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We started in San Ramon in 2003, where Mr. Simon taught his first struggling student (in graduate school for engineering as of 2020) to read. After operating out of Mr. Simon’s home, we moved to an office in Niles, and then an office on Mission Boulevard in Fremont.

Why choose us? Small groups mean we can address each individual’s needs.  While we have a set curriculum, pacing and focus depend on student needs, not worksheets or schedules.  High standards mean pushing kids harder than they are used to, but the payoff is huge. Nothing builds self-esteem like actual accomplishments.

GATE students find our classes challenging.  There is always a next step, and the further they go, the harder the steps.  We have former students attending Harvard, Berkeley, Princeton, MIT, CalTech, and many other top schools. Our focus on critical thinking means “good enough” is no longer good enough.

Regular education students learn to perform like never before.  After working with us, earning an A in English and acing a writing sample comes easily.

Students with learning disabilities receive instruction in small, comprehensible steps.  As the incomprehensible becomes comprehensible, confidence grows.  Little steps yield big gains over time.

Mr. Simon, the owner and founder of Simon Academics, was born and raised in Southern California. He has a BA in Philosophy from UC Berkeley.  He worked as a journalist and editor, covering video games and computer hardware.  After earning a teaching credential from CSU Hayward, he taught elementary school and then transitioned to full-time tutoring.  He lives in Castro Valley with his wife (a teacher at Chadbourne in Fremont) and two children.  He began teaching in 2003.  He also has a one-eyed cat named Cyclops.

Mr. Zybul (Mr. Z) was born in New York and raised in New York and Southern California.  He has a BA in English from UC Irvine and a high school English teaching credential from Chapman University.  He worked as a journalist with Mr. Simon, also covering video games.  He then went on to work as an editor for Business Wire before earning his credential and teaching high school English in Mission Viejo and middle school English in Perris, California. He began teaching in 2005.  He also has a toothless dog named Broozer.

Ms. Advani was born and raised in Northern California.  She has a BA in Ethnic Studies from UC Berkeley, an MA in History from San Jose State University, and a teaching credential from San Francisco State University.  She has taught history and English at several Bay Area schools, including Mission San Jose High School, created curriculum for WestEd, and tutored across the Bay Area.  She began teaching in 1998.  When not teaching, she enjoys U-Jam dance and reading to her nephew. 

Mr. Pham was born in Vietnam and raised in California. He has a BA in Liberal Studies and teaching credential from University of the Pacific. He’s taught and tutored in the United States and internationally, including for Stockton Unified School District as well as the Peace Corps in Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. He began teaching in 2005. In his spare time, he enjoys hiking and organic gardening.

Ms. Irby was born and raised in the American South.  She has a BA in English Education, an MA in Education Administration from University of Southern Mississippi, and a credential in Educational Administration and Supervision from the University of Southern Mississippi. She began teaching in 2013. She has two black cats and enjoys everything DIY, from cooking to engine repair.

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