Leewood Learning

About Us

See. Learn. Do.


Our Tutors


Sam Leewood started tutoring in 2005 while studying for his Bachelor's Degree in Mathematics at Depaul University. Initially he enjoyed working with students one on one and found tutoring to be a great way to work part-time while he focused on his studies. After graduating from DePaul Magna Cum Laude in 2007, he decided to take his talents to UIC and earn a Master's Degree in Civil Engineering with the goal of working as a Structural Engineer. Upon graduation (with a 4.0 GPA) he realized he had developed a real passion for helping students reach their full potential.  This made the decision to focus on tutoring full-time an easy one, and Sam has been working independently full-time ever since. 

Working as a husband and wife team, Sam and Tawni Leewood decided to officially launch Leewood Learning together in 2017 in order to expand services to more students. With Tawni's 10 years of experience working in recruitment advertising and sales, her skills naturally align with the recruitment and marketing functions of the business. Sam and Tawni recognize what an undervalued profession classroom teaching has become, which is why Sam and Tawni wanted to mainly hire professional, working teachers at generous wages to ensure the highest quality tutors for you and your children. 


Let's Learn.

Leewood Learning tutors want to help you or your child to realize full potential. Contact us today to learn more about our rates and availibilty.

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President/Lead Tutor

Sam Leewood

The founder of Leewood Learning, Sam is the only tutor on staff without professional classroom teaching experience. However after over 10 years of one on one tutoring he brings a fun and creative approach to working with students of all ages. His proudest moments over the years include helping a number of middle school students secure admission to Whitney M. Young Magnet High School and Walter Payton College Prep.  A number of Sam's high school students were accepted into Brown University, Wellesley University, and Yale University. 

Sam and his wife Tawni have lived in Logan Square since 2009 along with their cat, Phil. His hobbies include cooking, woodworking, yoga, playing piano, and playing basketball.



DePaul University

Bachelor's in Mathematics, 2007

University of Illinois at Chicago

Master's in Civil Engineering, 2011




Biology Tutor

Luke Mueller

A biology teacher at Lincoln Park High School in Chicago, Luke has been teaching locally since August of 2013. He previously taught in Van Nuys, California at CHAMPS Charter School of the Arts for four and half years, giving him over 8 years of professional teaching experience. He currently teaches AP Biology and freshman Biology and has developed curricula for and taught Human Anatomy and Physiology at both schools. He also chairs the Ecology Club at Lincoln Park.  Recently, Luke taught Honors Human Anatomy and Physiology in the Equinox program at Northwestern University’s Center for Talent Development.

Luke and his wife Jacqueline live in Hollywood Park and have two beautiful young daughters, Elyse and Marion who are 2 and 5 years old. He also enjoys farmers markets, basketball and is extremely passionate about live music, especially Bruce Springsteen.


Notre Dame University

Bachelor's in Biology, 2003

DePaul University

Master's in Education, 2005 




Math/SPecial Education Tutor

Charlotte Funicello

Charlotte is currently a middle-school math teacher in Berwyn.  She recently moved to Chicago from New York City, where she taught middle school math for two years.  Charlotte earned her Bachelor's degree in History from Hunter College and went on to earn her Master's in Special Education from Long Island University.  For the past five years, Charlotte has worked with both general education and special needs students.  She also has experience teaching math intervention and accelerated math courses.

Charlotte currently resides in the Irving Park neighborhood and loves spending time at the Montrose dog beach with her loving boyfriend Chris, and their pitbull puppy Remi.


Hunter College

Bachelor's in History, 2012

Long Island University

Master's in Special Education, 2015




Math and ENglish Tutor

Lauren Fifolt

Lauren is a proud native of Michigan and a graduate of the University of Michigan.  She has ten years of experience as a tutor, teacher, and instructional coach.  She is currently a Learning Specialist with the Noble Network of Charter Schools and is passionate about ensuring that all learners have the academic and life skills necessary to one day graduate both high school and college.

Lauren currently resides in Roscoe Village and enjoys running in the neighborhood and busting a move at zumba classes.


University of Michigan

Bachelor's in English, 2010

Cardinal Stritch University

Master's in Urban Special Education, 2012




Math Tutor

Allison Fifolt

Allison has been teaching high schoolers in Chicago for the past 7 years.  She started her career teaching Spanish and later transitioned to teaching high school math.  She currently teaches geometry and algebra to sophomores at Pritzker College Prep.  Allison refuses to believe that anyone is inherently "bad at math" and enjoys supporting students of all abilities; she has taught both high-functioning honor's and special education students.

Allison has loved living in Roscoe Village for the past 4 years and frequents the neighborhood digs.  She also enjoys running, penguins, and answering questions about her identical twin sister, Lauren.


University of Michigan

Honor's Bachelor's in Psychology, 2010

Dominican University

Master's in Teaching, 2012




science and math tutor

Sean McGuire

Originally from Kansas, Sean has been teaching since 2008.  His teaching career began with High School biology and spread to chemistry, physics, environmental science, and ACT prep.  He currently teaches double honors chemistry and AP chemistry at Lincoln Park High School.  Sean also works with High Jump Chicago, a program that provides enrichment and support to rising 7th and 8th grade students seeking to navigate the daunting High School application process.

Sean and his fiancé are proud residents of Uptown for the past 4 years and love visiting the lake with their giant Italian Mastiff named Henry.  He enjoys cheering for the Kansas City Royals, riding his bike on the lake, and explaining his circuitous path to and passion for education.


University of Kansas

Honor's B.A. in English - Creative Writing, 2005

Dominican University

Master's in Teaching, 2009



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science and math tutor

Karyn DeFranco

Karyn recently moved to Chicago from New York and is a PhD student in the Earth and Planetary Sciences department at Northwestern University.  During her undergraduate degree, Karyn spent her summers as an instructor at a science and adventure camp, teaching kids about the important marine and environmental ecosystems in the Great South Bay, NY.  After receiving her B.S. in Geology, Karyn attended the University of Delaware.  She worked as a teaching assistant for both introductory and upper-level lab courses while getting her M.S. in geochemistry.  Her passion for research and learning has extended into various parts of her life and Karyn hopes to inspire students to grow that same passion in their lives.

In her free time, Karyn enjoys playing tennis, paddle boarding, cooking, and spending time with her beagle, Oakley. 


Union College, NY

Bachelor of Science in Geology, 2016

University of Delaware, DE

Master of Science in Geochemistry, 2018

Northwestern University, IL

PhD in Earth and Planetary Sciences, expected 2024




math tutor

Huma Haider

Huma attended DePaul University right here in Chicago, IL and graduated with Honors in Secondary Mathematics Education.  Upon graduation, she began teaching 9th graders algebra I and II at Pritzker College Prep and she's been there ever since.  Huma is passionate about delivering high quality education to all students.  She is currently in her second year of the Hollyhock Fellowship Program at Stanford University in order to continue her own learning and become the best educator possible for her students.

In her free time, Huma loves trying new restaurants, running, and attending various concerts and events in Chicago!


DePaul University

Bachelor's in Secondary Math Education, 2012



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math and spanish tutor

Megan Shein

Throughout high school, college, and graduate school, Megan has tutored students of all ages in math.  After traveling to Boston for college and grad school, she chose to go abroad to teach in Israel.  Megan then returned to the Midwest to teach 12th grade statistics at Pritzker College Prep and has been there since 2014.  Her goal has always been to support all of her students, inside and outside the classroom.  She loves when students get that "aha!" moment and gain the understanding they need in order to feel confident in math.

In her free time, Megan spends as much time as possible outdoors.  She loves camping, hiking, and even just reading, drawing, or running outside.


Boston College

Bachelor's in Mathematics, 2013

Boston College

Master's in Education, 2014



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English and writing tutor

Julia Levit

From a very young age when she would look forward to going back to school each summer to help her teachers set up their classrooms, Julia knew she wanted to be a teacher.  As such, Julia is currently a 10th grade English/Literature teacher at Pritzker College Prep.  She was previously a Learning Specialist for five years.  She is now in her twelfth year of teaching and has experience working with grades 6 - 10 in various subjects.  Even though she loves the energy and daily excitement of teaching her classes of fantastic students, Julia also enjoys working one-on-one with students in order to help them persevere through difficulties and find personal growth and success.

Julia finally lives with her fiancée in Lakeview after ten years of long distance dating.  They have two amazing cats, Ernie and Bert.  In her free time, Julia can be found dancing, lifting weights, trying new restaurants, attending costume parties, traveling, going to concerts and sporting events, and reading. 


DePaul University

Bachelor's in Secondary Education, 2005

DePaul University

Master's in Special Education, 2012

University of Phoenix

English as a Second Language Endorsement, 2015



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Math, Spanish, and Test Prep Tutor

Cara Ladd

Cara graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and is a proud Badger alumna.  After graduation, Cara moved to Chicago to start her teaching career with Teach for America.  She spent two years teaching Spanish at the K-2 level, during which she earned her Master's of Arts in Teaching with a Bilingual/ESL endorsement.  Cara is currently in her fourth year teaching for the Noble Network at DRW College Prep, and currently teaches advanced algebra and trigonometry at the 10th grade level.

In her free time, Cara loves traveling, cooking whatever she finds at the Logan Square Farmers Market, learning how to salsa dance, and trying new restaurants in the city.


University of Wisconsin - Madison

Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and Environmental Studies, 2013

Dominican University

Master of the Arts in Teaching, 2015



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Science and math tutor

Nilou Sarvian

Nilou is a recent Chicago transplant from Los Angeles and is an Earth and Planetary Science PhD student at Northwestern University. Throughout college Nilou spent much of her free time volunteering at the local elementary school as a teacher's assistant. She also spent a year after college tutoring math and working as a research chemist. These experiences further developed her love of learning. Nilou hopes to continue inspiring students to succeed and pursue their dreams.

In her free time, Nilou enjoys playing sports, trying new ethnic foods, and exploring her new hometown of Chicago.  She also loves babysitting and hanging with her Bernese godson, Yoshi


University of California, Santa Barbara

Bachelor of Science in Chemistry, 2015

Northwestern University

PhD in Earth and Planetary Sciences,  expected 2022



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English and German tutor

Ben Groch

Ben comes from a rural town outside of Chicago. He attended the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, where he developed a love of writing, German and dense literary styles. He then taught Austrian high schoolers the ins-and-outs of the English language before returning to Chicago to teach ESL. Ben now teachers at Pritzker College Prep in the Hermosa neighborhood, where he also coaches soccer and rocks out with students. 

In his free time, Ben enjoys playing soccer, music and going for walks on the beach with his wife (seriously!).


University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana

Bachelor's in English and German, 2004

National Louis

Masters in Art of Teaching, 2013





Math and spanish tutor

Alex Riggs

Alex is in his fifth year of teaching Algebra and Pre-Algebra and has taught at Pritzker College Prep for three years. He started his teaching career in Detroit by joining Teach for America and teaching middle school math, science, history, and Spanish. He started to focus on math in his second year in the classroom and during that year he received his Master’s from Oakland University with a focus in secondary mathematics.  

Since the summer of 2016, Alex and some of his peers have been fortunate to attend the Hollyhock Teaching Fellowship through Stanford University’s Center to Support Excellence in Teaching (CSET). Through this program, he has improved his ability to pose purposeful and guiding questions, bolstered his knowledge of best math practices, and discovered better techniques to elicit student ideas and ways of modeling mathematics.

Alex lives in Logan Square, but is also a proud Kentuckian who frequents the Pony Inn to cheer on his Wildcats. He played Division III soccer at DePauw and still plays in local soccer leagues. He also enjoys perusing the Logan Square farmers market, playing/watching any sport, listening to a wide range of music, and savoring the beautiful summer months in Chicago.  


DePauw University

Bachelor's in Behavioral Economics, 2013

Oakland University

Master's in the Art of Teaching (MAT) with a focus in secondary mathematics, 2015 



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Math and Physics tutor

Stefani Cleaver

Originally from Lexington, Kentucky, Stefani graduated magna cum laude from DePauw University in 2014 with a Bachelor's in Physics and a minor in Mathematics and Computer Science.  It was at the university tutoring center where she discovered her talent as a tutor.  Stefani is passionate about helping others succeed and is committed to continuing to share her love for math and science as a tutor.  She loves teaching students to think critically and gain the confidence needed to tackle academic challenges on their own.

Stefani continued her education at Northwestern University here in Chicago, earning her Doctorate in Physical Therapy.  She now works as a hospital based Physical Therapist, while keeping her passion for teaching and mentoring alive on her off hours.  Stefani enjoys playing indoor volleyball, running on the lakefront, and trying out new recipes in the kitchen.  Of course, she can be found cheering on her Kentucky Wildcats during the basketball and football seasons.


DePauw University

Bachelor's in Physics, 2014

Northwestern University

Doctorate in Physical Therapy, 2017 



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English and Test Prep Tutor

Sara Pasquinelli

Sara worked in middle and high school classrooms for the past eight years.  She taught middle school sciences as well as US and World history.  Sara’s focus was on increasing students’ reading, writing, and critical thinking skills.  She earned her undergraduate degree in History and Anthropology from Elon University where she studied abroad to South Africa, Denmark, and Turkey. She completed her Master’s in Secondary Education from Arizona State University.

Sara currently resides in Lakeview East with her dog, Roxie.  She’s originally from Pittsburgh so she’s a huge sports fan, but has adopted the Chicago Cubs as her second favorite baseball team.  When she’s not playing or watching sports, Sara is planning her next travel adventures!


Elon University

Bachelor of Arts in History & Anthropology, 2010

Arizona State University

Masters of Education, 2012



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Science and Math Tutor

Julie Plewa

A Chicago native, Julie has been teaching since 2014.  After graduating from the University of Minnesota with a degree in chemistry, she moved to Boston and worked in Boston Public Schools for 2 years.  Ready to move back home, Julie came to Chicago in 2016 and has been teaching high school physics and chemistry.  Julie is currently enjoying her position teaching chemistry at Lincoln Park High School.

In her spare time Julie loves to sing, bake, swim, and play with her one year old puppy, Millie. Julie loves being back in Chicago so she can cheer on her Cubs and Blackhawks.


University of Minnesota

Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry, 2014

Relay Graduate School of Education

Masters in Teaching, 2018 



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Science and Math tutor

Annie Nelson

Annie first became interested in teaching science through her passion for outdoor adventure.  Growing up in Oregon and Puerto Rico led to a lot of playing outside.  This fueled a curiosity for science and eventually resulted in Annie earning a B.S. in Geology summa cum laude from Union College in upstate New York.  During college, Annie worked as a Supplemental Instructor in Chemistry, teaching alongside esteemed faculty and hosting tutoring sessions.  After college, she taught science at an outdoor-based high school in Leadville, Colorado. Annie is hoping to someday continue her science teaching career as a college professor.  She is currently a 2nd year PhD student at Northwestern University.  In the meantime, Annie is excited to have the opportunity to pursue her love for teaching with Leewood Learning! 

In her free time, you can find Annie playing lacrosse, biking, hiking, skiing, or hanging off a mountain somewhere in the Rockies.  


Union College

Bachelor of Science in Geology, 2015

Northwestern University

PhD in Earth Science, expected 2022 



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Math and Test Prep Tutor

Nate Fearing

Nate is originally from Door County, WI, but has lived in Chicago for the past 3 years.  After graduating from Lawrence University with a degree in economics, Nate moved to Memphis to teach high school math through Teach For America.  When he relocated to Chicago, Nate taught Algebra I at UIC College Prep where he also coached the men’s basketball team.  He is currently pursuing sabermetrics, but will never lose his passion for helping students succeed. 

In his free time, Nate enjoys playing sports, going on walks with his dog, Marvin, and playing board games.  Of course, he can be found watching his Packers, Bucks, and Brewers whenever they are on.


Lawrence University

Bachelor of Arts in Economics, 2014




Science and math tutor

Anna Pietrantonio

Anna is originally from the East Coast, but has lived in the Midwest for the past 4 years. After graduating from Amherst College with a degree in chemistry, Anna moved to Milwaukee to teach high school math and science through Teach for America. In her second year of teaching, Anna earned her Master's in Secondary Education at Marquette University. She currently resides down the street from the Obama's in Hyde Park and teaches biology at Chicago Bulls College Prep.

In her free time, Anna enjoys spending time outdoors, exploring the restaurant scene in her new hometown and taking advantage of the free trial of any exercise class she can get her hands on.


Amherst College

Bachelor of Science in Chemistry, 2014

Marquette University

Master of Secondary Education, 2016




ENGLISH and spanish tutor

Anna Treesara

Anna was born and raised in Avondale and has always wanted to go into the education field. She began this journey as a Golden Apple Scholar majoring in English Education at Bradley University in Peoria, IL. She then went on to receive a Fulbright to teach English language in Thailand, where she was able to reconnect with her culture. After her Fulbright, she taught high school English at a Noble Network Charter School for three years. During this time, she also worked towards a Master of Science degree in Language Arts Instruction from Northeastern Illinois University. Although Anna loved teaching and her students, she ultimately wanted to create a larger impact outside of the classroom. As a result, she transitioned to a Program Coordinator role at a non-profit education organization, Urban Alliance, where she currently works. Anna is most passionate about creating academic and professional opportunities for students from underserved communities through intentional curriculum development and innovative educational technology tools.

In her free time, Anna enjoys working out, hanging out with her Shiba Inu Addison, and discovering new restaurants all over Chicago. 


Bradley University

Bachelor of Arts in English Education, 2013

Northeastern Illinois University

Master of Science in Language Arts Instruction, 2018



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Math and Test Prep Tutor

Ari Stillman

After graduating from Lehigh University, Ariana moved back to her hometown of Milwaukee to teach elementary school math and reading for two years. She then moved to the non-profit sector in Milwaukee but continued to tutor students throughout the school year. A recent Chicago transplant, Ari currently resides in the West Loop and works for the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education. While not in the classroom anymore, Ariana has a deep love of learning and enjoys working with students to help them find the tools to tackle academic challenges.

In her free time, Ariana enjoys exploring her new city by finding good food, coffee and used book stores.


Lehigh University

Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, 2013

Alverno College

Master of Elementary Education, 2015




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Math and Early Education Tutor

Jess Backhaus

Jess has been working in the education field for ten years in many different capacities. She moved to Chicago seven years ago, after graduating from Western Michigan University with a degree in child development and family studies. Since moving to Chicago, she has developed programs for The Chicago Children's Museum, taught preschool at Concordia Place, and was the Director for The Gardner School.  Jess is very passionate about creating lifelong learners; it is never too early or late to learn something new!

Jess' favorite activities include traveling to beautiful places, hiking difficult trails, biking around the city, trying new restaurants, attending Cubs games, and doing any water related sports. She also loves spending time with her husband and dog. 


Western Michigan University

Bachelor's in Child Development and Family Studies, 2012



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Science and Math Tutor

Jen Johnson

Jen was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. She grew up with an intense love of the outdoors and spent most of her life exploring the mountains, valleys, and oceans that make up the California landscape. She earned her B.S. in Environmental Studies at the University of California at Santa Barbara and when she realized she loved working with kids as much as she loved nature, she decided to pursue a Master of Arts in Education and teaching credential at Stanford University. For the following 10 years, Jen taught math and science at Eastside College Prep where she prepared first generation college bound students for the rigors of high school and college. Two years ago, she moved with her family to the western suburbs of Chicago where she continues to teach middle school science. 

When Jen is not in the classroom, she can be found tending her garden, playing outdoors with her two small children, and walking her sweet dog, Sibley. 


University of California at Santa Barbara

Bachelor of Science in Environmental Studies, 2002

Stanford University

Master of Arts in Education, 2006



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Math and Executive Functioning Tutor

Sammie Griseto

Sammie graduated from St. Ambrose University in 2010 and she just finished up her masters from Olivet Nazarene University.  Sammie has taught special education for 8 years.  She is currently teaching fourth grade, but has experience with students ranging from first through eighth grade.  She loves getting to know each and every one of her students.  She believes everyone is a learner once they find their groove!  Come summertime, Sam is the director of the summer camp that she has worked at for 11 years.  She loves the contagious energy and enthusiasm of children!

Lincoln Park is where Sammie calls home.  She loves to spend time with her big, extended family, play games, cook, sing and dance to great music, and make jokes!


St. Ambrose University

Bachelors in Special Education, 2010 

Olivet Nazarene University

ESL Certification and Masters in Instruction, 2018




English and Writing Tutor

Emily Boyce

Emily graduated with Highest Distinction from Indiana University, studying English, with minors in French and Psychology and a Liberal Arts and Management degree from the Kelley School of Business. After graduating, she went on to serve as a Teach For America corps member, teaching 7-8th grade writing in her hometown of Indianapolis. During her time in the classroom, her students achieved more than double the expected academic growth on standardized tests, and she focused on implementing neuroscience-based methods to empower them to self moderate and build resilience under stress. 

Emily then spent three years as a Communications and Engagement Manager for a local nonprofit, raising millions of dollars through her grant writing and event planning efforts. She now seeks to get back to more personal interactions with students and families through tutoring. 

In her free time, Emily is a plant-based home cook, yoga teacher-in-training, avid reader and proponent of Chicago's live music scene.  


Indiana University

Bachelor or Arts in English, 2013

Marian University

Master of Arts in Teaching, 2015