June Employee Spotlight: Cassandra Johnson

Cassandra Johnson - Engaging Minds and Inspiring Success


 At SmartStart Education, we believe that our tutors are more than just educators – they are mentors, motivators, and a crucial part of our students’ academic journeys. One such inspiring tutor is Cassandra Johnson, who brings her unique background and enthusiasm to Torrington High School in Torrington, CT, where she works exclusively with freshmen, helping them navigate the often challenging world of algebra

A Diverse Background Fuels Passion for Education

Cassandra’s path to education is anything but conventional. With a military background and experience in the corporate world working on probiotics, Cassandra found her passion for teaching while instructing Human Biology at the community college level. Despite her science background, the opportunity to teach algebra at the high school level sparked her interest and allowed her to leverage her broad experiences in a new, impactful way. “Even though I’m tutoring in algebra, my background is in science,” Cassandra explains. “I had never worked with high schoolers in an educational capacity, but I have high schoolers of my own. This was really exciting, and I’m really, really glad I did it.”

Overcoming Challenges with Creativity and Compassion

Tutoring is not without its challenges, and Cassandra candidly shares that managing group dynamics can be one of the toughest aspects. “The hardest part is when they all get along,” she says, noting that while it’s wonderful when students become friends, it can sometimes lead to distractions. However, Cassandra’s innovative approach to tutoring helps keep her students engaged and focused.

She creatively incorporates educational games and contests to leverage their natural competitiveness. “If I put them each at a whiteboard and they each get a problem, the competitiveness comes out,” she observes. Additionally, Cassandra has designed games like a multiplication Go Fish to help reinforce basic math skills, making learning both effective and enjoyable.

Celebrating Successes, Big and Small

One of the most rewarding aspects of Cassandra’s work is witnessing her students’ moments of triumph. She recalls a particularly touching success story: “I have this student in a lower math level who got an A on a quiz and ran in to tell me she got an A. She said, ‘I’ve never gotten an A on anything.’ It felt really good to be part of that moment.”

Cassandra also finds joy in tracking her students’ progress over time. “Seeing the progression from quarter to quarter feels like wins,” she says. “It’s not that they weren’t capable before, but having a place where someone is completely focused on them makes a difference.”

Building Connections Beyond the Classroom

For Cassandra, the relationships she builds with her students extend beyond academic support. “The kids will come see me when it’s not time for their tutoring. They pop in between classes, stop by before lunch, and talk to me about what’s going on in their life,” she shares. These moments of connection are what make her feel truly effective, both as a tutor and as a human being.

Additional Passions

Outside of tutoring, Cassandra leads a busy life with her two children. She enjoys being outdoors, going for walks, and playing the piano. Her diverse interests and experiences enrich her approach to tutoring, making her a relatable and well-rounded mentor for her students.

Cassandra Johnson’s dedication, creativity, and ability to connect with her students highlight the incredible impact a passionate tutor can have. At SmartStart Education, we are proud to have educators like Cassandra who not only teach but also inspire and support their students every step of the way.