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As the son of a U.S. Marine, I have lived in four different states prior to moving to Tennessee. I was born in Virginia, lived in Hawaii, and grew up in California. At the age of 15, I knew that I wanted to become a teacher after working in schools in Paarl, South Africa.

I attended undergraduate and graduate school at UCLA, where I received my Bachelors of Sciences degree in Psychobiology (2007), Masters of Education and Life Sciences Teaching Credential (2009). Most recently, I received my National Board Certification for life sciences, which is the highest level of certification a teacher can achieve in the United States.

After teaching in downtown Los Angeles for 7 years, my family and I moved to Memphis and began teaching at GRAD Academy Memphis as the Biology facilitator. I wholeheartedly believes in the mission to disrupt educational inequities. My pedagogy focuses on empowering students through meaningful relationships that are based on authentic care, in order to garner a deeper understanding of Biology.

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Zachary’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: University of California-Los Angeles - Bachelors, Psychobiology

Graduate Degree: University of California-Los Angeles - Masters, Education


Jiu Jitsu, Basketball, Video Games

Tutoring Subjects


College Biology

General Biology

High School Biology

Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

A man and a young boy once walked along a shoreline covered with hundreds of fish that had washed ashore. As the man stared at all of the flopping fish, the young boy bent down to pick one up and walked towards the water. The man, lacking hope, asked, “What are you doing? You’re never going to save all of those fish.” Releasing the fish in his hand, the boy looked at the man and said, “I just saved that one.” Accordingly, my philosophy is that providing authentic care and empowerment within them engenders hope for the seemingly impossible. All students should have the opportunity to be that one, like the young boy, who will refuse to be hopeless and dare to transform their world for the better. And I owe it to them to care.

What might you do in a typical first session with a student?

During a typical first session, I would try to gain at least a basic understanding of who the student is and what the student knows. This may be achieved through simple dialogue, graphic organizer, or diagnostic survey.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

I provide assignments or questions that align with higher levels of Bloom's Taxonomy. This creates an increasing cognitive demand on students, such that they begin to ask meaningful and intentional questions to better understand what they do not know. As they independently become metacognitive, they also become independent learners.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

I would provide clues and hints to help motivate a student. Additionally, I would try to make the content more accessible by providing relevant analogies or priming student recall and thinking through insightful graphics.

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