April Employee Spotlight: Lloren Jones and Rita Yates

The Dynamic Due of Education

picture of tutor, Lloren jones
Picture of tutor, Rita Yates

In the bustling halls of the Achievement Academy in Baltimore, two remarkable educators stand out not only for their dedication but for the impact they’ve made on their students’ lives. Meet Lloren Jones and Rita Yates, the dynamic duo of education at SmartStart Education, LLC, whose passion for teaching and unwavering commitment to their students have earned them recognition as highlight tutors.

Jones, with a background in finance and a wealth of life experiences, brings a unique perspective to her role. Having walked the same streets and faced similar challenges as her students, Jones is deeply rooted in her community. “I love giving back to the community that I came from,” she says, reflecting on her journey from being a supervisor for the US Census to her current role as a tutor and substitute teacher primarily for high school students.


Yates, on the other hand, embarked on her educational journey in 2000, working with children in various capacities, including those with special needs. With a Bachelor’s in Business Administration and a Master’s in Urban Education, Yates brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to her role, further enriched by her personal experiences as a mother and a proud Baltimorean.


Together, Jones and Yates form a formidable team, leveraging their diverse backgrounds and expertise to create a welcoming and supportive environment for their students. Their approach to tutoring goes beyond academics; it’s about building relationships and meeting the diverse needs of each student. “We cater to all, no matter what their background is. We have a warm environment for them,” says Jones, emphasizing the importance of inclusivity and personalized support. From utilizing technology and educational resources provided by Baltimore City to understanding students’ preferences and beliefs, Jones and Yates leave no stone unturned in their quest to ensure every student feels valued and supported.


But their impact extends far beyond the classroom. Through their genuine care and dedication, Jones and Yates have witnessed remarkable transformations in their students, from improved behavior and peer relationships to increased attendance and academic performance.


“We’ve definitely seen a lot of change in their behavior. They’ve learned a lot as well,” shares Yates, reflecting on the profound impact of their efforts. By fostering a supportive and nurturing environment, complete with incentives like snacks and shared meals, Jones and Yates have created a space where students feel motivated and empowered to excel.


For Jones and Yates, success isn’t measured solely by test scores but by the growth they witness in their students every day. Whether it’s a student resolving conflicts peacefully or showing up consistently for tutoring sessions, Jones and Yates celebrate every milestone, no matter how small.

“By us having the actual information in front of us, we’re able to communicate with them more effectively and guide them towards improvement,” explains Yates, highlighting their data-driven approach to tracking progress and providing targeted support.


Outside the classroom, Jones finds joy in cosmetology and running, while Yates enjoys shopping, watching movies, and spending time with her family, including her daughter and her grandchildren. Despite their diverse interests, both educators share a common passion for making a difference in the lives of their students, both inside and outside the classroom.


As the heartbeat of SmartStart Education, Lloren Jones and Rita Yates embody the spirit of dedication, compassion, and excellence. Their unwavering commitment to their students and their innovative approach to education serve as an inspiration to educators everywhere, proving that with passion and perseverance, anything is possible.

Students learning at desk