The Team

We hire the best and empower them to do the most for your student...and they're backed with a lifetime of expertise.

Jed Applerouth, PhD
Founder & President

Dr. Applerouth is a teacher, educational innovator, and our founder. A Nationally Certified Counselor with a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology, Jed has researched student cognition, memory, motivation, and learning strategies to enhance Applerouth's pedagogical strategies. Jed continually seeks new ways to improve the methods and materials we use, researching the most innovative ways to keep his tutors on the cutting edge of the education industry.

Ben Gesch
Senior Program Director

Ben holds a Master of Arts in Teaching from Georgia State University. In addition to being one of our Senior Program Directors, he's been an active tutor with Applerouth since 2015. When Ben isn't assisting parents and students with test prep, he enjoys hanging out with family and friends, watching baseball, and tuning up on his reading, writing, and arithmetic skills.

Bronwyn Dowling
Senior Program Director

As a graduate of Georgia State University, Bronwyn completed a Bachelor's degree in Psychology and post-baccalaureate studies in Pharmacy. She joined the Applerouth team as a tutor in 2008 and was quickly promoted to premium tutor status. She is currently the Senior Program Director and helps guide families through the process of SAT/ACT test preparation.

Chelsea Benoit
Tutor Manager

Chelsea received her Masters degrees in Biology and Science Teaching from Florida State University, where she spent several years teaching the undergraduate bio labs. Afterwards, she moved on to private tutoring. Chelsea joined Applerouth in 2016 after moving to Washington, and now is the Manager for the Seattle and New York tutors.

Emma Vigneault
K-12 Partnerships Manager

An Atlanta native, Emma graduated from Davidson College with a BA in Political Science and Music. Since 2011, she has been tutoring students in the SAT and ACT, and is now our K-12 Partnerships Manager. She writes and edits print curriculum, creates online educational content, and lends her voice to all of our video content.

Jenna Berk
Tutor Manager

Jenna is the Tutor Manager for DMV and IEC Account Manager. She graduated with distinction from the University of Virginia, earning a BA in English and Drama. She then traveled to London and earned a degree from LAMDA, after which she returned to the DC area to be closer to her family and decent Mexican food.

Jennifer Tongel
Director of School Partnerships

Jennifer has been in the test prep and e-learning industry for over twelve years. Jennifer graduated from Virginia Tech and has also completed the College Counseling Certificate program from UCLA. As the Director of School Partnerships, Jennifer manages all of Applerouth's school and district relationships in Georgia.

Joe Ayala
Program Director

Joseph “Joe” Ayala worked for 20+ years as an educator and non-profit administrator with a passion in expanding educational opportunities to underserved populations. Joe has been a middle school English teacher, and has SAT courses at a non-profit called Publicolor before becoming a Program Director with us. Joe is a father (three girls) who enjoys DIY projects, movies and playing basketball in his time off. His unique skill - unicycling.

Kristen Pariseau
Program Director

Kristen Pariseau, or KP, is a seasoned educator and we are thrilled to welcome her to our Program Director team. Before joining the Program Director team, she tutored over 200 students for the ACT, SAT, SSAT, and more. Kristen attended Miami University for her Bachelor's degree and Georgia State University for her Master's Degree.  In her free time, KP loves traveling (has been to almost 50 different countries) and watching soccer (Go, Atlanta United!).

Melissa Pluchos
Director of IEC Partnerships

Melissa is a BA graduate of Sewanee who earned her MA from the University of North Carolina. She has over 15 years of student services experience as a former Associate Athletic Director, Student-Athlete Services Director, and Test Prep Academic Advisor. Melissa joined Applerouth in 2020 as Director of IEC Partnerships. She enjoys working with Educational Consultants because, like them, she recognizes the importance of sound college planning and the impact of finding a good college fit.

Shara-Sue Crump
Senior Tutor Manager

Shara-Sue received degrees in Art Marketing and Art Education from Georgia Universities. She spent eight years teaching Special Education, Math, and Visual Art to public middle and high school students. She worked as a private tutor before joining the Applerouth team as a Senior Tutor manager, where she enjoys working with students who have low confidence and test anxiety.

Tina Munoz
Senior Program Director

Tina is your dedicated Applerouth Senior Program Director. She holds a BA in English Literature with a minor in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Central Florida and an MAT in English Education from Georgia State University. She started with Applerouth in 2012 and was a premium tutor and Program Director for several years before taking a hiatus to teach high school English and finish her graduate work. Excited to return to Applerouth, Tina will be the one to help you through the process and create a custom prep plan.

Tonja Meadows
Program Director

Tonja is committed to helping families navigate the process of preparing their kids for the future through test prep, academic tutoring, and coaching. She holds a BA from Thomas Edison State College, an MPA from Columbus State University and an MDIV form Mercer University. Now a Program Director, she has also been an active tutor in test prep, academic subjects, and executive function coaching. Tonja enjoys playing piano, keyboard, organ, singing, and watching her kids in their extracurriculars.

Whitney Barnard
Event Manager

Whitney Barnard was an Applerouth tutor for two years before joining the Operations team as an Event Manager full-time. She has a knack for organization, which helps her manage Applerouth’s group classes, practice tests, and marketing webinars. She likes to bake in her free time, and bring the leftovers in to share with the office.

Meet our incredible Program Directors.

They're here to advise you and guide you on your path to success.

A smiling woman with a headset on

Meet Some of Our Amazing Tutors

They all bring something unique to the table meaning there's a good match for every student. What they all have in common? An insatiable drive to help your student succeed.

Jenna B.
+ Years of Tutoring Experience

Jenna is a Premium Tutor, the D.C. area Tutor Manager, and the IEC Account Manager for DC, Maryland, and Virginia. She's worked with over 175 Applerouth students since joining the team in 2012 and is the most-requested tutor in the D.C. area. She's also tutored multiple students to perfect section scores on both the SAT and ACT. A native of Arlington, Virginia, Jenna attended the University of Virginia as an Echols Scholar, where she earned a B.A. in English (with distinction) and a minor in Theatre. Jenna spent five years in London, honing her acting skills at LAMDA, before returning to D.C. When it comes to tutoring, Jenna's style is encouraging and reassuring. "Don't let the test get inside your head," she says. "And remember - it's always simpler than you think."

When she's not tutoring, you can find Jenna rooting for the Nats, reading, and playing with dogs.
What Parents are Saying
"Jenna is the best! She really understood my son's needs and tailored her work to what he needed. She was patient and understanding. And, of course, my son's SAT scores improved. Working with Jenna was an all around great experience."
Chelsea B.
+ Years of Tutoring Experience

Chelsea is both a Premium Tutor and the Seattle area Tutor Manager, and she has worked with over 200 Applerouth students since joining the team. She is in the top 10% of Most Requested Tutors and has helped multiple students earn perfect section scores on both the SAT and ACT. A Florida native, Chelsea participated in the International Baccalaureate program in high school. She then went on to earn both a Bachelor's in Biological Science and a Master's in Biology and Science Education, both from Florida State University. During her time at FSU, she worked in a laboratory and taught college-level science classes to undergraduates. She has experience teaching a wide range of students, both individually and in groups. Chelsea takes a student-led approach to tutoring, saying, "I do not give direct answers to students; instead, I prefer to ask questions that help the student work out a problem-solving process that they can apply in the future."

When she's not tutoring, Chelsea enjoys rock-climbing, cooking and playing bass guitar.
What Parents are Saying
"Chelsea is an amazing tutor: intelligent, reliable, and can relate the material in a way that her student understands."
Jeff F.
+ Years of Tutoring Experience

Jeff is a Premium Tutor who has worked with over 350 students since joining the Applerouth team in 2012. A professional with degrees in both political science and teaching, Jeff has worked with multiple students who have gone on to achieve perfect section scores on their college admissions tests. He also assists our creative team by editing content for our books. Jeff believes that effective practice requires students to have a goal in mind: "To use a baseball analogy, smart ballplayers don't try to hit home runs in batting practice. Rather, they simulate game situations and ask themselves, "Given this situation, how would I react?" Similarly, whenever you do your homework or take a mock test, you should always practice with a purpose in mind."

When he's not tutoring, you can find Jeff hiking, traveling, or volunteering.
What Parents are Saying
"Jeff has been a wonderful communicator with us as parents! My daughter has mentioned several times how helpful and clear Jeff is in their sessions. I appreciate his session feedback and look forward to seeing the results of this partnership!"
Tom B.
+ Years of Tutoring Experience

Tom is a longtime Premium Tutor and the Director of Tutor Services here at Applerouth. Tom earned a Bachelors of Science with a Double Major in Economics and Finance Magna Cum Laude at the University of South Alabama before earning his MBA from the University of Rochester, focusing on both Corporate Accounting and Finance. After working in the finance world for several years, Tom went back to school, earned teaching certifications in Broad Field Business, Economics, and History at the University of Georgia, and taught high school for over 13 years. Since joining the team in 2011, Tom has tutored over 850 students and is one of our Top 10 Most-Requested Tutors of all time. Tom has tutored multiple students who have achieved perfect section scores and perfect composite scores on the SAT and ACT. He sums up his tutoring philosophy simply and decisively: "Take a two pronged approach: master the material and master the test."

When Tom isn't tutoring, you can find him fishing, driving his trademark red Camaro, and - most importantly - spending time with his family.
What Parents are Saying
"Tom is an amazing tutor; he does a great job of preparing his students and really connects with them. Fabulous!"
Sarah F.
+ Years of Tutoring Experience

Sarah is a Premium Tutor who has tutored over 140 students since joining the team in 2013. Sarah earned a degree in Mathematics from Harvey Mudd College before moving on to do graduate work in Mathematics and Theoretical Computer Science at Georgia Tech. Once she started PhD work, however, she realized that her true love was teaching, rather than research. She tutors SAT/ACT, math of all levels, as well as chemistry, physics and other sciences. Sarah's broad base of knowledge, combined with her dedication to her students, has cemented her place in our top 10% of Most Requested Tutors. Her dedication pays off: several of her students have achieved perfect section or composite scores in their SATs and ACTs. In addition to tutoring, Sarah serves as our Math Specialist, creating content for our books and online practice; she is the Applerouth authority on the SAT and ACT's math problems! Sarah's tutoring philosophy focuses on breaking difficult problems into steps: "It is good to keep the big picture in mind, but the best approach to most any problem is to take things one step at a time.

The small steps can be completely manageable even when the big picture seems overwhelming." When Sarah isn't tutoring, she knits, bakes, and sings in a choir.
What Parents are Saying
"My daughter likes Sarah's style and the way she helps her break things into pieces. She feels that Sarah is already helping her better understand the concepts."
Shara-Sue C.
+ Years of Tutoring Experience

Shara-Sue is a Premium Tutor and a Tutor Manager for the Atlanta and Chicago markets. Since joining Applerouth in 2014, Shara-Sue has tutored over 1,000 students, several of whom have gone on to achieve perfect section scores on both the SAT and ACT. Shara-Sue's dedication and infectious enthusiasm are impossible to miss: she is one of Applerouth's Top 10 Most Requested Tutors and won the company-wide Above and Beyond Award in 2015 for her willingness to go the extra mile for her students and their families. Before joining Applerouth, Shara-Sue taught in the public school system for several years. Shara-Sue describes her tutoring style as "lively, adaptive, energetic, visual, and auditory." She works hard to empower her students and build their confidence as they get ready for test day.

When she's not tutoring, Shara-Sue creates art, travels everywhere she can, and enjoys all the cultural and artistic events Atlanta has to offer!
What Parents are Saying
"Shara-Sue is the most incredible tutor! We are so appreciative of her and of Applerouth's matching us with her. We are so thrilled with the help and leadership she has provided our daughters, who adore her. She is truly wonderful."
A stick figure standing atop a mountain with their arms up, in the clouds

This is fulfillment at work.

We love finding those who are passionate and confident about having a positive impact on young minds.