• Kiley McElroy-Brown

Teacher, Tutor, Coach, and Friend

The landscape of education has dramatically changed over the last year. Students, teachers, and parents have been thrown into a whirlwind of Zoom meetings, hybrid schedules, and at-home learning. For many kids, the lack of face-to-face interaction with their teachers and their peers impacts their schoolwork. The personal connection between teacher and student is important and for some, drives their academic success.

“The beauty of tutoring is developing a relationship with the student”, said Kathy Ells, Director of Successful Solutions, in a recent conversation about how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted her business as a private tutor.

Students are currently learning from home, surrounded by their sibling(s) and their parent(s) or guardian(s). Kathy expressed the importance of an in-person connection with someone other than their parents and she is thrilled to be able to offer that connection through her tutoring. “I feel like a coach or a cheerleader”, said Kathy. While Kathy provides academic tutoring in her sessions with students, she also emphasizes the importance of getting outdoors and taking time away from their screens.

Kathy Ells, Director of Successful Solutions
Kathy Ells, Director of Successful Solutions, holds private tutoring sessions in her cozy office at CI Works.

Kathy Ells has been involved in education since 1981. In her 40 years of experience, she has taught at public and private schools, worked as a special educator, and tutored students from elementary through high school ages. In her own words, she was “always meant to do this”. But most importantly, her tenure as a traditional classroom teacher taught her the importance of personal connection in a student’s success.


Since starting Successful Solutions, Kathy’s business has grown every year, especially over the last ten months. Prior to the pandemic, she began tutoring students at 3:00pm. Now, she holds sessions with students starting at 7:45am and ends around 7:30pm. Kathy has many COVID-19 safety protocols in place that allow her to maintain face-to-face sessions with students. Masks are worn by both Kathy and students in addition to a plexiglass divider between her and the student. Students are provided with their own materials like notebooks and pencils and Kathy has added a 10-minute buffer in between sessions to allow for ample cleaning of her space. In addition, Kathy has added an additional member to the Successful Solutions team, Hannah Ells, who offers virtual tutoring for college essay writing to high school students. Hannah, who is also Kathy’s daughter, holds a BA in English and works full time as a learning designer for an educational content and technology firm.


Kathy Ells plays an extremely important role in the lives of her students, who have been thrust into a wildly unfamiliar academic year. “Kids are being pulled back and forth between hybrid and remote learning and many of them are anxious about COVID”, explained Kathy, “and what I try to do is build an environment of counseling and guidance for them to succeed.” Kathy emphasized that the response from parents who enroll their students at Successful Solutions has been extremely positive and many have since enrolled siblings of existing students or extended their child’s tutoring long-term.


Successful Solutions is located at CI Works, 11 Chestnut Street, Amesbury, MA. Contact Kathy Ells at kathyells84@gmail.com or visit the Successful Solutions website at successfulsolutionstutoring.org.

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