Educators

Megan Trezza, M.Ed.
Megan Trezza, M.Ed.

Megan Cohen Trezza, M.Ed., founded La Jolla LearningWorks in 2009 to provide individualized tutoring, test preparation, and educational therapy services that allow students to reach their fullest potential. Megan brings expertise in effective research-based interventions for individuals with learning difficulties, such as ADHD, dyslexia, and auditory processing.

Megan received her B.A. from UC Berkeley (2001) and her Master’s in Elementary Education and CA Teaching Credential from Loyola Marymount University (2004). She pursued her Certificate in Educational Therapy through UC Riverside and has completed training on Lindamood-Bell’s processing programs, LiPS, Seeing Stars, and Visualizing and Verbalizing, and Cloud Nine Math, the Wilson Reading System, and Step Up To Writing. Prior to working in the private sector, Megan taught first grade in inner-city Los Angeles through Teach for America and presented teacher-training workshops across California. Megan is a past President of the San Diego Branch of the International Dyslexia Association (www.dyslexiasd.org) and a member of the Association for Educational Therapists (www.aetonline.com).

Aside from her professional endeavors, Megan enjoys rock climbing, yoga, swimming at La Jolla Cove, and cooking paleo-style meals with her friends and family.

Allison Baum, M.Ed.
Allison Baum, M.Ed.

Allison grew up in Somers, Connecticut and is a graduate of Westfield State University in Massachusetts. She studied Elementary Education with a concentration in literacy. She went on to receive her Masters from University of Massachusetts in Reading and English as a Second Language. Allison taught four years in Springfield, Massachusetts at a Title 1 school. She worked as a 3rd grade classroom teacher and a reading interventionist. She fell in love with a Navy Diver and moved to Hawaii with him where she taught kindergarten. Their next duty station was Panama City, Florida. There she taught as a 3rd grade classroom teacher before taking a position as a 1st-3rd Special Education Inclusion teacher. She is certified in both Elementary Education and Special Education.

Allison and her husband are now stationed in beautiful, sunny San Diego! She looks forward to sharing her knowledge with the community and helping all children develop a love of reading and education.

In her spare time, you will find her teaching dance and Zumba classes, at the beach, or spending time with family and friends.

Christina Van Houten, M.Ed.
Christina Van Houten, M.Ed.

Christina moved a little over a year and a half ago from Arlington, VA to sunny San Diego and although, she misses the snow, she will admit that the weather here is pretty close to perfect. While in Virginia, Christina was an English Language Learner teacher for elementary school students. Although spending most of her time with 2nd grade in all subject areas, she also spent time in Kindergarten, as well as creating a 3rd – 5th grade academic English vocabulary class to help those students new to the country have a better understanding of overall subject area vocabulary. Before moving to Virginia, Christina completed both her undergraduate degree in Sports and Fitness as well as her master’s degree in Elementary Education at the University of Central Florida. She has a passion for watching student’s grow and learn not just academically but physically and emotionally too. She is so excited to be a part of such a caring and compassionate company that looks at the whole child in order to help them grow and be successful in both school and life.

In her free time, you will find Christina trying to find a new and delicious recipe to cook or bake, reading, spending time with her husband exploring San Diego, running, and a new love that she never thought she would enjoy doing – hot yoga!

Emma Tovar
Emma Tovar - Test Prep academic coach la jolla learningworks
Emma Tovar

“Never stop having a beginner’s mindset.”

Emma hails from the great Pacific Northwest, and grew up in Federal Way, WA. She attended The Evergreen State College and graduated with her Bachelors of Science degree in Marine Biology and Field Ecology in 2011. After graduating, she worked with the TRiO program and Upward Bound and served as the Science Instructor for the summer program several years. Since then, she relocated to San Diego and has worked with the Ocean Discovery Institute, and splits her time working with students at La Jolla Learning Works and research at Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

Working with students from under-served communities has always been a side passion for Emma, and she enjoys building students’ curiosity about the natural world. She’s worked with students with ADD/ADHD, Dyslexia, and Visual Processing Disorder. Emma’s enthusiasm for math and science carries through into her sessions whether it is for test prep or general school support. Her eagerness to help students learn has led her to incorporate multimedia tools into her sessions to extend the learning beyond the classroom.

She’s trained in prepping students for the ISEE, HSPT, ACT, and SAT. Her educational therapy program training includes Visualizing & Verbalizing, Step up to Writing, and LJLW’s Executive Functioning program.

In her free time, Emma loves to explore the outdoors, go hiking, running and visiting the Cat Café.

Elaine Garmon, MS, BCC
Elaine Garmon, MS, BCC

Elaine has an extensive background in Education, Mental Health Counseling, and Personal Development Coaching. She has a Bachelors in Elementary and Special Education from the University of Vermont and a Masters in Mental Health Counseling from the University of Southern Maine. She is also a Board Certified Coach through the Center for Credentialing and Education. Elaine taught for several years at the Elementary and Middle School level in both regular and special education. She has counseled students of all ages at the college and graduate school level as well as provided coaching and consultation services to parents and educators. She truly enjoys supporting children, teens, and families struggling with the effects of a Learning Disability, ADHD, or Autism Spectrum Disorder. She especially loves helping her clients to gain confidence through strengthening their ability to pay attention, remember, organize, and learn effectively.

Elaine is a firm believer in and advocate of outdoor exercise and the positive impact it has on all areas of our lives. In addition to working as an educational therapist for La Jolla Learning Works, Elaine owns a coaching practice, called Walking Your Talk. Walking Your Talk Coaching is a structured method of one on one coaching while walking that Elaine developed to help her clients to problem solve, gain clarity, stay focused and reach personal or professional goals.

Elaine, her husband, and three children, ages 14, 12, and 9, are all nature lovers. They enjoy hiking and camping together. When Elaine is not coaching or teaching, she can be found surfing, hiking, running or mountain biking all around San Diego.

Jillean Veroneau
Jillean Veroneau

“I believe in and love the process of learning, so I like to instill that in my students.”

Jillean is a graduate of Roger Williams University with a double major in Psychology and Biology. After graduating she worked as an applied behavioral therapist with special needs children, specifically those with Autism, in Boston. She also gained experience as neurofeedback technician while living on the east coast, working with children with a range of developmental disabilities/needs including ADD/ADHD, Dyslexia, Anxiety, Sensory Processing Disorder, Depression, Specific Learning Disability, Auditory Processing Disorder, and Visual Processing Disorder.

In addition to working at La Jolla LearningWorks, she has continued her career in neurofeedback working as a practitioner here in San Diego at Healthy Within: Neurofeedback, working with individuals with many different types of brain-based disorders.

During her time here at La Jolla LearningWorks, she has completed training in Executive Functioning, Wilson Reading System, Seeing Stars for Reading Fluency & Spelling, Cloud 9 for Math Remediation, Visualizing and Verbalizing for visual and auditory processing deficits, ISEE and ACT/SAT, Metacognition, Step up to Writing, Handwriting Without Tears, and Keyboarding Without Tears.

She has a love for learning and a passion for working with students to instill that same love of learning. She recognizes that each child has a way to learn that is best for them and pays close attention to that in her sessions so the student gets the most they can from their time together. Her favorite engagement strategy is letting children take control of their learning.

In Jillean’s free time she likes to enjoy the outdoors and make the most of the sunny San Diego climate. She is also an avid traveler and is always eager to learn about new cultures.

Erika Rivera
Erika Rivera

“The laughter of children is an international language.”

 Erika graduated from San Diego State University in 2013 with a Bachelor in Social Work. She is currently working on her goal of earning a Master’s in Education, along with a teaching credential. Erika has a passion for helping children achieve their ultimate potential. She has worked with children on the Autism spectrum and with a Specific Learning Disability. She is trained in our ISEE test prep program. She’s highly skilled in the Wilson Reading System, Seeing Stars, Visualizing & Verbalizing, Step up to Writing, and Keyboarding Without Tears programs. Her favorite engagement strategy is incorporating things a child likes into their learning and helping a child make connections to their learning.

In her free time, Erika enjoys painting and making crafts. Erika enjoys using her creativity to help students learn new concepts and ideas. She also enjoys spending time outdoors and time with her family and friends. Her personal life goal is to visit all 50 states!

Gina Pierotti, M.Ed.
Gina Pierotti, M.Ed.

“I strive to provide an atmosphere in which students feel supported in their learning, enjoy working with their strengths, and have a desire to help them reach their goals.”

Gina earned her Multiple Subject Teaching Credential and Master of Education in Teaching and Learning at the University of California, San Diego. After doing so, she worked with students in elementary schools as a Program Support Teacher for three years, providing reading intervention instruction to students in grades Kindergarten through sixth. She taught other subjects as well, including math and writing. She has five years of experience tutoring students in primary school through college in various subject areas in a one-on-one setting. While in college at the University of California, Santa Cruz earning her Bachelor of Arts in Literature, she tutored other students as part of Learning Support Services.

She has worked with students with ADD/ADHD, Dyslexia, Anxiety, and Depression. Her educational therapy training includes the Wilson Reading System, Seeing Stars, Cloud 9 Math, Visualizing & Verbalizing, Step up to Writing, Handwriting Without Tears, Keyboarding Without Tears, and LJLW’s Executive Functioning program. Her favorite engagement strategy is making learning relevant to students’ lives.

In her free time, Gina enjoys yoga, reading, and spending time with friends and family.

Jacob Delgado
Jacob Delgado

“Learning is a physiological activity involving the whole body, which requires students to be active participants in the subject matter in order for learning to take place.”

 Jacob was born and raised in Southern California, and grew up in Hemet, CA. He attended San Diego State University and graduated with his Bachelor’s of Science degree in Kinesiology, with an emphasis in Physical Education in 2011. Following his college career, Jacob spent two years working at the Charter School of San Diego as a classroom assistant, where he helped instruct students in one-on-one or small group settings ranging from middle school to high school. Since then, Jacob has worked as a one-to-one aide at Sierra Academy, gaining experience working with children, in an academic setting, who have mild-to-moderate learning disabilities including ADD/ADHD, Dyslexia, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Sensory Processing Disorder, Specific Learning Disabled, Auditory Processing Disorder, Visual Processing Disorder, and Seizures.

He is currently working towards his Master’s degree in Education, with a specialization in Teacher Leadership, and a single subject credential in Physical Education from National University. Jacob is currently teaching Physical Education at Sierra Academy and is their sports coach. He is trained in test prep programs included ISEE, ACT/SAT, and the HSPT. His educational therapy program training includes the Wilson Reading System, Seeing Stars, Cloud 9 Math, Visualizing & Verbalizing, Step up to Writing, and LJLW’s Executive Functioning program. His favorite engagement strategy is finding a common interest.

In his free time, Jacob loves to explore the outdoors and go hiking. He also enjoys going to the beach, traveling, watching football, being around friends and family, playing basketball, and going to the gym to exercise. His passions are ecological conservation, anatomy, history, bio-mechanics, and current events.

Farnaz Farhang
Farnaz Farhang

Farnaz graduated from Rutgers University with a Bachelor’s degree in Biology and later moved to San Diego to earn her Master’s degree in Marine Biology from Scripps Institution of Oceanography, at UCSD. After her graduation, she worked as a researcher. She has extensive experience at La Jolla LearningWorks as a test preparation coach, as well as, a math and science Educational Coach.

Farnaz has traveled extensively (most recently worked in South Africa for a year) and has worked with different age groups, from elementary school-aged to graduate students. She is currently pursuing a second graduate degree in Public Health. On the weekends, you may find Farnaz at our La Jolla office proctoring our practice tests. When not working, she likes to be active outdoors and is an avid rock climber!

Paula Gately
Paula Gately

“I believe that learning needs to be unique to each student. It should be full of opportunities to
be creative, hands-on experiences, and measured by growth.”

Paula recently relocated to San Diego from Maryland. She earned her Bachelors degree in Human Development with an Elementary Education teaching certification from Washington College. After graduating, she worked as an Instructional Assistant where she implemented research-based interventions to help students with mild-to-moderate learning disabilities. These disabilities included ADD/ADHD, Dyslexia, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Sensory Processing Disorder, and Down Syndrome. Since then, Paula has worked as a reading and writing elementary school teacher in a variety of grade levels. She also has experience tutoring students in one-to-one and small group settings, working as a preschool assistant, and enjoying her summers as a camp counselor. She is passionate about giving students ownership of their learning through a student-centered teaching approach. Paula strives to motivate her students by focusing on social-emotional learning in addition to academic skills.

Paula is trained in educational therapy programs including the Wilson Reading System, Seeing Stars, Cloud 9 Math, Visualizing & Verbalizing, Step up to Writing, and LJLW’s Executive Functioning program. She has high success rates in prepping students for the ISEE and HSPT. She is also trained for the ACT and SAT. Her favorite engagement strategy is multi-sensory activities!

In addition to working with students, Paula enjoys yoga, reading, watching Netflix, and exploring her new home of San Diego!

Yvette Camacho
Yvette Camacho

“Education is the most powerful tool we can use to change the world.”

Originally from Riverside, CA, Yvette has been a San Diego resident for over 8 years, where she earned my Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from San Diego State University in 2009. Post college Yvette began teaching Mathematics at Halstrom Academy in a customized, individual setting, including all AP Mathematics courses and Math SAT prep. Working as a Mathematics Instructor and Department Head, she discovered a true passion for teaching Mathematics and loved building strong rapport with her students and parents alike; fundamental for growth.

She holds a certification as an ACT/SAT trainer through Clear Choice. She has experience tutoring for the ISEE, HSPT, ACT, and SAT. Her educational therapy background includes training in Step up to Writing and LJLW’s Executive Functioning Program. Her favorite engagement strategy is asking open ended questions and encouraging students to think outside of the box.

Yvette’s goal at LJLW is to not only prepare and coach her students but to allow each one of them to reach his or her highest academic potential. Through hard work and perseverance, Yvette strives to help her students become confident, courageous and creative, even in the face of difficulty.

Yvette is recently married and has a cute Shiba Inu puppy named Henry. She enjoys reading, yoga, running, hiking, being outdoors, drawing, and traveling. Her favorite place to be is at the beach taking in the beautiful ocean breeze!

Vanessa Mejia
Vanessa Mejia

“Educators need to be social-justice oriented and committed to providing a supportive, sage, and differentiated learning environment for students.”

Vanessa is originally from San Diego but recently moved back after living in San Francisco for the past 6 years. There, she pursued her Bachelor’s in International Studies/Latin American Studies and a Master’s in Teaching with a Preliminary Multiple Subject Teaching Credential and Spanish BCLAD Authorization at the University of San Francisco. Her most recent year in San Francisco was spent as a 3rd grade Spanish bilingual teacher in an underserved community. During her undergraduate years, she worked with multiple grades at the primary level, including preschool, and for graduate school, she worked in third grade and kindergarten Spanish bilingual classrooms. Vanessa is currently subbing within SDUSD along with working at LJLW before jumping back into the classroom. Her passion for education stems from her love of working with children and that sentiment of fulfillment when affecting a student intellectually or emotionally. 

She is trained in educational therapy programs including the Wilson Reading System, Cloud 9 Math, Visualizing & Verbalizing, Step up to Writing, Keyboarding Without Tears, and LJLW’s Executive Functioning program. Her test prep experience includes the ISEE. Her favorite engagement strategy is brain breaks, especially ones that involve movement!

When Vanessa isn’t teaching, she can be caught at her Tae Kwon Do studio, hiking, Netflixing, reading, or dancing the night away at either Zumba or while exploring the San Diego nightlife. She also loves traveling and is making it a goal of hers to visit every continent and all fifty states!

Dana Smilko
Dana Smilko

“If you are determined to learn, no one can stop you.”

Dana recently moved from Baltimore, Maryland to San Diego, California. She graduated from Towson University and received her Bachelor’s Degree in Special Education. She holds a Special Education Teaching Credential from Maryland and is in the process of obtaining her California Teaching Credential in Special Needs: Mild/Moderate. In her experience as a special education teacher, she has worked with students with autism, Down’s Syndrome, specific learning disabilities, behavioral disabilities, ADD/ADHD, dyslexia, anxiety, depression, and other health impairments. Dana has completed LJLW’s trainings for the Wilson Reading System, Seeing Stars, Cloud 9 Math, ISEE test, Executive Functioning, and Step Up to Writing.

Dana loves working one on one with students because of the ability to go at their pace and focus on what skills need the most work. Her favorite engagement strategy is connecting topics to students’ personal experiences. She can’t wait to help your child achieve their academic goals!

When she is not teaching, Dana enjoys hiking, traveling, kayaking, baking, animals, sports and fitness.

Lindsey Richards
Lindsey Richards

“Quality education is the foundation for a lifetime of success.”

Lindsey is originally from Massachusetts and moved to San Diego in 2015. She graduated from the University of Massachusetts Amherst with a BA in Art Education and holds a teaching license for grades K-12 and an ESL Certification. Before starting work at LJLW, Lindsey was an Art Teacher and after moving to California has been teaching English as a Second Language and tutoring school aged students. During Lindsey’s time working in education she’s helped a variety of students with ADD/ADHD, autism spectrum disorder, anxiety, Down’s syndrome, and sensory processing disorder. She believes that education is the foundation for a lifetime of success and loves to watch her students make progress towards their goals. She engages students by creating learning that is fun and approaching subjects with a good sense of humor. Lindsey brings a lot of creativity to her sessions and can’t wait to get started in helping your child achieve academic success. Her favorite engagement strategy is using games and humor.

In her free time Lindsey enjoys traveling, spending time with friends, painting, running, and hiking San Diego’s many trails. She frequents the beach and takes advantage of the beautiful California weather as much as she can.

Caitlyn Lanigan
Caitlyn Lanigan

“Education breeds confidence. Confidence breeds hope. Hope breeds peace.”

Caitlyn was born and raised in Palo Alto, California. She recently received her Bachelor’s of Science in Health Psychology from UC San Diego. Before starting at LJLW, Caitlyn worked as a research assistant to an early learning and cognition lab, studying language and verbal reasoning. She has also served as an in-home caregiver to children with special needs. While earning her degree, she mentored young adults with developmental disabilities within the San Diego Unified School District. Through these experiences, she has assisted students with ADD/ADHD, autism spectrum disorder, anxiety, and depression.

Caitlyn believes that education is a journey, not a race. She finds passion in helping children build confidence by exploring and tackling new subjects. She understands the importance of connecting lessons to the real world. Her favorite engagement strategy is using pictures and diagrams. Caitlyn brings patience and a positive attitude to her sessions and can’t wait to get started helping your child achieve their goals!

In her free time, Caitlyn loves to travel, watch the sun rise and set, ride her bike, and run on the beach. She is currently working on her cooking skills.