About Sam

About Sam

Savvy Young Writers Story – Watch the video on Vimeo

My promise to parents is to walk as a trailblazer for your child’s gifts and self-expression so that they can step forward more easily into their best, and happiest, selves. I take a stand for their brilliance and help them feel safe, inspired, and hopeful.

My Story: The Gift of Writing Well

When I was growing up, my father provided hours of painstaking attention to each writing assignment I turned in to school, editing for word choice, flow, and mechanics. At the time, it was just what we did — draft after draft, late into the night, year after year. It was not until college that I began to comprehend the gift I had received. Even at one of the country’s top universities, I was at a significant advantage because I could sit down and write with relative ease and enjoyment. I watched how many doors that opened for me in college and beyond.

My father’s instruction existed within a mindful framework that valued the life of ideas and writing. I grew up surrounded by a small but vibrant writers’ community on the Monterey Peninsula. In middle school, I entered the young writers program at the local library, receiving tutelage from local writers.

Later, I attended a private high school that was firmly steeped in a liberal arts philosophy. Caring about ideas, history, and writing was fostered by amazing teachers. The experience provided me with a pivotal springboard into a sense of inner strength and independence that I carried with me into adulthood. The experience was formative, and unique. Even in college I did not receive this level of nurturing of the life of the mind.

Through these experiences, I developed into a writer who could express herself with strength and ease. I commanded these skills in college and later on in my career as an economic consultant at litigation consulting firms. (Having the ‘soft’ skills to effectively explain quantitative frameworks to not-so-quantitative audiences is a big deal. Writing skills make a difference everywhere.)

But importantly, I also learned to use writing as a tool to reinvent myself during transitions and as a way to garner support from others for new ideas. This gave me the ability to unite my inner world with my outer achievements — all long the way. That’s a pretty big gift.

The Savvy Young Writers Story

In 2002, I began tutoring an enthusiastic seventh grader who was one-to-two levels below grade level in his writing skills. I was in the midst of a career change from education to economic consulting but wanted to keep working with students. I used my experience from teaching in the Sunnyvale School District and studying at the UC Davis teacher credential program to create an enrichment program to build my young student’s skills. Within a year he reached grade level; in two years he climbed beyond. By his senior year, he was a strong and confident writer, earning A’s in honors English and writing essays with confidence for summer internships and for his college applications. (He recently graduated from UC San Diego.)

Soon other students came to me by referral, and Savvy Young Writers was born. Now each week I engage in focused and lively conversation with my students. We work hard and have fun. My students have come from schools across the Peninsula, including The Menlo School, Harker, Jordan Middle, JLS, Terman, Gunn High School, PALY, Harker, Lyndbrook, Monta Vista, as well as schools from San Francisco and Marin counties. Students from across the U.S. and world, including Taiwan, China, South Korea, Norway, Switzerland, and France, have traveled to me, or arranged for me to travel to them, to work with them.

Sam’s Background

Education

Professional

Before I made Savvy Young Writers a full-time business in 2009, I worked as a financial analyst. For five years, I worked at economic consulting firms (Charles Rivers Associates and LitiNomics), researching and analyzing cases to determine financial damages of antitrust and intellectual property suits. I analyzed cases involving high tech giants such as Intel, Hewlett-Packard, Apple, Oracle, and others. I worked with nationally recognized experts in the fields of economics and finance.

Other Related Professional Development as an Educator

  • Courage to Teach program, quarterly retreats on mindfulness and teaching founded by Parker Palmer. Four years of training from 2005 – 2009.
  • Design-thinking training at Nueva School, Nueva Gifted Conference 2009 and 2011, and related follow-up training at Stanford University’s Design School
  • Volunteer, Menlo-Atheron High School Challenge Day

Other influences in my development as an educator include Parker Palmer, David Whyte, Donald Murray, M. C. Richards, and Structured Liberal Education (SLE) at Stanford.

More questions? Feel free to get in touch.