Our family

At LINKZ, we have over 30 tutors, educators, testers and office staff.
Click on a name to learn their story.

Leadership Team:

Jake Ferentz, M.Ed.

Director & CEO

Jake Ferentz, M.Ed. is the Director and CEO of LINKZ. He attained his graduate degree as a Master of Education in School Counseling at the nation’s highest ranked program, found at the University of Maryland, College Park. Currently, he is seeking his LGPC certification through Loyola University. He received his undergraduate degree in Public Relations from the University of Maryland, College Park. He is also a graduate of The Ferentz Institute’s Trauma Certificate Program Level I. Built from the foundation of bowman educational services, a tutoring agency servicing the Columbia, MD area for over 35 years, LINKZ has been a dream of Jake's for the last decade. He has trained in Bowman’s Orton-Gillingham Plus, Visualizing and Verbalizing, Executive Function Coaching, MODELosophy, and Writing & Research Methodology. He has developed training courses in Executive Functioning & Family Dynamics, SAT/ACT test prep, and Skype tutoring. Recently, he and Liz Riggieri co-developed and co-taught Learning @ LINKZ’s Executive Functioning & Family Dynamics workshop series. While known primarily for his work in S.T.E.M. tutoring and EF coaching, he has also worked extensively in advanced test prep (ISEE/HSPT/ASVAB/GRE) and college/career counseling. He has tutored, counseled, and mentored hundreds of students throughout his career, and continues to maintain relationships with families across the country. Through LINKZ, Jake’s mission is to help students and their families find success in the classroom and at home.

Jennifer Wheat, M.Ed.

Educational Diagnostician

Jennifer Wheat, M.Ed. is an Educational Diagnostician, Consultant, and Certified Structured Literacy Dyslexia Interventionist (certified by the Center for Effective Reading Instruction (CERI) in conjunction with the International Dyslexia Association) at LINKZ. She received both her undergraduate degree and Master of Education in Special Education from the University of Maryland, College Park. Jennifer received a graduate Certification in Advanced Studies in Education, specializing in Dyslexia, through Notre Dame of Maryland University in partnership with The Jemicy School. She is also a graduate of The Ferentz Institute’s Trauma Certificate Program Level I. As a former Special Education teacher in Montgomery County Public Schools, she also served on the Educational Management Team, testing and identifying students in need of specialized services and/or accommodations. As a former tutor, Jennifer trained in Bowman’s Orton-Gillingham Plus, Visualizing and Verbalizing, Executive Function Coaching and Writing, MODELosophy, and various written language strategies. Jennifer is a member of Decoding Dyslexia Maryland and the Special Education State Advisory Committee. She has participated as a professional member of the Universal Screening workgroup and as a parent representative on the ELA Elementary Curriculum workgroup in Frederick County Public Schools. When she has free time, she enjoys spending it with her husband and three children, watching them play sports, or playing tennis herself both with her friends and as a Special Olympics volunteer.

Michelle Thieman

Office Manager

Michelle Thieman is the Office Manager and first point of contact at LINKZ. Since 2012 she has been the first person to greet families interested in learning more about our services. She has trained in Bowman’s Orton-Gillingham Plus, and understands the critical need to connect with and support families reaching out for help and guidance during their child’s academic career. She loves sharing the ability and experience of our staff in educating students that have a wide variety of learning styles. Michelle feels privileged to watch our team share knowledge that enables their students to develop both skills and confidence in their abilities to be successful. On a personal note, she enjoys spending time with her husband, daughter, and friends, as well as traveling and making jewelry.

Academic Specialists:

Asher Baraban

S.T.E.M. Specialist

Asher Baraban is a S.T.E.M. Specialist at LINKZ. Asher is pursuing degrees in Mathematics and Computer Science at Washington University in St. Louis. There, he has gained experience tutoring as a teaching assistant for S.T.E.M. courses, where he enjoys sharing his passion for S.T.E.M. He is also an avid golfer and enjoys playing bridge.

Bonnie Kaczorowski, M.S.

Academic Specialist

Bonnie Kaczorowski, M.S. is an Academic Specialist at LINKZ. She earned her Master’s degree from McDaniel College and a Certificate in Exceptionalities: Dyslexia, Dysgraphia, and Dyscalculia from Notre Dame of Maryland. An elementary-level teacher for over 18 years, she has trained in Bowman’s Orton-Gillingham Plus and a wide variety of multi-sensory disciplines. Her passion is to teach children and allow them to feel the success and gain the confidence they deserve. She is forever seeking to know better and do better for all children.

Carolyn Coletti, M.S.

Academic Specialist

Carolyn Coletti, M.S. is an Academic Specialist at LINKZ. She received a Bachelor of Science Degree with a dual concentration in Elementary and Early Childhood Education at Florida Southern College in Lakeland, Florida. She next received her Master of Science Degree in Special Education from Hofstra University in Long Island, New York. She lived in Richmond, Virginia for five years and taught Special Education and First Grade in Chesterfield County. She worked as a Special Educator and First Grade teacher in the Howard County School System for three years where she was nominated for the Agnes Meyers Teacher of the Year Award. She has worked for many years in Elementary Education, and is trained, licensed, and certified in Elementary Education (1-6), Early Childhood Education (Infant-K), Special Education (Infant-8), Visualizing and Verbalizing, and Bowman’s Orton-Gillingham Plus. LINKZ has given her the opportunity to share her love for reading with students of all ages. She believes in providing multi-sensory instruction to make learning engaging and meaningful. She feels the best teachers educate with their heart, not just their minds. Carolyn lives with her husband and three children, Elizabeth, Will, and Leah in Frederick County.

Christina Erd, B.A.

Academic Specialist

Christina (Chris) Erd, B.A. is an Academic Specialist at LINKZ. She has a B.A. in English, a Master of Education in Counseling, and has taught Pre-K, 2nd and 6th grade students in the classroom. She has been working with children and families in community and educational settings for 25 years. Chris has been trained in Bowman’s Orton-Gillingham Plus, MODELosophy, and Executive Function Coaching, and has been tutoring students in grades K-12 for more than five years. She enjoys helping students build skills to regain self-confidence and a love of learning.

Cyndi Alder, B.S.

Academic Specialist

Cyndi Alder, B.S. is an Academic Specialist at LINKZ. She graduated from the University of Delaware with a B.S. and dual certification in Special Education and Elementary Education. She has trained in Bowman’s Orton-Gillingham Plus and enjoys teaching children (she's worked with them since the age of 16). She has four children of her own, two of whom struggle with dyslexia; her goal is to help others with similar struggles. She loves her family, summer days, and photography, and strives to capture the world around her in her photos.

Hope Fetty, B.S.

Homework & Online Learning Specialist

Hope Fetty, B.S. is a Homework & Online Learning Specialist at LINKZ. Hope received her B.S. in Elementary Education and Special Education from Towson University. A former classroom teacher, Hope has worked with and supported children of all ages. She strives to help students reach their fullest potential through detail-oriented planning, organization, execution, and reflection.

Jeffrey Katz, M.B.A.

Math Specialist

Jeffrey Katz, M.B.A. is a Math Specialist at LINKZ. He has been tutoring privately and professionally for over 10 years in a myriad of mathematics subjects, including standardized testing. He has a B.A. in Applied Mathematics (including Statistics) and Economics from The Johns Hopkins University, where he was a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Honors Society. He also has an M.B.A. in Finance and Public Policy from The Wharton School, where he was a member of the Beta Gamma Sigma Honors Society. He has prepared students for the SAT, ACT, GMAT, GRE, ASVAB and other standardized tests. He has also been a Certified Financial Planner and Chartered Financial Consultant, and has been in the financial services industry for over 25 years. He is blessed with four children (and two grandchildren!) who kept his tutoring skills very sharp on a nightly basis!

Julia Arnsdorf-Woodard, M.A.T.

Academic Specialist

Julia Arnsdorf-Woodard, M.A.T. is an Academic Specialist at LINKZ. She received her Masters in Teaching at Goucher College and is certified by the State of Maryland in Elementary/Lower School Education. She has trained in Bowman’s Orton-Gillingham Plus and has worked as a Literacy Lab Tutor at Hazelwood Elementary, assisting students one-on-one through various reading interventions. Born without eardrums, Julia received several reconstructive surgeries to attain hearing; as such, her journey with hearing has made her sensitive to all students and their individual needs. Julia believes that every student has within them a world of potential that needs only to be nourished and strengthened. As a tutor, she strives to meet her students wherever they are to help them bloom and grow, both academically and socially.

Katie Applebaum, PA-S

S.T.E.M. Specialist

Katie Applebaum, PA-S is a S.T.E.M. Specialist at LINKZ. She has been tutoring privately and professionally for almost a decade while remaining active in her own academic pursuits. She received a Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. During her undergraduate studies, she served as a teacher's assistant for Physics I, Calculus I, and Calculus II, as well as a private tutor for the Student Support and Access Center at American University. She also worked as an Advanced Math Instructor at Sylvan Learning Center, where she tutored dozens of students grades K-12. She spent 4 years as a Research Coordinator in Oncology at Johns Hopkins University, where she became a published author in the Journal of Clinical Oncology and discovered her passion for educating and empowering her patients. Most recently, she began the University of Maryland, Baltimore/Anne Arundel Community College Collaborative PA Program, where she is studying to receive both a Master's degree in Public Health and Physician Assistant Certification.

Kimberleigh Garcia, B.A.

Academic Specialist

Kimberleigh Garcia, B.A. is an Academic Specialist at LINKZ. She holds a B.A. in Music and English from McDaniel College, where she earned dual teaching certification and her Master's equivalent in Education, Writing, and Art. She has trained extensively in strategies to serve students with learning differences, such as the EmPOWER writing program, Executive Function Coaching, Bowman’s Orton-Gillingham Plus, and differentiation with Carol Tomlinson at the Curry School's Institute on Academic Diversity. After teaching Language Arts, Spanish, and Choral Music in public schools, Kim taught for three years at a K-12 bilingual expeditionary school in the Dominican Republic. For the last 10 years, she has specifically worked with and tutored students who have learning differences, such as ADHD, anxiety, dyslexia, and ASD. She has over 22 years of experience as a bilingual educator and leader in both public and private settings, and delights in helping students gain confidence and celebrate their known and unexpected gifts.

Lauren McClenney-Rosenstein, Ed.D.

Academic Specialist

Lauren McClenney-Rosenstein, Ed.D. is an Academic Specialist at LINKZ. She earned her Doctor of Education degree at Northeastern University in Teaching, Learning, Leadership, and Curriculum. She received a dual Master’s degree from Syracuse University in Elementary Education and Special Education. Also at Syracuse University, Lauren earned a full four-year track scholarship and obtained her undergraduate degree in Psychology. Shortly after graduating from Syracuse University, she worked as a 4th-grade teacher at The Swift School in Atlanta, Georgia, helping students with language delays, dyslexia, dyscalculia, dysgraphia, and ADHD. Lauren also worked at The Lab School of Washington, applying the Orton-Gillingham methodology intensively in conjunction with Project Read’s Framing Your Thoughts and Story Grammar Marker. She’s also worked as a special education co-teacher in the Howard County Public School system. Lauren is a Professional Learning Facilitator for a non-profit organization based out of Elkridge that supports inclusive education within the classroom. In her free time, Lauren enjoys spending time with her two daughters (Larissa and Anya), husband, German Shepard (Misha), and cat (Jasper).

Liz Riggieri, B.S.

Academic Specialist

Liz Riggieri, B.S. is an Academic Specialist at LINKZ. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education from the University of Rhode Island, and taught in middle school and high school classrooms in several states. She has worked in the field of education since 1994. Liz is also an experienced Professional Developer and Teachers Coach, who worked with EduChange in New York city to assist teachers in developing and executing integrated science curricula. Recently, she and Jake Ferentz co-developed and co-taught Learning @ LINKZ’s Executive Functioning & Family Dynamics workshop series. She is currently certified to teach English and Biology, and is qualified to teach Orton Gillingham. She is trained as a coach in Executive Functioning, Writing & Research, and Visualizing and Verbalizing. Liz has also tutored various levels of middle and high school math, and her clients range from kindergartners to college students. Liz enjoys playing guitar and hunting for antiques in her spare time.

Michael Pasternack

Academic Specialist

Michael Pasternack is an Academic Specialist at LINKZ. He attended the University of Maryland, Baltimore County before moving to New York City to study photography. There, he worked as a prolific fine arts photographer for nearly a decade, before moving back to Maryland. He has been trained in Executive Functioning & Family Dynamics by Jake Ferentz and Liz Riggieri, and has worked with high school and college students on Executive Functioning, organizational skills, and writing for years. Michael’s passion for and knowledge of literature is vast - he has studied the complete works of Guy de Maupassant, Thomas Hardy, Isaac Bashevis Singer, W. H. Auden, and P. G. Wodehouse. In his spare time, he attempts to finish reading the complete works of A. J. Liebling, Joyce Cary, Shūsaku Endō, Eugene O'Neill, and Susan Sontag.

Noah Ferentz, M.A.T.

Academic Specialist

Noah Ferentz, M.A.T. is an Academic Specialist at LINKZ. He received his Masters of Arts in Teaching at Goucher College with dual certification as a secondary special education and mathematics instructor. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Maryland, College Park. During his undergraduate studies, he also worked for the University of Maryland Athletic Department in the Academic Support and Career Development Unit as an Assistant Academic Athletic Counselor, where he managed a caseload of over 100 student-athletes during his tenure. Noah has taught students between grades 2-12 in the classroom and has been tutoring students from ages 8-22 for over six years. Noah is a trained Executive Functioning coach and specializes in math, writing skills, and standardized test preparation. In his spare time, Noah enjoys practicing and performing stand-up and sketch comedy.

Rachel Baraban, OTD, OTR/L

Academic Specialist

Rachel Baraban, OTD, OTR/L, is an Academic Specialist at LINKZ. Rachel graduated Princeton University with a B.A. in Psychology, then pursued her Doctorate of Occupational Therapy at Boston University, culminating with a self-directed project on early development for children experiencing homelessness. As a Certified Occupational Therapist with extensive pediatric learning experiences in early development, Executive Functioning, sensory strategies, and self-management, she has worked extensively in early learning and development as well as adolescent transition to adulthood. She has also worked as an academic tutor for many years, educating her students on a wide diversity of topics. She is passionate about facilitating inclusion and fostering self-efficacy.

Stephanie M. Silverstein, MA-LD

Academic Specialist

Stephanie M. Silverstein, MA-LD is an Academic Specialist at LINKZ. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Special Education from the University of Hartford and a Master's degree in Learning Disabilities from American University. Stephanie specializes in working with students at the middle school and high school level who struggle with ADHD and Executive Dysfunctioning. She helps kids improve organization, time management, and writing skills. Her background includes teaching experience in public and private schools in DC, MD, and VA with students in grades K-6 with a wide variety of abilities. In her spare time, Stephanie enjoys traveling, baking, and visiting museums with her husband and teenage daughter.

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