Katherine Sadler is new to Katy, a local mom, a trained opera singer, and the owner of Total Advancement Tutoring. Katherine has had an in-home tutoring business for over a decade, but now the she and her family are settled into the Katy community, she has decided it is time to start a brick and mortar tutoring office. She just signed a lease for an office in old-Katy where her team will be able to see students either in office or at their homes. Katherine is knowledgeable about educational research and is passionate about how one-on-one tutoring can provide the breakthrough a child needs. So, we sat down with Katherine to learn more about her new business and how she can impact Katy’s students.
Where are you from originally and how long have you lived in the Katy area?
I was raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. In 2010, I moved to New York City where I met my husband, and we started our family. We relocated to Katy this past summer, but we had been visiting my sister in this area for a few years prior to that.
Do you have kids? What are their ages?
My husband and I have one son, Daniel, and he is 16 months old.
When did you start Total Advancement Tutoring and what was the inspiration behind it?
I have had a private in-home tutoring business for over decade, and now that we are settling in Katy, the time felt right to develop a brick and mortar tutoring office and grow the business. As an educator, I developed a style of tutoring grounded in student-centered educational research and best practices, and I wanted to develop a business where students and staff felt supported and cared for.
Tell us all about the services your offer at Total Advancement and the ages and subjects you tutor in?
Total Advancement offers academic subject tutoring for students of all ages. We have elementary level credentialed teachers on our staff who are experts in child development. Our tutors can come to you, or we can schedule appointments in our Old Katy location.
We offer custom college admissions preparation from standardized testing to essay and application writing. We can help with a small part of this important process or customize a plan to assist from start to admission. For students who want a class experience, we offer SAT and ACT prep classes and small group lessons. Our founder offers graduate school admissions prep for those looking to advance their education even further.
Have you always been in education? What did you do before starting your business?
I am a classically trained opera singer, but I have worked in test prep tutoring since 2005. It was always a wonderful supplement to my singing career. I transitioned full time into education work when I was hired at The Juilliard School in New York. I served as a writing tutor and career advisor and was promoted to Assistant Director of the Alan D. Marks Center for Career Services and Entrepreneurship to advise graduate students on their preparations for the professional world. I left that position to start my Doctorate of Education at Teachers College Columbia University with a focus in Higher Education. It has always been a special privilege to help students through big transitions – from high school to college, undergrad to graduate school, and on to careers. Providing guidance and support through these times has been one of my greatest joys and a key part of my success as a tutor.
What makes your tutoring service unique in comparison to others out there?
Our service is grounded in key educational research, and all our tutors are not just good in their respective academic fields, but trained in-house to provide expert assessment and lesson plan development for their students. Our goal is to address any immediate score or grade improvement while also providing students with increased study skills and organizational development.
What is your favorite part about tutoring youth and helping them advance their education?
I have had the amazing opportunity to observe the beautiful change in expression when a student is struggling with a concept and through careful work suddenly understands. Education is meant to provide us with the skills and knowledge we need to grow into our best selves, but when students encounter challenges, it can feel very personal. Doubt and low self esteem can easily become a part of a student’s self-identification in school, and tutors are an excellent resource for providing insights that match the student’s learning style and pace. Classroom educators do amazing work, but one-on-one tutoring provides our educators a chance to develop that rapport that can lead to wonderful breakthroughs.
How do you balance being a business owner and mama?
Balance is not easy, but tutoring provides a schedule that matches well with my husband and his landscape design work. I have the luxury of bringing Daniel to the office when I am doing administrative work, and we have a few trusted baby-sitters to help in a pinch.
Do you experience the dreaded Mom Guilt? If so, how do you handle it?
I’m in the midst of Mom Guilt as I transition into working longer hours. I was really blessed to spend most of Daniel’s first year working from home for our family businesses. I do recognize the need to begin to allow him some space to grow and participate in enrichment activities with others through day care and eventually pre-school. One funny phenomenon which I am sure I will encounter as a mom is that I have no doubt if Daniel needs a tutor, it will have to be someone other than me! It often seems challenging for students to work with their parents, and I think this may be because they don’t want to disappoint us. Struggling with a concept can feel like they have let us down. It’s one of the main emotional aspects of bringing in a tutor to help.
Advice for anyone wanting to start their own business?
Having worked in entrepreneurship education – which is also the focus of my doctoral dissertation, I probably have more advice than I have space to share! I think the most important thing for me has been to embrace the idea that I don’t have to be good at all aspects of business, and in those areas in which I’m not the strongest, it is totally ok to ask for help. My husband is a master self-promoter, and I am much more reserved, so I check in with him on ideas for marketing and promotion. I still have the confidence in my brand to run his ideas through my filter, but I don’t have to be a master tutor and a marketing genius (and an accountant, and a lawyer, and……).
Future plans and dreams for your business?
I hope the future of my business is one of continued high quality over expansion. Like many, I definitely would love to see the Total Advancement brand continue to grow, and I hope we are able to offer a positive work environment for educators and exceptional educational support to more families.
Any special, sales, or deals our Katy Moms can look out for?
We are hosting a fun event at Serene Beans, 5609 3rd St., Katy, we’re calling an SAT crash course. It’s being held on Saturday, January 25th, at 2 PM and should run 2.5 hours with a break. The fee is $25, and students receive a practice test, written material with practice problems, and expert instruction on key elements of the test and some of the handiest tutoring tricks in the field. We will host more of these for SAT and ACT, and we hope they provide a good introduction for students unsure about where to start, some key tips to improve any score, and a chance to evaluate Total Advancement and our style.
To learn more about Katherine and Total Advancement Tutoring, check out her website and follow her on social media:
Location: 5608 5th St, Katy, TX 77493