Suzanne Ferguson, of Ferguson Tutoring, is committed to equipping students with all of the tools in the toolbox to ensure that they get where they need to go. Because her approach emphasizes communication and individuality, there’s no student who won't benefit from the new insights, techniques, and strategies she provides. Learn more below!
Every business has a story, tell us yours.
I tutored in high school and in college – always loved teaching. After college I took a job teaching calculus at a boarding school in Wisconsin, then taught in St. Paul. While I still loved teaching, school administration didn't sit well with me. So I tutored. I kept a business office day job for consistency, which is where I learned basic accounting. I added on teaching for Kaplan, which is where I first learned about test prep.
My client base grew and grew and I solidified my connections with local high schools. When I needed to take a maternity leave with the birth of my first child, I called on a math teacher friend to work with my students. I got so many new clients while on leave that I kept him on as a contractor and soon I had multiple tutors working for me as independent contractors. Contractors became employees, tutoring ideas became a philosophy and curriculum began to write itself. It was time to unify my thoughts and process, develop, and grow into a true company. Here I am. Growing.
You were chosen as this month’s Milestone Client. Tell us about your Milestone achievements.
I sought out OffiCenters because I wanted to offer classes. My ACT philosophy and curriculum had developed to the point that I was ready to offer it in a small group setting and needed the space to do so. When I signed my contract 16 and a half months ago I had two kids enrolled in my class and ran it with off-the-cuff handouts. I'm now on my seventh full class, taught with a 70-page workbook that I wrote. I'm looking ahead to a summer schedule where we'll be offering over twenty different options for summer classes and supplements. I'll roll out a new website in March, and I'm hoping to train new teachers this summer to add to the four incredible tutors I currently have on staff.
No one likes to brag about their business, but if you HAD TO . . .
No one approaches individual instruction the way I do. People assume that because tutoring is individual, that is sufficient for it to be better. What they miss, is that tutoring provides the unique opportunity to go beyond simply providing an individual learning space for the academic material. It provides the opportunity to delve deeper into how the student learns. It provides the opportunity to help the student better understand the specific impediments he or she might have to learning and to brainstorm all the possible ways of overcoming them, all within the context of the specific lesson the student is working on at the moment. Because tackling habit, behavior, weakness, and strength is ALWAYS easier and clearer when put into a relevant context.
I especially love working with the students that we do. Specializing in high school math, science, and test prep, we often get very strong students who may have never had to study in the past. I love helping them to push beyond the limits of what they thought possible, when other programs were unable to help them make any progress.
We learn from our mistakes, especially in business. Give us some words of wisdom.
I have learned two things this year. One, until there is ample room in your cash flow, don't hire out a job you can complete yourself. Two, if you are in growth mode, if you seek money (loan, investment) and don't get the full amount you sought, reconsider your growth before accepting any money.
Share the best advice you ever received.
Never judge. You have no idea the motivations of the other person, don't try to guess, just be kind.
Describe your perfect day off.
Really? Sleep, clean my house. Cook. Play with my kids. Watch TV with my husband. Sleep. (my kids are 19 months, 3.5 years, 5 years)
What might someone be surprised to know about you?
I feel like I'm fairly transparent. Opinionated. Nerdy. Oh, I met my husband on craigslist. Replied to his personal ad while drunk. We've been married 10 years.
Together we are stronger. Tell us something you like about being our client.
I love the people. And this is boring and such, but I LOVE the natural light in the space. And, and maybe I shouldn't share this, but I love how on the weekends, which is when I use the space the most, my students think the ENTIRE Minnetonka space is mine 🙂
If you could work anywhere under the sun, where would you choose?
Honestly, Minnetonka. Except without the locked doors on the weekend. And with Kelsey there. (on the weekends)
How can people CONNECT with you?