Nice to meet you 🙂

We are passionate about teaching, mentoring, and helping students of all ages. Get to know us a bit below, and feel free to introduce yourself—we love hearing from parents and students alike.




Oliver Lee, M.F.A.  |  Princeton University | Founder & Director

Oliver Lee has been tutoring since his sophomore year of high school, when he was selected to teach at the Writing Center at the Gilman School, a prestigious private school in Maryland. In addition to his private tutoring work, he has taught at The Princeton Review, Yale University (summer sessions), and the University of Florida (Rhetoric + CompositionTechnical Communication, and Creative Writing: Fiction).

Oliver majored in Psychology and Creative Writing at Princeton University (‘02), and received an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Florida, where he served as an editor of Subtropics literary magazine. His awards include First Place (English) in the Seoul National Essay Contest, a full fellowship to the prestigious NY Summer Writers Institute, and most recently, one of twenty-five finalists in Glimmer Train's 2016 New Writers Contest. His work has appeared in 12th Street Journal, Flaunt Magazine,, and Atlas Obscura, among many others. He specializes in college preparation and coordination for middle and high school students, and in his spare time he is at work on a comprehensive college essay guide.

Offerings: College Consulting, College Essays, Academic Consulting, Writing Competitions, Test Prep (SAT, ACT)


Elaina Mercatoris, M.F.A.  | TJ and Program Director

Elaina Mercatoris is a graduate of Allegheny College, where she was the editor-in-chief of The Campus newspaper and The Allegheny Review. She completed her masters from the University of Florida (M.F.A in Writing) where she was assistant editor of the Journal for Undergraduate Research. She has taught at the University of Florida and the Santa Fe Learning Lab and specializes in reading & writing development as well as TJ/SSAT prep. Her poetry and essays have appeared in Subtropics magazine, Compose JournalNatural Bridge, and Cosmopolitan online.

Offerings: TJ Prep, TJ SIS/Essay, Academic Consulting, Essay Writing, College Essays, Test Prep (SAT/ACT)


Senior Instructors


Katie | MS.Ed, University of Pennsylvania | Manager of Curriculum and Instruction

Katie is a certified English Language Arts teacher who studied English, Political Science, and
English Education at Boston University. After teaching 9th and 12th grade English, she attended the
University of Pennsylvania in 2013 and gained reading specialist training as part of her M.Ed. in Reading, Writing, and Literacy. She was a founding team member of a new middle school in Memphis, Tennessee, has taught at the highest performing charter school network in Washington, D.C., and is excited to bring her curriculum development experience to Principia.

Offerings: Test Prep (SAT, ACT, SSAT), AP English Language, AP Literature, Essay Writing, Writing Competitions, College Essays, Organizational Skills


Tomaj | B.A. Physics + Math, University of Maryland, College Park | Curriculum Development

Tomaj has been tutoring math and physics for over seven years; his love for teaching drove him to becoming a full time tutor and in 2018 he won the teacher of the year award for the highest satisfaction rate from his students. Tomaj views teaching as a fun, interactive process in which he uses imagery and analogy to translate the abstract and often elusive concepts into relatable experiences in the student’s daily life. Tomaj graduated from the University of Maryland-College Park in 2015 with a physics major and math minor. He is a published author and has written a book on the philosophy of quantum physics; while his evenings are devoted to tutoring, his day time is devoted to writing and blogging about science and philosophy.

Offerings: Test Prep (SAT, ACT, TJ, AMC 8, 10, AIME), AP Physics, Math through Multivariable Calculus / Linear Algebra


Natasha | Harvard University, Ph.D. | Manager of Curriculum and Instruction

Natasha is a graduate of Wellesley College and Harvard University, where she earned her PhD in Historical Musicology in 2018. She has taught at Harvard University, the Harvard Art Museums, and, most recently, a music festival in Oregon, where she worked with students to produce the modern premiere of a 17th-century opera. In addition to tutoring and mentoring students, she is working on a book about opera and politics in the age of Louis XIV.

Offerings: Test Prep (SAT, ACT, SSAT), AP English Language, AP Literature, APUSH, AP World, Essay Writing, College Essays, Writing Competitions, Organizational Skills




Marcos | Ph.D. Physics, University of Massachusetts-Amherst

From an early age, Marcos has been constantly curious about how the world around him worked. This curiosity drove him to obtain a Ph.D. in Polymer Science and Engineering from the University of Massachusetts and a pursue Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Chemical and Biological Engineering Department at Princeton University. He has published several peer-reviewed papers in the field of Materials Physics and stays active in the academic community by disseminating the results of his research at national and international conferences. He enjoys deconstructing complex concepts in order to communicate and teach them in simpler ways. He has mentored students in the areas Physics and Mathematics for almost 10 years and hopes to continue demystifying these subjects for many more years in the future. 

Offerings: AP Physics 1/2/C; SAT Physics, SAT/ACT Math, Math through Multivariable Calculus, Spanish


St. Clair | B.A. French and Francophone Studies, Brown University

St. Clair is a recent graduate of Brown University, where she earned her Bachelor of Arts in French & Francophone Studies. While in college, she tutored refugee children through BRYTE (Brown Refugee Youth Tutoring and Enrichment) and studied abroad in Ecuador, where she was fortunate to study education from an interdisciplinary, multicultural perspective. For the past two summers, she's been a Teaching Assistant at MIT's Minority Introduction to Engineering and Science, a summer program for rising high school seniors. She's now back in her hometown of Washington, DC, working as a filmmaker and photographer in addition to tutoring.

Offerings: Elementary Reading/Writing/Math, Test Prep (SAT, ACT, SSAT), AP English Language, APUSH, Essay Writing, College Essays, Writing Competitions, Organizational Skills


Emily | M.P.A International Development Economics, Princeton University

Emily received an MPA in the International Development Economics from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University where she specialized in international migration policy and multilateral diplomacy. Her teaching experience includes the Peace Corps in Thailand (K-8), Minnesota Literacy Council (low literacy EFL adults), Petey Greene juvenile detention center tutoring (Math and English), and she’s fluent in Thai and speaks Mandarin at an upper-intermediate conversational level.

Offerings: Elementary through High School Reading/Writing, Test Prep (SAT, ACT, SSAT, HSPT, TOEFL), AP English Language, AP Government, Essay Writing, College Essays, Writing Competitions, Organizational Skills


Abby | M.A. Applied Economics, University of Maryland, College Park

Abby triple-majored in Math, Physics, and Economics at the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology and holds an M.A. in Applied Economics from the University of Maryland. She specializes in Algebra II and Calculus instruction and has devoted over a thousand hours volunteering in disaster relief for the Red Cross.

Offerings: Math through Multivariable Calculus, AP Physics, AP Economics, AP Statistics


Justin | M.S. Medical Physiology, Case Western Reserve University

Justin majored in Molecular and Cellular Biology at the University of Urbana-Champaign and holds a M.S. in Medical Physiology from Case Western Reserve University. He is analytical biological scientist and has been teaching and tutoring since high school. 

Offerings: Test Prep (SAT, ACT, SSAT), AP Bio, AP Chem, AP Statistics, Math through AB Calculus


Andrew | Ph.D. History, McGill University

Andrew majored in History at Georgetown University before completing a Master's in Comparative Politics of Empire at the London School of Economics. Andrew then earned his PhD in History at Canada's McGill University, where he taught courses on European History and was a teaching assistant for other types of history (Russian, East Asian, International, Diplomatic, etc.). He has twice served as an AP Reader in World History for the College Board and published a book about empires during the Crimean War.

Offerings: AP World History, AP US History, AP European History, AP Human Geography, Test Prep, Essay Writing


Brian | M.A. English Literature, University of Maryland College Park

Brian majored in English at Georgetown University before completing his Master’s in English Literature at the University of Maryland at College Park. He has over sixteen years of teaching experience and has worked as a Dean of Admissions and Dean of Faculty at one of D.C.’s elite private schools. He's an avid reader and passionate about instilling a love for reading in his students.

Offerings: Reading/Writing Development, AP English Language, AP English Literature, APUSH, Essay Writing, College Essays, Writing Competitions, Organizational Skills, Private School Admissions


Amanda | Ph.D. Chemistry, Georgetown University

Amanda received her Ph.D. in Chemistry from Georgetown University and her Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from The College of William and Mary. She has over eight years of teaching experience and was the recipient of the departmental teaching award, specializing in communicating scientific concepts to students as well as non-scientific crowds. In her spare time, she volunteers extensively with STEM-based activities, including currently at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History in their adolescent-oriented invention exhibit.

Offerings: AP Chemistry, Chemistry, Algebra I, Algebra II, Geometry, Study Skills


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