Kalen L.

Kalen Lister

Ivy League Grad specializing in Study Skills, Executive Functioning, Reading Comprehension, Writing , & Math for Elementary-Junior High School Students

Brooklyn, NY

140.00 /HR


I've been working with pre-K through High School students in a number of educational capacities for over a decade. I have taught art classes, have led lyric writing workshops and have been a personal mentor. The majority of my experience, however, has been as a one-on-one tutor, both through my own company, Out of The Box Tutoring, and also with a prestigious test preparation company -- Bright Kids NYC.

Through these experiences I have noticed a need for a more “macro” approach to the art and science of learning. Rather than simply learning specific content, children need assistance learning how to learn. When children become aware of their unique learning styles, they become vastly more able to help coach themselves through various types of academic and extracurricular activity. Not only do they become more engaged with the process, but they become more autonomous, self-reliant and committed to success.

Aware of the work that I was doing with my private clients, Bright Kids selected me to teach their upcoming Executive Functioning Summer Courses in NYC. I am working with their curriculum department to translate this one-on-one approach into a class setting. For more information about my experience -- and my passion as an educator -- please see the "About Me" section.

Teaching Methods

As a tutor and educator, my first priority is to get to know each individual student. The more I know about the interests, quirks, strengths, and struggles of each of these young academics, the more aptly I can assist them in reaching their goals in ways that will engage them. I firmly believe Sir Ken Robinson's quote: "Intelligence is diverse, dynamic and distinct." I tailor the content of their curriculum (particularly for this summer course) around materials and themes that are of genuine interest for each student.

I source material for the lessons and “brain games” from the arts and sciences as much as from academic material and texts. I also use a variety of software apps as homework to help supplement lessons, to improve organization and to build vocabulary throughout the course. Each student will also work on a longer term summer project particular to his/her needs and interests, in tandem with the shorter, daily and weekly assignments.


  • Songwriting Certificate from Berklee School of Music Online in Lyric Writing, Harmony & Melody in 2012
  • BA from University of Pennsylvania in Fine Arts major, Anthropology minor in 2004

Professional History

  • Private Tutor at Bright Kids NYC in NYC and Everywhere (Skype) from 2010 - Present
  • Private Tutor at Out Of The Box Tutoring in Everywhere (Skype) from 2008 - Present

About Me

I am an Ivy League graduate, a professional artist and a professional educator. My career in education evolved from teaching visual arts to becoming a sought after academic tutor, concentrating in early childhood development. I work privately with many NYC families and with an established boutique, NYC tutoring company. My goal is to secure tutoring assignments with interested and interesting children -- from pre-school through early high school ages. As a professional musician, my commitment is to inject the experience of academic enrichment with creative energy and curiosity. In this way, I will be able to nurture my passion for working with children, and add to my substantial experience teaching and tutoring, even as my career in music advances -- each pursuit complementing the other.

My interest in teaching began at Philips Exeter Academy. I would go into elementary schools as part of a team to present a program called Teaching With TJ, a curriculum that focused on emotional literacy, communication and problem-solving for children. I also volunteered at a local elementary school assisting in art class. During those summers, I worked as an assistant at a Montessori school. I have long been curious about the question of “how best to teach” and have been fortunate enough to learn from faculty willing to engage in a dialogue as much about pedagogy as about content. One such conversation in college led to a summer job helping to develop an inter-disciplinary course merging world geography, linguistics and cultural anthropology. Being selected for the competitive summer teaching internship as a teaching assistant for The Philips Exeter Summer School was a pivotal experience. Aside from being in the classroom, my favorite activity was curriculum development -- creating a fine arts based program with interdisciplinary ties to literature and marine biology. Though I chose to pursue my own artistic path in NYC following college, my love for teaching, curriculum development and material design has steadily developed through my tutoring work. Experiences such as developing as anthem for Girls Inc. NYC (http://girlsincnyc.or.g/NYCAnthem.html) have continued to provide me with the opportunity to use the artistic process as a development tool for young people.

I am passionate about helping children learn how to engage with their work, and through their work, with the world. This involves understand what kind of learners they are and increasing their confidence which translates into improved performance. Whether your child is struggling or gifted, I can help you augment what he or she is doing in school.

Discovering how to make the material relevant is the first step to making a lasting difference. While I demand a lot out of my tutees, I am also able to make the educational encounter enjoyable, and sometimes even a transformative process. My enthusiasm for teaching and learning and my ability to address different types of learning styles, been enormously fulfilling. As a result, my clients are as loyal to me as I am committed to them.

References (9)

Sara W.

09:17 AM 02/Apr/17

Relationship: Parent

Kalen L was a superb and kind tutor for my 4 year old daughter's NYC G&T test prep. My little one could hardly wait to "play games" with Kalen each week! She was fun, engaging, prompt, warm, intelligent, and extremely thorough. Her attention to detail and ability to explain the necessary concepts and how to navigate the scary world of NYC testing was so appreciated by both my daughter and me. I can't imagine a better tutor, and I eagerly recommend her to any parent looking for a warm and wonderful educational expert to help their child grow and learn with confidence.

Patrice N.

13:09 PM 31/Mar/17

Relationship: Parent

Kalen has been tutoring my middle schooler for the better part of a year. She is focused on the areas in need -- math -- but can fluidly support my daughter in other content areas and writing, as needed. Moreover, my daughter struggles with organization and planning and Kalen is able to support her with these "exec functioning" skills. Kalen herself is focused, planful and organized so the tutoring time is productively spent. She is also responsive to me and my daughter and responds to requests for updates or sharing of concerns or things to celebrate around progress. Finally, my daughter really likes her and looks forward to their time together. She knows she's going to get the help that she needs.

Ricardo G.

18:35 PM 13/Jul/16

Relationship: Parent

A very productive and helpful support for my children. Besides all the technicality and professional experience, a wonderful person. We got a friend.

Amela R.

18:37 PM 19/Dec/15

Relationship: Parent

We were truly lucky to find Kalen as my 4 yo son's tutor to help him prepare for the NYC G&T test. My son and Kalen hit it off from the very first session (he didn't blink when I walked away). She is truly charismatic with children; understands and adapts to different personalities and makes it look so easy to keep a 4 yo engaged and focused for a whole hour (on brain games!). She is organized; has a plan for each session; and uses so many different methods to accomplish the goal of the session. My son can't wait for his weekly session with Kalen. Now, nine months have passed and we look forward to continuing our journey and enrichment with Kalen regardless of the G&T prep.

Hritika S.

11:01 AM 29/Apr/15

Relationship: Student

How do I explain the amazing Kalen Lister to you? Kalen is a great tutor. Not only providing me with help with subjects I did not excel at, she made the sessions with her fun and exciting. She explained new concepts clearly so I would understand what I am learning. I think Kalen is a great tutor among all the tutors out there. If you are looking for an amazing tutor, Kalen is the one for you!

Susan H.

12:01 PM 20/Feb/15

Relationship: Parent

Kalen did great work with my 9 year old daughter. She had excellent tips and strategies to help my daughter manage her work load and reframe her homework into manageable bites. These strategies were also practical for her other responsibilities, not just homework. I happily recommend Kalen as a tutor for any person's needs.

Michele P.

13:53 PM 19/Feb/15

Relationship: Parent

Our family has known Kalen for more than 5 years. Kalen has tutored my 2 older children in everything from the G&T tests, ERBs and general academic subjects (math, reading, and writing). Each of my children have very different interests and learning styles (one is a strong writer but finds math and analytical thinking boring and tedious the other loves math, thrives on challenging work and finds reading tedious). Kalen was able to easily adapt to both styles seamlessly....so much so that both kids absolutely adore her. My kids are both enrolled in highly regarded private schools - I owe so much to Kalen!

Gabriella A.

14:41 PM 06/Feb/15

Relationship: Parent

Kalen is an amazing tutor. She is able to connect with the child from the beginning. She is very intuitive and confidence in her work and instills also confidence in the child. Her sessions are rich and pleasant and she keeps a well organize curriculum at every moment of the session. She always comes with a work plan for the next week and will follow up with the parents after each session to discuss the progress, strength and weakness of the child and ways to improve them. Communication between her and the parent is very strong. Kalen is professional and knowledgeable and I would recommend her strongly to any parent and child.

Adam H.

11:42 AM 08/Aug/14

Relationship: Parent

Finding Kalen was a godsend. Our 9 year old son is incredibly quick, but bores easily and gets frustrated even more easily. Kalen was able to engage him, help him learn to settle himself, and tap into his curiosity as well as his competitive spirit. He is even beginning to internalize this, to challenge himself and persevere rather than simply moving on to the next thing that grabs his attention.