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Meet our founder

Nicole Kaplan

MaSpEd, ET/P

Educational Therapist + empowerED Founder

Nicole Kaplan

"Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

Educational therapy empowers students with academic struggles to learn and develop efficient new approaches to learning, positively affecting a student’s life in and out of school. Through skilled assessment, case management and specialized alternative teaching methods, Nicole offers clients a wide variety of intensive, individualized interventions aimed at remediating student’s unique learning difficulties, addressing social and emotional roadblocks affecting performance and optimizing all areas of executive functioning.

Nicole Kaplan received her undergraduate degree in English Literature, with an emphasis in Education, from the University of California, Los Angeles.  She went on to earn her Masters degree in Special Education with a specialization in Educational Therapy from California State University Northridge. She is also an active member of the Association of Educational Therapists. 

For over two decades, Nicole has seen clients in a private practice setting collaborating with students, parents, teachers, learning specialists, psychologists, and neuropsychologists to create a game plan tailored to her client’s specific academic and emotional needs. She works from a strengths-based perspective, helping students overcome or compensate for learning challenges. 

In addition to her extensive academic knowledge in the Educational Therapy field, she is highly intuitive when it comes to client’s needs.  Having grown up with learning challenges of her own, being diagnosed with ADHD as an adult and having three children with three very different learning styles and emotional needs, she is able to empathize with parents,  educators and students…she wears three hats.

Nicole's ultimate goal for each student:

academic independence

TEAM empowerED

Peggy Oram

Peggy Oram, MaSpEd

Educational Therapist Specializing in Autism Spectrum Disorder + Social Skills

"If my mind can conceive it, if my heart can believe it–then I can achieve it."

Peggy grew up in the Pacific Northwest in Skagit Valley, north of Seattle. Her most memorable year of college was her junior year abroad in Florence, Italy, through Gonzaga University, where she learned to love all things Italian! She graduated from Loyola Marymount University with an undergraduate degree in Psychology. Peggy earned a Masters degree in Special Education with an emphasis in Educational Therapy from California State University, Northridge. She has been working as an educational specialist since 1995.

After completing her formal education, Peggy discovered her true source of learning comes from working with students, and that no two minds are alike. Her experience and training include various programs that support reading, comprehension, writing, auditory processing, visual processing, executive functioning, and social skills. She is a fan of Michelle Garcia Winner’s “Social Thinking” program, as it teaches how to recognize the different perspectives of those on the autism spectrum and help them navigate their social worlds. In addition to working individually with students, Peggy has led teams working with homeschool students, created individualized treatment plans, administered formal and informal assessments, and acted as a supervisor to other educational therapists. She loves researching new programs, ideas, and strategies to unlock each person’s potential!

When she is not with students, Peggy loves spending time with her husband, son, daughter, and their Labrador Retriever, Buddy. Her passions include cooking, travel, hiking, skiing, martial arts, and reading. She recently moved from Santa Monica, California, to Franklin, Tennessee, and is excited to explore her new home!

Brian Martin

Brian Martin, BA

Lindamood-Bell, Orton Gillingham specialist + Academic Testing

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”

Brian attended the University of California, Santa Barbara where he majored in Sociology. During his senior year and shortly after graduating, he worked for the Santa Barbara Mental Health Foundation providing a safe environment for adults with mental illness to socialize. Later, Brian moved to Portland, Oregon, and worked with dually diagnosed adults with autism within an animal therapy setting on a small farm creating behavior management plans.

Brian moved back to Santa Barbara to earn his teaching credential. He worked as a reading intervention specialist in the public schools. Brian was hired as the associate director and trainer for the Santa Barbara Lindamood-Bell Learning Processes center and was quickly promoted to Center Director. Brian has worked with students with learning disabilities for over the past 20 years.

Brian brings a warm dry sense of humor with him.  He enjoys working with students on their learning journey and being part of a student’s growth.

When he has free time, you will find Brian traveling (21 countries and 38 states so far), meditating, enjoying the outdoors, cooking, or trading.

Maurice Wright

Maurice Wright, BA


"No individual and no generation has had enough personal experience to ignore the vast experience of the human race that is called history."

Maurice grew up in New York and attended Columbia University. After graduating in 2009 with his B.A. in Economics and Mathematics, Maurice began tutoring students for the ACT and SAT exams throughout the Tri-State area. He has experience working with students one-on-one and in groups, both in-person and online.

Having been a student-athlete himself, Maurice understands the busy lives that many high school students have. To keep his students on track, Maurice helps them develop daily routines that instill structure and discipline. As a result, they are more consistent with their studying and practice, which leads to greater confidence and accuracy.

Maurice is currently exploring South America as he works with students around the world via Zoom. He grew up a competitive swimmer and still enjoys the water to this day. So do not be surprised if you spot your favorite vacation beach in the background during your next tutoring session! 

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Jessica Mickey, BA


"Why fit in when you were born to stand out?"

Growing up in a family of educators, Jessica has always loved kids and learning. Struggling with being a “different” learner, her parents were incredible advocates, helping ensure she had every ability to thrive. 

Jessica received her Bachelor’s degree in Child Development from California State University Northridge, where she began her 15+ year career as an educator. Whether coaching, mentoring, tutoring, teaching, or just raising her 2 daughters, Jessica utilizes her understanding of children to spark their love and curiosity for learning through a fun and practical experience. 

Jessica utilizes her calm and compassionate disposition when working with students.  She creates lasting connections with emerging young students who enjoy their time with her.  

In Jessica’s free time, she likes to be adventurous and try new things. She loves to spend time with family and friends, Travel, cook, sing, dance and really anything outdoors.


Nicolette Hoffman

Holistic Nutrionist

“The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.”

Nicolette Hoffman was born with a mind outside the conventional mold.

She was a gifted child that needed to be challenged, so being brought up in the public school system presented its limitations: frustrations in learning, poor communication with teachers, and constantly misunderstood. 

It became apparent in high school that she needed more support, and was given an ADD diagnosis and stimulant medication.

The stimulants helped short term, but after 8 years along with 2 years of antibiotic treatment, took a massive toll on her health.

She hit rock bottom with ADD, chronic strep throat, chronic fatigue, and Crohn’s disease and swapped all drugs for a fully plant based diet which changed her life forever. The impact the shift in diet had on her life sent her on a quest of knowledge and learning. 

She left her job as a chef and began working for LA based raw food, supplement and wellness company Moon Juice and began her herbal education. Now, she is a private wellness chef and nutritionist and continues her learning in San Miguel de Allende with midwives, herbalists, and wise women. 

For 6 years, she has been successfully helping others to change their lives with food and supplements alone, and believes whole heartedly that plants and a connection to Earth are the key to healing. She has helped patients with kidney disease, cancer, infertility, PCOS, ADHD, depression, shingles, auto immune disorders, chronic disease, IBS, chronic constipation, and beyond.

Nicolette takes an intuitive, wholistic approach to healing, focusing on nutrition, detoxing, trauma removal, energy balancing, solfeggio sound healing, home life, ritual developing, and self love.

In her spare time, Nicolette is able to stay focused naturally and loves reading inspiring books, recipe testing, swimming in thermal waters, and filming cooking videos to share with her community.


Molly Russell, M. Ed.


“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”

Molly received her undergraduate comprehensive degree from the Univeristy of Wisconsin – Eau Claire in Elementary Education and Learning Disabilities in 2001.  In 2006, she received her Masters in Curriculum and Instruction from Saint Mary’s of Minnesota.  

Molly has been teaching for 19 years with her first three years teaching 5th grade in Hawthorne, CA, the next 16 years teaching 7th-9th grade special education in Shakopee, MN, and currently virtually teaches grades 6-12+ special education at a public charter district in Minneapolis, MN.  

When Molly was in first grade, she decided she was going to be a teacher.  From a young age, Molly enjoyed helping others, listening to their stories, and asking questions.  Everyone has a story, and everyone deserves to be heard.  That is why Molly’s biggest emphasis with both her students and her own two children is self-advocacy.  Molly believes this is an essential skill that directly effects self-confidence and success in life; furthermore, involving students and families in the learning process and being their partner, coach, and advocate is necessary so that they can feel empowered and encouraged along the way. 

Molly lives in Shakopee, MN with her daughter, son, cat, and dog.  During her free time, she enjoys yoga, hiking, relaxing, and spending time with friends and family.  



Michelle Salater


“There is no failure except in no longer trying.”

Michelle has over 13+ years writing educational content for hundreds of companies. Whether it’s about maximizing retirement savings or purchasing insurance, Michelle’s ability lies in taking financial jargon and complex strategies and communicating in a way that everyone can understand.

However, her true passion is financial education and taking the shame out of money.

Michelle is co-owner of Stop Being Sold®, a community on a mission to show consumers how to stop being sold financial products they don’t need or don’t understand and stop being a transaction…forever.

Michelle holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Queens University of Charlotte and a Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Certificate of Entrepreneurship. In her free time, she studies blockchain technology, trades crypto assets, and spends time with her dog, Queen Noor.

Allison Folks

Allison Folks, JD

College Essay Writing Specialist

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside of you.”

Allison received her bachelor’s degree in Child and Family Studies from Portland State University.  She then went on to receive her law degree from the University of Oregon School of Law.  Allison is passionate about writing.  She finds it to be her most valuable way of expressing and conveying her thoughts and emotions.  She has years of experience tutoring and working with students developing writing skills, helping them to communicate their experiences, ideas, thoughts and stories.

  Allison believes all students, with various methods, are capable of expressing themselves through writing and inspires this belief in her students.  She enjoys supporting others in their creative process and helping them to find their voice.      

Allison lives in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.  She is bilingual in Spanish and English and loves Mexican culture.  She practices immigration law and has a business selling fresh homemade dog food.  In her free time, she loves to cook, travel, and exercise.  

We all have a story to tell, and Allison can help you tell yours. 

Lori Guglielmo

Lori Gugliemo

empowered coordinator

“Success isn’t always about ‘Greatness’, it’s about consistency. Consistent, hard work gains success. Greatness will come.

With over 15 years of management experience, Lori Guglielmo has been a key player in the development of multiple corporations. She specializes in office management for small businesses. Lori has worked for corporations such as Simpson Construction Services, BKB Design, and Wm. Keith Scannell, Scannell Corp. Lori specializes in creating unique management systems and strategies integrating the latest in-depth connectivity technology ensuring office operations run smoothly and efficiently.  Lori firmly believes in accountability and transparency throughout the organization and utilizes these skills to ensure company expansion and growth. 

Lori loves working with small businesses. Her colleagues become extended family and who doesn’t want their family to succeed? Helping businesses remain successful and grow brings Lori joy.

Lori lives in Pittsburgh, PA with her husband,  10-year-old twins, and 2 dogs.  They enjoy spending time together traveling to warmer destinations and spending time at their cabin in mountains. 

In her free time, Lori enjoys trying new restaurants with her husband, watching her son wrestle, and shopping with her daughter.  Cuddling with her dogs while binge-watching new shows are high on her list as well.

empowerED Tutors

"It is not so much tutoring that the mind needs, but clearer recongnition and better use of what it already knows."

empowerED tutors are gifted, qualified, and experienced educators with impressive track records who have a genuine commitment and enthusiasm for helping your student succeed.

We see students of all levels from kindergarten through college. Whether your student needs generalized tutoring, support in a specific subject, or  AP classes, empowerED tutors are committed to helping students fill the gaps of what they are missing in the classroom.

Students are matched with a tutor who will meet their specific needs, level and subject matter.

Isabel Kaplan – UC Berkley

Jesslyn Homidan, BA