Our tutors and directors are professionals selected for their expertise and enthusiasm for teaching. All of our tutors have years of experience teaching or tutoring and undergo extensive training by Heather Forgione in the company’s test preparation curriculum and methods.
Staff: tutor with a Bachelor’s degree or working towards a Bachelors: $70/hr
Lead Staff: tutor with a Masters degree, possibly a teaching certification and multiple specialties, $80/hr
Director or Assistant Director, $90/hr
Heather Forgione, Executive Director and Owner, $100/hr
Heather Forgione, Owner and Executive Director
Since 2000, Heather has worked with thousands of students, helping them feel prepared and confident with standardized tests, college application essays, and other academic subjects. Heather takes the SAT and ACT frequently and scored a 2390 out of 2400 on the SAT and a 35 on the ACT. Heather tutors exclusively in the Merton Dr. Raleigh office.
In 1999, Heather graduated summa cum laude from Union College in NY with a BA in English and a minor in Biology. As a pre-med student and biology major for three years, she studied math and science extensively, including courses in calculus, biology, organic chemistry, and physics. Eventually, her passion for English led her to focus her studies on literature. Heather completed an honors creative writing thesis and was selected to tutor in the college’s Writing Center. She graduated as Valedictorian of the Humanities Department and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. After college, Heather was drawn to teaching and mentoring students and became the director of Score At The Top Learning Center in Boca Raton, FL in 2000. She managed the growing center, taught SAT and ACT lessons and group workshops, trained tutors, and contributed to the center’s SAT and ACT strategy workbooks. Heather’s extensive training was guided by the center’s owner, a major contributor to the College Board’s SAT prep software and test preparation books. Heather also assisted with the college counseling at the learning center and at a local private high school.
With years of experience behind her, she founded Forgione Tutoring in 2007. The same year, she taught a year-long test prep course at a private school in Florida that covered math, reading, and writing test-taking strategies. In 2010, she relocated her family and the business to Raleigh and in 2013 hired Forgione Tutoring’s first staff members. The Cary center was opened in 2015 and expanded in 2017. The North Raleigh center was opened in 2018, and our midtown Raleigh office was expanded in 2021. Most recently, she taught a 10-week test prep course at St. Mary’s School as part of their junior seminar. In life outside of work, Heather dedicates her time to her husband, son, and daughter, and she looks forward to working with your son or daughter.
Charles Vander Zwagg, Cary Director
After graduating from Columbia, Charles was one of the first Peace Corps volunteers in Poland, where he taught American Studies and Composition in a teacher training college. He stayed in Poland for nine years, during which he earned a Master’s in English Philology from Opole University and a Ph.D in Cultural Studies from the University of Silesia. His research focused on contemporary approaches to textual analysis, and he published several journal articles. He returned to the United States and was English Department Chair at Delbarton School (NJ) before devoting himself to teaching English in urban public schools in Massachusetts and New York, where he also began working as a test prep tutor. Charles has been active as a tutor for fourteen years in New York City and North Carolina, specializing in both ESL and SAT/ACT prep. Charles sees himself as an academic coach and draws from his extensive experience playing and coaching competitive sports. His other interests include choral singing and languages, having studied Polish, Spanish, French, Arabic, and Ancient Greek. Most importantly to him, he is the father of an adult daughter and a middle schooler, with whom he lives in Chapel Hill. He can often be found at UNC sporting events, live music performances, the Chelsea Theater, or independent bookstores. Charles directs our Cary center, and tutors all subjects of the SAT and ACT.
Michelle Braun, Assistant Director
Proficient in teaching all SAT and ACT-prep subjects and math through Calculus III, Michelle encourages a love of math in her students and has helped them achieve their SAT, ACT, and academic goals since joining us as a tutor in 2017. In 2022, Michelle moved to the role of full-time Assistant Director, through which she assists with tutor training, a variety of administrative tasks, and curriculum building. Her tutoring career began as early as high school, when she tutored her peers in various levels of math. As a freshman at UNC, she tutored math at Culbreth Middle School in Carrboro, working both in classrooms and with individual students with ADHD and/or ASD. She worked at Sylvan Learning Center for almost two years, where she tutored K-12 levels of math and reading comprehension, as well as test prep for the ACT, SAT, and ASVAB. Through her work at Sylvan, she realized that she truly loved tutoring and decided to pursue a career as an academic coach. Michelle tutors all SAT and ACT subjects in our Cary office and virtually. She has completed all undergraduate coursework at UNC-Chapel Hill in pursuit of degrees in Mathematics Education and Music Theory.
Ben M. Math and Science Specialist
Benjamin graduated from the North Carolina School of Science in Durham in 2018. Following this, he was awarded the Goodnight Scholarship, a four-year full-ride program for STEM majors at North Carolina State University. Majoring in both Biomedical Engineering and Computer Science, he has managed to maintain a 4.0 GPA while being involved in extracurricular activities such as research, clubs, and tutoring at the university tutoring center. He enjoys running, weight lifting, and camping in his free time. Benjamin will be graduating from NC State in the Fall of 2022 and will pursue a Ph.D. at Duke University in Computer Engineering with a research focus in artificial intelligence. Ben tutors a variety of math and science courses, along with the Math and Science portions of the SAT and ACT, in our midtown Raleigh office.
Christopher G., Math and Science Specialist
Christopher has been a professional educator since 2016 and has worked with both college and K12 students. He holds a B.S. in Biological Sciences with a Quantitative Biology emphasis from Clemson University and an M.S. in Biology from Texas Christian University. He has worked as an ecologist in three different research labs, publishing two research articles (once as a lead author, once as a co-author) and presenting at multiple scientific conferences. He elected to switch from a research career to education, where he has found his passion as an educator of young minds in the pursuit of knowledge. Currently, he tutors K-12th grade students in a clinical setting. He hopes that through his work at Forgione Tutoring, a new generation of scholars and practitioners can achieve their dreams! In addition to his work as an educator, Christopher is a novice-level car enthusiast and enjoys video gaming, association football, and motorsports.
Dalton C., Math and Science Specialist
Dalton studied computer science at New College of Florida, graduating in 2017 with a bachelor’s degree. He tutored math and science at IMG Academy in Florida through most of 2018. Since moving to North Carolina, he has worked as a programming and math instructor at Thinking Feet in Charlotte, teaching group classes there since 2019. In addition to teaching, he has also helped to create their course curricula and teacher’s guides. At Forgione Tutoring, Dalton builds on these experiences to offer coaching a variety of math and science subjects, as well as SAT Math and ACT Math and Science in both our midtown Raleigh and Cary offices. Dalton’s hobbies include programming software and video games, as well as watching tons of science education YouTube videos. He loves to use this knowledge to inspire students to think critically about the world.
James G., Math and Science Specialist
James graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Zoology from the University of Florida, while there he tutored students in college physics. He also obtained a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Central Florida in Computer Engineering Technology. His first career was in the aerospace and telecommunications industries as a software engineer. James’ second career was as a teacher in middle school and high school. He taught math and science, including high school Physics and AP Physics. James is a patient tutor who encourages students to work towards their goals and to change tactics as necessary to ensure success. He encourages people to be lifelong learners and to obtain new skills all their lives. In his free time, he enjoys reading, walking for exercise, small engine repair and the outdoors. James tutors middle school Math, some levels of high school math, and test prep math and Science at our North Raleigh offices and online.
Laura F., Math and Science Specialist
Laura taught Mathematics (grades 6-12) and Science (grades 6-9) in North Carolina Public Schools for 30 years, recently retiring from Wake Forest High School. She graduated from Skidmore College, NY in 1985 with a B.A. in Economics and Computer Science. Laura initially worked as a programmer in New York before moving to North Carolina in 1986, at which time she became interested in teaching and became certified to teach through UNC-CH. Teaching became her passion, and she found working with young people to be rewarding. She is excited about working at Forgione Tutoring and using her skills as a mathematics teacher in a tutoring setting. She works mainly in our North Raleigh office.
Lindsay R., Reading and Writing Specialist
Lindsay received a BA in English with a teaching certification in 2009 from Eastern Illinois University, and in 2020 she completed her MA in English at Wayne State University. Part of her education included preparing students to take ACTs, SATs, and other state examinations. In the first part of her career, she taught English, journalism, and special education classes in public high schools in Illinois and Michigan for six years. In 2018, she began working as a graduate student assistant at Wayne State University’s Writing Center. She is currently working toward her PhD in English and Comparative Literature at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, where she is teaching English 105, an undergraduate introductory composition course. She enjoys working with high school aged students and having the opportunity to help them prepare for the SAT and ACT. In her free time, Lindsay enjoys researching Medieval Studies, particularly through the lenses of Disability Studies, Food Studies, and Queer Studies. She tutors mainly in our Cary office and virtually.
Mackenzie W. All-subjects Tutor
Mackenzie is a second-year graduate student at Duke University, pursuing a Master’s degree in Biostatistics. She graduated summa cum laude from Wake Forest University in 2022 with a BS in Mathematical Statistics and second major in Sociology. While there, she tutored underclassmen in math and statistics courses at the Math and Statistics Center and assisted professors with grading. She also volunteered as a tutor for local K-12 students, assisting them with a variety of subjects. Since high school, Mackenzie has always gravitated toward tutoring her peers, believing anyone is capable of performing well with the right assistance. A rare enjoyer of standardized testing, she hopes to prepare students with the tools and mindset they need to achieve their SAT and ACT goals. In her free time, Mackenzie likes to go to drive-in movies, socialize with friends, and play video games. She tutors all SAT and ACT subjects in our midtown Raleigh office.
Madison Z., SAT/ACT All-subjects Tutor
After graduating from the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics, Madison obtained a BA in History with a concentration in Jewish History from Wake Forest University in May 2020. While at Wake Forest, she tutored student athletes, and, after graduation, she taught middle school History in New York City. Most recently, she worked for a national test preparation company tutoring students in SAT and ACT. Through her experiences teaching and tutoring, Madison has honed her passion for helping students achieve their academic goals through inquiry-based instruction. She is currently pursuing a Master of Science in Library Science degree at UNC Chapel Hill. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, listening to and analyzing music, and reading anything that piques her interest. She tutors all test prep subjects and a variety of academic subjects in our Cary and North Raleigh offices.
Marco P., Reading and Writing Specialist
Since his childhood days in Toronto, Marco has long appreciated the written word. A voracious reader, he committed himself to the formal study of English at the University of Toronto, earning a B.A. in the field. As an undergraduate, Marco worked as a Tutor for his institution’s “Transitional Year Program”, and it was here that Marco was able to unite his passion for reading and writing with the deep fulfillment that follows from helping struggling students succeed. In 2008, Marco relocated to Tokyo, Japan to pursue his professional ambitions. As an instructor for the premiere Japanese test prep company in Tokyo, Marco taught strategy classes for multiple test formats including TOEFL, SAT, and GMAT. Over the years, Marco broadened his capabilities by conducting regular lectures at some of Japan’s finest universities and gained valuable experience designing study guides and a host of other materials. After a decade of helping students succeed in their academic endeavors, Marco relocated to Raleigh. The change prompted a return to study, and in 2019 he graduated summa cum laude from East Carolina University with a Master’s degree in English. Out of the office, Marco is an enthusiastic aquarist who keeps hundreds of species of aquatic plants and animals. He is also an avid DIYer and loves building in his workshop, playing basketball, and gardening. He tutors Reading, Writing, and college application essays in our Raleigh offices and virtually.
Maureen Cecchino, All-Subjects Tutor
Maureen has over 20 years experience teaching and tutoring English, reading, writing, test prep, Algebra, ACT Science, and college application essays. Originally from New Jersey, Maureen received her B.A. from the University of Notre Dame. She worked for some time in the publishing field and received a M.A. in Creative Writing from California State University (Northridge) and her teaching certificate as part of the New York City Teaching Fellow’s program. Her teaching career began in New York City, where she taught high school English. Later, she taught English as a Second Language (ESL) and taught SAT, ACT, and ISEE/SSAT prep for a national test prep company. Upon relocating to Raleigh, she taught ESL classes through Wake Tech’s Adult Education program for many years and joined Forgione Tutoring in 2015. Periodically, Maureen contributes to the company’s curriculum by helping to write and revise our strategy guides. In her free time, Maureen loves hiking, doing pottery, and (of course!) reading and writing. Maureen tutors all test prep subjects in our midtown Raleigh office and virtually.
Tess R., Reading and Writing Specialist
Tess graduated with a bachelor’s degree in 2017 from BYU, where she studied Art History with a minor in French. She is currently working towards a Master’s in Art History from Arizona State University. She has many years of experience tutoring and teaching. Through 2018-2019, she tutored English and French to ages 15-47. At the Zizhu Bilingual School in Shanghai, China, she taught English grammar and literature full time from 2018-2020, where she was voted the students’ favorite teacher in her specialty and prepared students to perform competitively at the 2019 United States Academic Pentathlon. Her most recent experience includes working as a teaching assistant and research assistant during her master’s program at Arizona State. She is passionate about making learning engaging and developing students’ critical thinking skills. In her free time, Tess enjoys making pottery, reading classic literature, and visiting museums. Tess specializes in the reading and writing prep for both the ACT and SAT.
Thomas S., Reading and Writing Specialist
Thomas was born in New England but has lived across North Carolina from his late childhood. He was home-schooled before earning an Associate in Arts degree at Mitchell College, a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and a Master of Arts degree in English Literature at Wake Forest University. His critical and creative work has been published while working at each of those institutions, and he is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in English and Comparative Literature at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Working across the Triangle has afforded him the opportunity to serve students’ needs as a tutor, English instructor, and college admissions advisor. Thomas specializes in rigorous ACT/SAT prep for the English and Reading portions of the tests, as well as in essay writing and preparing personal statements for competitive, rounded applications to students’ programs of choice. In all of his tutoring work, he strives to help students develop long-term skills while working toward their immediate educational goals.
Tim K., Math and Science Specialist
Victor C., All SAT/ACT Subjects Tutor
Victor is a recent graduate of Duke University with a degree in Psychology and a minor in Spanish. Throughout high school, Victor spent significant time tutoring his fellow peers and classmates in various subjects from AP Calculus to Spanish. While in college, he mentored students in younger classes in an attempt to help them not only become better students but better people while going through college. Ever since tutoring his peers in high school, Victor knew education and helping others has a special place in his heart and is why he is working for Forgione Tutoring. His goal is to help all of his students prepare for the ACT and SAT and help them accomplish their goals. Victor tutors all test prep subjects in our Cary office and virtually, and he helps with a variety of other academic subjects as well.
Cherie Warren, Administrative Assistant
Cherie handles bookkeeping and other administrative tasks for all three of our offices. Originally from New Jersey, she graduated from Virginia Tech in 1998 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing Management and a Global Business Concentration. Her professional work experience ranged from careers in Marketing, Human Resources, and Office and Financial Administration and gained experience in accounting, payroll and general office duties.
About Our Tutors
Our tutors have a wide range of skills and experiences. Our tutors have:
- Taught or tutored for anywhere from 5 – 30 years
- Passed a background screening and reference check
- Scored over a 700 out of an 800 on an SAT screening test in their areas of specialty
- Undergone an initial 10 – 20 hours of training on our curriculum
- Demonstrated that they are dynamic and motivating educators dedicated to helping students succeed
The skills and techniques I teach have a far-reaching and long-lasting impact on a student’s general knowledge and confidence. Incorporated into my lessons are reading, writing, and math fundamentals that provide review and enrichment. Taken into consideration are each child’s unique strengths and abilities, which are used as a foundation for further learning. It is my goal to create a fun and dynamic learning experience that can motivate any child and enhance his or her love of learning. I believe that through the combination of positive thinking and consistent practice, a student can achieve his or her goals.
– Heather Forgione, President of Forgione Tutoring