegas, Nevada. They love to travel. Karin feels that part of being a well-rounded person is exploration: “Seeing different cities, states, and countries and experiencing their cultures is the best way to learn about other people,” she says. In her spare time, Karin also loves to practice yoga, read, knit, and put together jigsaw puzzles.

After graduating from Southern New Hampshire University with a BA in English and Creative Writing, she is currently exploring options for her Master’s degree. After watching her own child excel at Williamsburg over the last school year, Karin is thrilled to be joining the Williamsburg mentor team this fall. 

From all of our mentors and our entire team at Williamsburg, we can’t wait to kick off another great school year and see amazing things our students will accomplish.

To find out if Williamsburg is the right fit to serve you and your family on your unique educational journey, take our Right Fit Quiz.

July 30, 2018