If you contact the Dresher-based offices of mAke The grAde academic services, you'll end up talking to Steven Greene. Greene runs a one-man show, acting as secretary, and working with billing and advertising.
But most importantly, Greene is a tutor.
“I enjoy helping people reach their goals and being part of the community,” said Greene. “I am able to do that in the educational arena.”
Dr. Greene has spent most of his life in education. From a family of educators—his mother an elementary school teacher, and father a college professor—he always knew he wanted to follow that path. He received a bachelor's degree in biology and education, with a specialization in teaching comprehensive science and math, from Franklin and Marshall University, and pursued graduate studies at Rutgers University, where he received an Ed.D. in Education and Educational Psychology.
"I'm a guy who never left school," jokes Greene, who also picked up his master's in nutrition and science education.
Greene's business, mAke the grAde, was a different kind of operation when he founded it in 1993. Along with teaching high school math and science, it operated as a consultancy that helped create in-service days for schools in New Jersey.
Shortly after moving to Pennsylvania, Greene realized his business model needed to change.
“There were differing laws in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and a new opportunity to tutor in this community presented itself,” Greene said.
Greene realized he wanted to get back to what he was best at: teaching and working with people. In 1998, mAke the grAde was federally trademarked and registered as a business in Pennsylvania.
Now, MTG prides itself on giving each student a personalized experience. Every initial meeting begins with an orientation to gauge what a particular student’s needs are. This meeting is free of charge. The tutoring specializes in college admissions, test prep, college essays, any level math and various sciences. He works mainly with students at the middle school, high school and early college levels.
“I'd like to think that my students can come to me not crazy about math, or test prep," said Greene. "And although they may not leave loving those studies, I can guarantee that they will enjoy the time working with me."
mAke The grAde has flourished in the Upper Dublin area, from what Greene calls the "perfect storm" of a community, with new development married to families that place high importance on education.
Greene's own philosophy is grounded in being active in the community, and he passes that on to his students. Greene says he reminds his students that the goal is to get into college, and although test scores are important, most colleges are interested in those who are involved with extracurriculars.
“On a personal level, extracurriculars make students more well-rounded and opens them up to more opportunities,” said Greene. “From a college admission standpoint, it is something the admissions people look for. Incidentally, I think it’s important for adults and parents to do the same, like coaching.”
Greene prides himself on keeping in touch with former students in the community. He recalled a story where he was recently sitting in a restaurant:
"There were about 25 tables, and five of them had students, or parents of students, that I had worked with," said Greene. "I have a great memory—I remember what Ellie got on her test last year, and where she’s at this year.”
Greene likes to actively work to improve the community and says he is a proponent of the area libraries and an effort to plant gardens at the middle school. He will also be speaking about test preparation at the Upper Dublin library Nov. 3 as part of a series on education.
One of his recent students is the youngest member of the Philadelphia Union soccer team, Zach Pfeffer. Some may wonder how a 16-year-old could juggle the duties of being a professional athlete and also a student, but Pfeffer's mother, Marge, says Greene is a part of it.
“He allows my son to bridge the gap between being a professional athlete and student,” Marge Pfeffer said.
Greene says his mission is simple: to help students of Upper Dublin achieve their highest potential.
“I love tutoring," Greene said. "I don't feel like it is work because I love the job."
Know of an Upper Dublin business that should be in the spotlight? Email editor Kyle Bagenstose at Kyle@patch.com or call at 267-250-3892.