Photo: Olivia Ogren-Hrejsa Photography. This article is sponsored by Tutor Doctor Frisco-McKinney-Prosper.
Well, it’s March again.
While I’m blissfully unprepared and emotionally unavailable to reconcile what that means yet, divine intervention stepped in…by way of running into Sandy Tutwiler (aka, Tutor Doctor) and, candidly, just having a genuine warm fuzzy conversation.
Afterward, it just felt like a great time for me to sit down and write about someone truly amazing. Someone who, despite the world on fire all around us, makes time and space to push forward in her mission and her business: to help students THRIVE.
I’ve written about Sandy before when I was recommended to Tutor Doctor nearly a year ago and shared my experience then. To her credit, and much like in her business, she made it entirely about what she does, versus who she is; and there’s a difference. She’s humble and kind, but today she is going to SHINE.
SO, forgive me if this comes off as a #fangirl piece, but…#SorryNotSorry.
The doctor is in.
From early on, Sandy found herself the consummate helper amongst her peers and friends, tutoring friends in high school, and then in college at her university’s help center.
“My favorite moments tutoring were when my students would call me after an exam to tell me they actually knew how to work the math problems, “says Sandy. “You could hear the excitement and confidence in their voice – this wasn’t just helping them get through a class, it was changing their lives.”
Personally, I envy anyone who considers this a bit overdramatic because if you’re fortunate enough to be able to just show up to class, complete the assignments, and casually pass each test, it’s hard to comprehend the magnitude that extra help can have — or to that end, how overwhelming it can be to know you need it and don’t have it.
Sandy articulates it best:
“When students struggle academically, the stress of not understanding or keeping up with the class can be crippling. Over time, this will lead to a complete loss in confidence both in, and out of the classroom.”
Although it remained her passion, Sandy didn’t dive into the education sector right away. For 25 years, she led successful teams through major projects and strategic initiatives for a Fortune 500 company.
“I believe anyone can achieve their goals and dreams with a positive attitude, hard work, and having a strong support network around you. In my corporate life, this meant not only choosing a team that complemented my strengths, but also by mentoring others to help them achieve their professional goals.
I’ve always loved teaching and mentoring. So, when the opportunity came along to open a Tutor Doctor office, I jumped at the chance to offer this very important resource to parents and students.”
For me, I just loved this. Like, who leaves a money job in the corporate sector, with perks and expense accounts to deal with anxious parents and vulnerable kids? That’s not even counting the teenagers and their added angst!
Sandy would. And I’ll admit, after hearing a few of the heartwarming testimonials, I totally get it. Get a tissue ready, because even a cold, heartless, pessimist like me teared up a bit…
“We enrolled a very sweet, sensitive child who really struggled academically but when tested, had not qualified for a learning plan (what’s typically known as a 504 Plan). He had worked with other tutors, but still no breakthrough… We matched him to a tutor that showed patience, and eventually earned his trust.
His mother sent me the sweetest email to tell me he said he had done well in football and tutoring, and he was SO proud. He also told her that he felt safe with his tutor, and now wanted to learn. He was no longer afraid of saying, ‘I don’t understand’.
A couple of weeks later, she forwarded us an email from his teacher sharing the news he passed his reading assessment. It was the first time he had passed such an assessment. Both emails had me in tears. He has made SO MUCH PROGRESS! What’s awesome is now we know we can make even more progress given he is so excited to learn.”
And it’s not just the younger kiddos… Helping seniors achieve their SAT goals, working toward academic scholarships, shoot, even just graduating. There’s no goal too big or too small.
I’m not crying, you’re crying, so let’s pivot and do a quick ‘Things to Know About Sandy.”
She loves to spend time with her sweet family and their adorable dogs.
Her favorite pastimes are chatting with her dearest friends over a meal or margaritas, listening to music with a glass of wine and dancing like nobody is watching, concerts (obvi when the world isn’t on fire), puzzles, and the 2020/21 global fave: binge-watching a new show.
I guess, for me, I just didn’t see Sandy as a regular human, you know? She’s this superwoman doing these heroic things, and I’m just really glad I slowed down for a minute to get to know her as the warm, wonderful person that she is.
And, it’s not lost on me that I’m writing about an educational professional as if I’m writing a message in her senior yearbook. #Lylas.
Check her out at tutordoctor.com/frisco-mckinney/.