About the Owners, Tutors, and Advisory Board
Stacey Pierce, CEO and Center Director, on How Pierce Institute Began
Not new to Fort Worth, Stacey is proud to return as a business owner to serve the area where she grew up in the 1980s and where her family of origin still lives. Stacey's academic and professional career has spanned three decades and two industries, though most of her work has been in education. Of course, that's not the way it started out: a graduate of UNT, Stacey studied Radio/TV/Film and worked for twelve years in the television industry as a Writer/Producer of national award-winning live programming, mainly consisting of professional education content after several years of news and promotions at a top-ranked ABC affiliate.
When the business television company for which she worked saw troubled times, Stacey continued her momentum with educational pursuits and got certified as a teacher. Seven years of serving in a richly diverse high school as a teacher of students requiring special services left her enamored with international education. She then pursued certification in ESL and taught on the campus of University of Texas at Dallas before making the huge leap to teach abroad in Beijing, China for a year. Upon her return to DFW, she worked with several elite private schools to augment their classroom ESL instruction and also tutor students individually. This valuable experience led to a position on the campus of Texas Wesleyan University in their Intensive English program. Immigration changes in 2017 took a toll on the program, and Stacey began working for C2 Education Southlake, an esteemed test prep franchise serving some of that area's most ambitious students. It is at this organization where Stacey collaborated for four years with Ivy League graduates and long-time tutoring industry professionals to deeply dig into today's realities of college admissions, standardized testing, and (eventually) COVID learning loss. Some of those professionals serve on our Advisory Board, offering continued connection to what top schools currently value and seek.
After four years of heavy submersion in standardized tests (such as SAT/ACT, ISEE, and CogAT) while working with AP/IB and many other levels of students, Stacey envisioned a more far-reaching center and opened the first Pierce Institute along with her husband, an experienced engineer and programmer.
We offer more than other centers that aren't looking beyond SAT scores -- we want to give additional skills that set up a student for success during and after college. Our course offerings for computer programming and STEM support represent a portion of our efforts to think bigger than just SAT (though we will be among the first to offer new prep materials for the 2024 SAT digital and adaptive format change).
Also, Stacey noticed most centers aren't evaluating a student's learning style upon intake. Is your student a visual learner? An auditory learner? A kinesthetic learner? Not all students are designed to just "sit and get." Stacey only hires instructors who pay attention to individual learning styles and adjust instruction accordingly.
Today, in addition to her six teaching certifications (spanning early childhood through adult students), Stacey is certified as a College Admissions Counselor through NACAC (National Association of College Admissions Counselors). However, her strongest qualification might be her position as a mother of four children, three of whom are successful adults (the fourth being still in high school but performing strongly). We therefore understand education from every angle.
Director of Pierce Professional Group
With a bachelor's degree in computer engineering, a master's degree in electrical engineering, and twenty years of professional experience in engineering and design.
Alexander brings academic and practical experience to the center's class rooms. He started programming for a manufacturing company in 2002 during his college internship. In 2005, he began designing equipment and providing innovative control and automation solutions for manufacturing companies in Oklahoma and Texas.
He has also orchestrated industrial plant automation for a beverage bottling company in Fort Worth. His entrepreneurial spirit is nothing new -- he has seen success with the company he founded in 2012 : www.apc-solution.com. While not teaching classes, he works as a SCADA engineering manager for a large utility operation in Texas. Alexander heads up our adult education branch, Pierce Professional Group, which makes computer programming and business communication skills (including adult ESL services) available to adults who desire a self-paced, one-on-one instructional setting.
He also teaches basic engineering classes to our teen/young adult students. Fully bilingual, he learned English as a second language, so he understands the challenges of families with a complex language background. He brings to the classroom not only this valuable global perspective but also his real-world experience and current industry knowledge -- elements missing from most other classrooms. STEM students and other individuals looking to augment their technical skills are in good hands with Alex – hands that can truly bridge today's goals with tomorrow's realities
Meet Our Highly-Qualified Tutors
Hello! My name is Kaylee, I graduated in 2021 from Texas Christian University with a B.S. in psychology and a minor in sociology, on the pre-health track. I currently work as a neuroscience research assistant II at UNTHSC identifying biomarkers of addiction and substance use disorders. I am currently applying for a PhD in neuroscience. I have two dogs named Leo and Finn, who I love to hike and be outdoors with! I also love to cook and try new recipes!
With a degree in Physics from SMU, Jevon is a working professional with ample tutoring experience. On-ramp Physics? AP Physics? No problem!
With a degree in math and a true fascination with math, Xy is able to make even the hardest math concepts seem approachable and understandable. Years of tutoring experience result in students feeling at ease. In addition to being the biggest Pokemon fan you'll ever meet, Xy has a proven history of helping students raise and maintain their grades. Xy is also well-versed in the digital version of SAT.
Meet Our Four Advisory Board Members
College Admissions Professional, Cornell 2013
In seventh grade at Fort Worth Country Day, Tony figured out the pattern of questions for the Vocabulary Building with Word Roots quizzes that his entire grade was forced to take. He shared these strategies freely with his classmates so that kids could have more time to work on assignments and projects from other classes. In ninth grade, Tony wrote a simple calculator program for volume equations and geometric properties. He shared it freely with the other students in his Honors Geometry class. The next year, he wrote a more complex calculator program for calculating pH/pOH concentrations and identifying likelihood of reactions based on electronegativity differences. He naturally began charging money for this service. As a senior, Tony edited and revised personal statements and essays for his friends. They all got into great colleges, but not Cornell.
In 2010, Tony began teaching standardized tests on behalf of Ivy Insiders. His branch was one of the most profitable in the Southwest, but that owed to the excellent salesmanship of his partners. Tony did not make a single sale. Instead, he taught classes in every exam subject for the entirety of the summer. He would continue teaching privately for Revolution Prep in the following two summers before graduating in 2013 with a B.A. in English with a creative writing focus and a B.A. in History with a concentration in post-Soviet Eastern European studies. He strongly believes that majors should be dictated by passions, and not the other way around.
Tony has taught over 15,000 hours of private academic sessions with three or fewer students present to students ranging from second graders to college seniors. He has never advertised his services, as every new student arrives through personal recommendation. As testament to this, Tony's most significant demographic of students is younger siblings whose older brothers and sisters he previously taught (although neighbors are a close second). His #1 goal is to make his students' lives easier. His #2 goal is to get them paid (either from the college in scholarships, or from the parents buying them nicer cars than they might've once the kids achieve their scores and academic goals). His #3 goal is to institute a ranked-choice voting system for presidential elections.
In terms of personal background, Tony has lived on the correct side of the metroplex for his entire life save the four years he spent in Ithaca, NY. He has four fantasy football titles ('13,'16,'18,'21) in a competitive 12-man auction league that has run since 2010 (he also serves as commissioner). He has an extensive anime library, and every video game console going back to 2007 (with some as old as 1994). He buys every new sports game every year, as well as every new Call of Duty game. He has a German Shepherd dog and a black Mercedes SUV named "German Shepherd", and his two pairs of wireless headphones are named "Rosencrantz" and "Guildenstern" (in case parents are curious as to precisely what value an English degree provides). He is very good at trivia, and his favorite Jeopardy category is "Before and After". He is something of a sneakerhead, and he has an extensive collection of jerseys from different teams across hockey, lacrosse, soccer, and football.
School Board Trustee, Carroll ISD Southlake, TX
Sheri Mills is the President of Neuroscience Education Institute, a company dedicated to providing continuing medical education in psychopharmacology to psychiatrists and psychiatric nurse practitioners. In this role, she uses Adult Learning Principles to provide education to improve the performance of clinicians which ultimately improves the lives of patients with mental illness. Mills has worked in Continuing Medical Education for mental health since 1994.
Mills has also served three terms on the Southlake Carroll Independent School Board for the past 9 years, serving 4 years as Vice President and 2 years as President. She and her husband, Mike have been residents of CISD since 1998 and are the proud parents of three children.
Mrs. Mills is also an active volunteer in our community, being awarded Volunteer of the Year for the City of Southlake in 2013. Mills served on the Board of Directors for the Carroll Education Foundation, was a 2012 Graduate of the CLASS, and a long-time volunteer for GRACE, chairing the GRACE Gala in 2012. As a trustee, she served on the district's School Health Advisory Committee, the District Advisory Committee, and the Safety Task Force in a shared effort with the City of Southlake.
Follow this link to learn more about Sheri Mills
Highly Experienced Industry Professional, Elementary Studies, Reading Specialist
Certified as an elementary school teacher in 1963, Mrs. Gregory has been teaching reading and math to young students for almost 60 years. She retired from FWISD years ago but has continued tutoring students in reading, even in her retirement. Mrs. Gregory has seen so many trends come and go with reading and math instruction over the years, and she has been able to “keep what works” about each method. Not only does she have years’ worth of formal training, but also the real-life experience to know when perhaps a blend of the traditional and the novel is needed. Her love of children and of reading bring her to our center on occasion to work directly with students, but her main role is to advise us on methods and curriculum that might benefit certain students who may be struggling.
Dyslexia Therapist & Consultant | Dallas IDA
Shanara Hawkins, M. Ed., CALT
Shanara Hawkins began her career in education 15 years ago to pursue her passions in equity, neurodiversity, literacy, and learning theory. Currently, she works at Amplio Learning and operates a private practice as a Certified Academic Language Therapist and Educational Consultant. An integral component of her work involves advocating on behalf of those with Dyslexia and related learning differences, helping to dramatically raise the public’s awareness and understanding of Dyslexia through the lens of Neurodiversity. As a veteran Texas educator, she has fulfilled numerous positions/roles including TAP Career Teacher, Mentor/Master Teacher, Literacy Department Chair, Dyslexia Therapist, Campus Literacy Specialist, and Professional Development Speaker/Presenter at various educational conferences, school districts, universities, and Fortune 500 Companies. She is an SMU alumnus where she received her B.A. in English and her M.Ed. in Reading and Writing.
Neuroscience and Language acquisition is an immense fascination of hers, and she is an avid researcher of topics related to the inner and outer workings of the English Language and how the human brain works to comprehend it. She has served on the Regional Executive Board of Directors for the International Dyslexia Association since 2012 as Board Director, Treasurer, Vice President, and Excellence in Education Chair. In 2020, she was elected to serve on IDA’s Regional advisory board and is deeply honored to be a part of such a dynamic and progressive organization relentlessly working to institute permanent, far-reaching impacts concerning Dyslexia. Surprisingly, she also has some spare time to enjoy other activities including spending time with her friends and family, rollerblading, studying the U.S. and international markets, discovering the best spots serving vegan food, and capitalizing the word “Dyslexia,” even when it’s grammatically incorrect to do so because it is that important to her.