Our Teachers & Staff

tutor, music teacher, staff, lansdowne, pa

Janice Vlahovich

Program Director; Tutor; Music Teacher

Janice has a Bachelor’s Degree in Secondary Education from the University of Pennsylvania and has done post-graduate work in math and computer programming at Temple University and St. Joe’s University. After graduation from Penn, she was the head of the computer unit for 15 of her 19 years with Psychopharmacology Research at the University of Pennsylvania. She also taught undergraduate and graduate computer programming classes as an adjunct instructor at Widener University. Before college, Janice studied piano in St. Louis, MO, where she periodically performed classical piano selections on the radio. She also studied violin in her home town in Illinois and played violin throughout her high school years with the Belleville Philharmonic Orchestra. In 1989, Janice left her position at the University of Pennsylvania to start Learning, Inc., where she has been directing the programs and following her passion for teaching ever since. Her teaching goals are to help students both to succeed at reaching their full potential and to grow in their love of learning.

tutor, music teacher, staff, lansdowne, pa

Tashya Adamcik

Assistant Director; Tutor

Tashya has a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Temple University and is currently working on her Masters/PhD in School Counseling and her certification for Child Life Specialist. Since 2011, she has been a part-time tutor here at Learning, Inc. She has taught preschool at the Lansdowne Presbyterian Preschool Academy and has also coordinated many summer youth development programs in Philadelphia. Tashya has a business background in both small business banking and commercial cleaning. She has been a franchise owner for over 11 years at CleanNet USA. She spends her free time as a volunteer at the Ronald McDonald House at the Chestnut St. location in Philadelphia. Tashya enjoys helping children and is dedicated to making a difference.

tutor, music teacher, staff, lansdowne, pa

Danielle DiCristino

Tutor

Danielle has a Bachelors Degree in Early Childhood/Elementary Ed and a Masters Degree in Literacy, both from West Chester University. She is a Certified Reading Specialist Pre-K-12 and is working on her Dyslexia Certificate. Helping students become better in reading and language arts is her life’s passion. She also teaches elementary math and helps with study skills in other content areas such as science, social studies, and religion. Danielle is a firm believer in ‘hands on, minds on’ learning and incorporates art, music, movement and games into her teaching. With this approach, students are actively learning and more likely to retain information.

tutor, music teacher, staff, lansdowne, pa

Shana McLendon

Tutor

Shana is a 7th year teacher for the School District of Philadelphia, where she currently teaches at Strawberry Mansion High School. She has her certifications in both elementary and special education. She has been working with children in the educational setting since 2006 and has worked with children from ages newborn to high school. She has taught/co-taught subjects in and related to math, literacy, science, and social studies, as well as reading and math interventions. She is a fun loving, but stern, compassionate, and enthusiastic teacher who is passionate about helping students to become confident in their academic abilities and successful as learners.

tutor, music teacher, staff, lansdowne, pa

David Sheehan

Tutor

David is a middle school English (ELA) teacher at the Laboratory Charter School in Northern Liberties in Philadelphia. He is certified in both PA and NJ and his experience includes teaching at Cherry Hill East High School in New Jersey. A native Philadelphian, David is a graduate of Masterman High School and La Salle University. His motto is, “Everything all the time should be for the students.”

tutor, music teacher, staff, lansdowne, pa

Stephanie Patterson

Tutor

Stephanie has been dedicated to teaching children for the past ten years. Nine of those years, she has worked for the School District of Philadelphia. She has taught preschool, kindergarten, and first and fourth grades. In 2012, she received her M. Ed Degree, and she is certified in Early Childhood and Elementary Education, as well as Special Education. On a more personal note, Stephanie lives outside the city with her husband and two small boys, ages 3 and 1.

tutor, music teacher, staff, lansdowne, pa

Lisa Landrum

Tutor

Ms. Landrum graduated from Villanova University with a major in Spanish and a minor in French and Italian. She has a Master’s in Education from Cabrini College and is currently a Spanish teacher at an area high school. Before teaching, Ms. Landrum was International Administrator for the American College of Physicians in Philadelphia. At ACP, she was the liaison for members abroad for the company and represented ACP at international medical meetings.

tutor, Lisa Richardson, staff, lansdowne, pa

Lisa Richardson

Tutor

Lisa is currently a high school English teacher at Upper Darby High School. Beginning her career as a certified Reading Specialist, Lisa has taught students from grades K-12 in a variety of traditional and non-traditional educational settings around Philadelphia since 1994. She approaches teaching by first building a rapport with her students. She has a B.A. in English Writing and a M.A. in Educational Psychology with a focus on Remedial Reading. She is a mother of four sons and very active in the William Penn School District where her children attend school. She also advocates for the health, safety and education of the youth in her Philadelphia hometown by planning and implementing events and programs with a moms’ group which she cofounded. Lisa is dedicated to equipping young people with the tools needed for them to achieve the success they are capable of.

tutor, Leslie Wilson, staff, lansdowne, pa

Leslie Wilson

Tutor

Leslie Wilson holds an M. Ed. In Elementary Education, a BA in English and dual teaching certifications in Pennsylvania and Massachusetts. She has worked as a classroom teacher and tutor for over 15 years, which has aided her in acquiring an acute understanding of the academic/developmental concerns of school-aged students. In this capacity, she developed a multidisciplinary/multicultural curriculum, including numerous technology units to comply with Curriculum Guidelines and State Standards. Accordingly, she instructed various classes/levels, including special education, bilingual and early childhood populations. Her lessons are often hands-on, and students adopt an active role in learning. She incorporates self-esteem building, conflict resolution, cultural appreciation, environmental appreciation, and community service objectives into her curriculum in an effort to promote a social responsibility mentality.

tutor, music teacher, staff, lansdowne, pa

Paul Steller

Tutor

Paul has a Bachelors Degree in Math and Math Education, and a Masters Degree in Curriculum and Instruction (with a focus in math). He recently moved to Philadelphia from Hartford, where he taught high school math, as well as a class at the University of Hartford. Paul hopes to continue his own education by pursuing a math doctoral program in the near future. When he isn’t teaching or studying math, Paul also loves to go to concerts, play board games, exercise, and record podcasts. Paul loves moving students towards a greater appreciation and realization that math is all around us, and his teaching style focuses more on a deep, conceptual understanding of the content, rather than memorizing steps or solely using patterns to solve problems.

tutor, music teacher, staff, lansdowne, pa

Ali Richardson

Music Teacher; Tutor

Born and raised in Newark, New Jersey, Ali Richardson currently resides in West Philadelphia, which serves as his home-base for teaching, creating, and performing music. He has a BA in Arts from Lehigh University, where he majored in English and minored in music. As a co-founder in 2004 of the CODA Program, Ali is also lead facilitator for the Hip-hop Jazz Musicology and Drum Circle workshops and has taught in schools, libraries and museums for the last 14 years. He also teaches Baby Music Classes and performs at children’s birthday parties and events. Musically and artistically, Ali blends Hip-hop, Jazz, Blues, and World Music into his performances and plays several musical instruments, including guitar, drums, bass, keyboard, and percussion.

tutor, music teacher, staff, lansdowne, pa

Dominic Angelella

Music Teacher

Dominic graduated with a degree in Jazz Performance with a focus on guitar from The University of the Arts. He also studied piano and composition. He has over ten years of experience teaching, both privately and in the classroom, and has taught in the Philadelphia school system, at The Conservatory of Music, and at the Boys and Girls Club. Dominic has served as musical director/show director/teacher at the School of Rock. He has toured the country with a number of bands, sharing the stage with such acts as Gnarls Barkley, Public Enemy, Vampire Weekend, The Roots, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, and others, and has performed many years at the Roots Picnic. He has toured with the band MeWithoutYou through the US, Canada, Europe, and Russia. Last fall, he released a record with his band Drgn King, with which he is lead singer and guitarist, on Hoboken’s Bar/None Records. He has also performed on tracks for musicians such as ?uestlove, J*Davey, Lil B The Based God, Juicy J and Mac Miller. Dominic combines technique, music theory, and the joy of making music in the lessons he teaches.

tutor, music teacher, staff, lansdowne, pa

Derek Gertz

Music Teacher

Derek graduated from The University of The Arts in Philadelphia with a degree in Jazz Performance on the guitar. Derek tours nationally with acts of many different genres and has shared the stage with bands such as Chevelle, Cky, Wheatus and many other national acts. He can also be seen playing his original compositions with his jazz trio in and around the Philadelphia area. He is also an in-demand studio musician mainly within the hip-hop, rock, and electronic music idioms. Derek has been teaching private music lessons for 10 years now and works tirelessly to provide his students with an individualized curriculum that is both fun and will maximize their growth as musicians. Derek teaches lessons on guitar, bass, drums, and piano.