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Our Teachers

Tiah Schindelheim Rodriguez

Tiah Schindelheim Rodriguez hails originally from Steinbeck’s own Salinas Valley, where she cultivated an avid appetite for novels, research, and language. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from her small town high school and carried her academic distinction through her undergrad at University of California, Berkeley, where she earned the Classics Department Book Award for her senior thesis, graduating with highest honors in her Department in 2003. She pursued Classical Civilizations for her graduate studies, which led her to Florida State University. There, in addition to her studies, research, and volunteer hours at the Student Disability Resource Center, she designed and taught Greek and Latin Elements in the English Vocabulary, a 3000 course for college juniors and seniors. Realizing her passion for education transcended the classical world, she moved to Washington, where she earned her Masters in Education and her Secondary English Language Educator Certificate in 2008. She has been blessed to teach all levels of core English and College English in the High School Classroom sponsored by U.W. at Henry M. Jackson High School from 2008-2011. She moved to Bellevue High School from 2011-2015, where she taught core Junior and Senior English along with advising the student newspaper, the Barque. She currently teaches English 9, English 10 Honors, and AP English Language. As an instructor, it is Tiah’s belief that creating a safe classroom environment that is inclusive and respects diversity is the first step in helping students feel comfortable enough to offer their own opinions and responses to questions and discussions without the fear of harassment or prejudgment. Genuinely listening to students and getting to know them will help students feel respected as individuals in a collaborative community in which their contributions aid in the discovery and advancement of multifaceted perspectives on various themes in literature and in life. She want students to be comfortable with her as a person and as an instructor, as well as being comfortable with their peers, which Tiah believes will reinforce a stable foundation of mutual respect, enabling meaningful discussions, group work, and interactions.Most of all, she wants to work with students to establish an environment where all students feel encouraged to participate so they can learn from each other and from instructors in a relatively equal setting. Aside from teaching, Mrs. Schindelheim Rodriguez enjoys painting, reading, dancing, and nerdy pursuits like Dungeons and Dragons, Hearthstone, and Cosplay.

David Zook

David’s professional career started even before his graduation from college when he did a semester abroad in Japan, got a teaching position and ended up staying in Japan for nearly 12 years!!! After teaching English and Math for 6 years, he taught himself how to program then transitioned into a marketing job in the software industry. After spending 10 years in the software industry, David returned to teaching, this time as a Tutoring Center owner. Over the next 15 years he and his staff have tutored over 5,000 students in virtually all academic subjects.

Over the years, David developed a new vision of what works and what doesn’t work in education he has dubbed Awesome Schooling that incorporates all the sources of education available to US students to achieve a customized, motivating, challenging high school experience for EVERY child. Based on this vision of diverse resources being coordinated to provide customized yet challenging education, David founded Big Brains Preparatory. The BBP educational experience is built around online curriculum, flexible hours, tutorial-based learning, Passion Projects and an Honor Code.

Marc Schleh

Is a Bellevue native and a graduate of Newport High School and the University of Washington Honors Program, where I received a BS in Molecular and Cellular Biology. I spent five years working in the biotechnology industry at Amgen, Inc., and Seattle Children’s Research Institute, during which time I studied viruses including HIV. My work from college and industry led to the publishing of four research papers. After a brief stint as a graduate that the cost of medical education was unjustified by the ends and chose to apply my interests in medicine and science to teaching. My educational philosophy is that students can perform at the highest level in any subject, so long as they employ study habits that best suit them and that are tailored to the material they are learning. I help students realize those habits so they gain the confidence to meet a variety of academic challenges. Many years of studying for tests in graduate and medical school as well as for entrance exams such as the MCAT, GRE, and the DAT have given me a broad background in learning all academic subjects.

Allie Pfleger

Teaching has always been a huge part of Allie’s life. Her mom’s whole side of the family teaches, and growing up in a family that valued education heavily allowed Allie many opportunities to see how important good teaching is for students. Though she wasn’t sure what she wanted to be when she grew up, a series of wonderful math teachers in middle school, high school, and university convinced her that education was truly a worthwhile pursuit. She attended University of Washington to pursue a Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics. She has been teaching, tutoring, and coaching robotics with Big Brains for six incredible years. Teaching, from helping out in ballet classes and Sunday school, to after school science and robotics programs, to our outstanding education program here, is Allie’s number one passion in life.

Sarah Clayton

Sarah has been tutoring for over a decade. She tutors a wide range of topics, including writing, history and Japanese. She has considerable experience working with students to help them develop study habits that promote academic success.

Sarah has a master’s degree from Washington University and is currently completing a doctoral degree at the University of Washington.

Brenda Jow

Brenda is currently a senior at the University of Washington, she is majoring in Early Childhood and Family studies and speaks fluent Chinese. She is currently teaching ESL and Mandarin at Big Brains. She has been teaching Mandarin for the past 4 years. Brenda believes that the best way to learn is by having fun. Brenda enjoys music, coffee and traveling.

Judith Mercado

Judith grew up in Bellevue and attended the Bellevue School District. She began here career working with youth with a leadership roll in high school and has known her path ever since. She is currently pursuing her Teaching Credentials while working at Big Brains.

Judith is very passionate and enthusiastic about education. She strongly believes that in order to learn you need to know how to struggle. Currently, teaches Spanish, ESL and is a Robotics mentor.

Tricia Dela Cruz

Tricia came to the United States when she was fourteen. She attended Bellevue College after graduating from high school and earned her Associates Degree in Arts and Sciences. She now attends the University of Washington to earn her Bachelor’s Degree studying Psychology.

Tricia enjoys teaching and working with children; she grew up with many kids around her. She believes that students are more successful when we teach lessons in a variety ways.

She also enjoys outdoor activities like hiking, rafting and swimming.

Newton Le

Washington State University graduate in Political Science. Already with over 3+ years of experience tutoring and working with youth, Newton has quickly become a integral member of our team, adding depth to our English and Literature Department. In addition to being an educator, Newton works with David Project Managing development of our Education Management App. Project Manager, English and Literature Educator at Big Brains.

Curriculum Catalog
Honor Code
Photo Release