meet the tutor

Meet Katherine Hanson

We are talking with another one of our amazing tutors this week! Come meet Katherine Hanson!

Katherine’s family moved frequently while she was growing up. She lived in Ohio, Arizona, Minnesota, New York, Massachusetts, and Kentucky. That said, she claims Cincinnati as home! Katherine completed her undergraduate degree at College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA, where she majored in English and concentrated in Peace & Conflict Studies. After teaching for three years, she went back to school to study Education Policy and its implications for equity in education at Columbia University. She earned her M.A. in 2017.

Her entire career has been in education. She’s been a teacher, a Dean of Faculty, an Instructional Coach, an education policy analyst in the office of one of Ohio's state senators, and an education researcher. Currently, she works for a fantastic organization called The Opportunity Network, which is based in New York. The Opportunity Network connects students from historically and systematically underrepresented communities to college access and success, internships, career opportunities, and personal and professional networks. She directs the organization's data management, evaluation, and decision science activities in addition to managing a caseload of amazing college students.

How long have you been tutoring with Connections?

I have been tutoring with Connections since September 2017!

What's your favorite thing about tutoring?

Nothing gives me joy quite like working with young people. I aspire for my students to be independent learners with healthy growth mindsets. My pedagogy leans less on direct instruction, and more on building the habits of independent learning. My favorite moments are those when I can see my students flex these habits — when they say things like, "I don't know that word. We should look it up;" or "I want to work on this part of the assignment, but I need to review the chapter first.

What is the best book you've read in the last year?

Toni Morrison is my favorite author, and I'm working my way through her anthology. Earlier this year, I read Song of Solomon, which deeply moved me.

How would you spend a free Saturday afternoon?

I would exercise with my dog, Oakley, take care of my dozens of plants, and meet up with friends for a beer. Preferably outside, on a deck.

You just won an all expenses paid vacation! Where are you going?

I'm at my happiest when I am in the mountains, so you can take me anywhere above 8000' elevation and I will be thrilled. If you back me into a corner, I'll put off the trip for a year so that I can train aggressively to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania!

Thank you, Katherine, for all you do for Connections!


Meet John Christiansen

This month we are talking with another great tutor, John Christiansen

John grew up in Hollis, New Hampshire, a small town about 45 minutes north of Boston. So yes, you can assume he is an insufferable Patriots fan. Having lived through the dark times when he was a kid, he is now basking in the past 20 years. “It will end soon, I know this, and retribution from my students will be merciless.

John earned his bachelor’s degree in History from Grinnell College in 1998 and a Master’s in Mathematics from Wesleyan University in 2005. For almost fifteen years he and his wife, Laura, taught at boarding schools in New England. During that time, he was a dorm head, a head baseball coach, assistant football coach, among a myriad of other responsibilities. 

Currently, he is the Director of Scheduling, Dean of Students for the 11th and 12th grades, and Upper School math teacher at Cincinnati Country Day School.

How long have you been tutoring with Connections?

This is my first year with Connections.

What's your favorite thing about tutoring?

The “click” moments. Tutoring is not about content delivery; it is about the establishment of trust. Students are seeking you out because they are having real struggles and that is not comfortable for them. At the start they are almost always hopeful, but in the back of their minds they are usually asking, “how is this arbitrary stranger going to be able to help me?” The “click” moments are the times when a student you are working with finally understands something. Not just the mechanics they are doing, but why they are doing those mechanics. My goal is to help students have more and more of those moments so that they can use them to grow. I want them to be able to analyze what they have done differently to master the material and apply those new skills going forward. I also want to build up a history of success so when new material is presented and they feel overwhelmed, they can rely on all the successes they have had in the past and know they can and will master this topic as well.

What is the best book you've read in the last year?

This one is so easy. This year I have been reading The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to my children. I love fantasy books and getting to share these with my kids has been excellent.  A fun side benefit is that I let them watch the movies after the books, and they are both talking to the TV (just like their mom does) saying things like, “That is not even anywhere in the book!!!!”  It just makes me smile.

How would you spend a free Saturday afternoon?

This has to be a two-part answer: with and without kids. With my kids, we would go for a hike in the nature center or get on the bike trail up to Loveland. If I was by myself, I would put 50 – 70 miles on my bicycle, stopping for refreshments as needed in the different towns along the way. 

You just won an all expenses paid vacation! Where are you going?

If it is just me, I am putting it off for a year and training like mad to go to France. There is this small group that allows qualified cyclists (hence the need to train) to ride the official Tour de France route the day before the race. Basically, you are riding all the stages for three weeks that the tour teams are riding, just the day before as the close and clean the course.  I would love to do some of the historic climbs. If it was me and my family, we would head to New Zealand for 7-8 weeks (we do get summers off after all) and just explore and say “yes, and…….” to every crazy suggestion. 

Thank you, John! We love having you on the Connections team!

John and his family at Yellowstone.

John and his family at Yellowstone.

Written by Joy Becker, Mentoring Coordinator.

Meet Allyson Schuler

This week we are chatting with Allyson Schuler, a Cincinnati native!

Allyson grew up in Fairfield and returned to Cincinnati after graduate school. She studied horn performance at the Eastman School of Music and economics at the University of Rochester, earning a BM in Applied Music and a BA in economics, respectively. During both her undergrad and graduate studies, she worked with the Concert and Events Offices at her schools. She started as an usher and was promoted to a head usher, and then worked as a Crew and House Manager in graduate school. The best part was being able to hear amazing concerts, recitals, and guest speakers.

After she completed her undergraduate degree, she lived in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina for a year playing fourth horn with the Sarajevo Philharmonia. She had a wonderful time playing classical and pops concerts as well as performing for operas and ballets. She traveled with the orchestra to other cities in Bosnia and on a tour to Northern Italy.

Allyson returned to the US for her Masters of Music at the University of Delaware. While there, she toured with the UD Wind Ensemble to Taiwan in 2015 and to the CBDNA 2016 Convention in New London, Connecticut, and toured Washington D.C. with the UD Symphony Orchestra.

When she returned to Cincinnati she started her own horn studio and have been building it since then. Like tutoring, she gets to work individually with students and can focus on their strengths, weaknesses, and help them improve and grow as musicians. She had the opportunity to perform with orchestras like the Lexington Philharmonic and the Southwest Florida Symphony Orchestra.

How long have you been tutoring with Connections?

I started tutoring with Connections in the Fall of 2017. I help most of my students with math classes like Algebra I, II, and Geometry, and I have a few beginner French students. The “ah-ha” moments are great! So many of my students know more than they think they do, they may just need something explained differently or with an extra step. I love when students reflect on a type of problem that originally seemed very complicated and challenging, but a few weeks later they can work through it like it’s as easy as adding. Like horn, practice really helps math skills.

What’s the best book you’ve read in the last year?

The Inner Game of Tennis by W. Timothy Gallwey. He discusses getting out of your own way, removing judgement from the learning process to become a better tennis play. It applies very well to horn playing and teaching, and learning new things in general.

How would you spend a free Saturday afternoon?

Free Saturday afternoons are usually spent with my family. I have a nephew who will be 1 this summer. He can almost walk and just learned how to clap. I love being an aunty and watching him learn new things and try new foods. Everything is so exciting for him.

You just won an all expenses paid vacation! Where are you going?

I’m going back to Europe! My favorite city in all of my travels is Berlin. I would love to explore more of Germany, maybe practice the little bit of German I have learned since my first trip. I wasn’t able to see the Berlin Philharmonic while I was there, so I would love to hear them and other outstanding orchestras. 

Thank you, Ally, for being such an important part of the Connections Team!


Written by Joy Becker, Mentoring Coordinator.

Meet Greg Faulhaber

We are excited to introduce you to another one of our outstanding team members, Greg Faulhaber.

Greg grew up in Erie, Pennsylvania, and he earned his Bachelor’s degree in Math Education from Indiana University of PA. He then went on to earn a Master of Arts in Teaching from Miami University.

At age 7 , Greg started working at his family’s business, Gary’s Superette, which is a small convenience store.  After college, he taught math at Winton Woods High School for 6 years, and then moved on to Colerain High School for 4 years. Greg is currently in his 11th year at Cincinnati Country Day School where he teachers math, and is also the Math Department Chair and 10th grade Class Advisor.

How long have you been tutoring with Connections and what subject do you tutor in? 

I’ve been tutoring for about a year and a half.  I do mostly ACT/SAT prep, with some other high school math courses as well.

What's your favorite thing about tutoring? 

My favorite part is the one-on-one with the students.  It allows me to pinpoint their weaknesses and work to improve them. Whether it’s a specific subject, topic, pacing for standardized test, or building confidence, working with them individually lets me support their strengths while finding room for improvement.

What is the best book you've read in the last year? 

Star Wars: Thrawn, by Timothy Zahn.  I’m a real Star Wars geek!

How would you spend a free Saturday afternoon? 

That’s a tough one. If it’s the spring, I would most likely be coaching one of my sons’ baseball teams. If it’s summer, I would be on the golf course, and if it’s a lousy weather day, I’d be falling asleep on the couch watching golf.

You've just won an all expenses paid vacation! Where are you going? 

I’m playing 18 holes at Augusta National Golf Club!  Any chance you can set that up for me?

Thanks, Greg! We’ll see what we can do about that golf outing!


Written by Joy Becker, Mentoring Coordinator and Author of Joy A. Becker.

Meet Nicole Bouldin

We are excited to introduce you to another one of our excellent team members, Nicole Bouldin!


Nicole was born and raised in Cincinnati. She is the oldest of three and the only girl. She grew up playing sports and went to McAuley High School where she played basketball. Nicole graduated from Miami University in 2010 with a Middle Childhood Education degree and began her teaching career with Cincinnati Public Schools. She taught 5th grade Language Arts, and has now been teaching for 9 years with CPS. Currently, she teaches 4th grade Language Arts; however, next year she will be moving to a reading specialist position to work with teachers and students in grades 4-6.  

How long have you been tutoring with Connections?

I have been with Connections Academics for 5 months.

What's your favorite thing about tutoring?

My favorite things about tutoring is the positive relationship I have built with the little girl that I tutor. I love seeing her grow and become more confident as we continue to practice together. Her sense of humor and personality always keep me laughing and is among the many reasons I look forward to working with her each week. 

What is the best book you've read in the last year?

The best book I've read in the last year is "Wonder" with my students.

How would you spend a free Saturday afternoon?

I would spend it with my one and half year old dog, Bear. I enjoy taking him on runs around the neighborhood and to dog parks.

You just won an all expenses paid vacation! Where are you going?

I would go to Fiji! I've never been and I love beach vacations!

Thanks, Nicole!

We love your enthusiasm for teaching and tutoring! Connections is lucky to have you!

Written by Joy Becker, Mentoring Coordinator and Author of 44 & Oxford