Our Team


Evelyn Giovine

Regents Prep

B.A. Princeton University, MFA Yale School of Drama

Evelyn graduated from Princeton University with an AB (BA) in English with a focus in Slavic Studies and a Certificate in Theater. After graduating from Princeton, Evelyn went on to earn her MFA in acting from Yale School of Drama. Since graduating, she has been tutoring students primarily in writing and reading comprehension and teaching or assistant teaching at institutions such as Yale University, The New School, and Stella Adler. She also has been working professionally as an actor in TV shows on FOX, CBS, Showtime, and Apple TV+.

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Emily Rifkin

HS Academics, Test Prep

B.A. Carleton College

Emily Rifkin has educated and coached students for over a decade. Her past work settings include Minneapolis Public Schools, an environmental education center in Massachusetts, and a middle school in the south of France. She is experienced in college coaching, academic support, and test preparation. She enjoys the challenge of a test or difficult class and loves sharing test-taking strategies and tips to help build students’ confidence and improve their scores. Her students report that she is “nice” and “a good listener.” She has a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Anthropology from Carleton College.

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Bettina Briccetti

HS Academics

B.A. Wagner College, M.Ed. University of Buffalo

Bettina graduated from Wagner College with degrees in Music and Childhood and Special Education, and then earned a Master of Education in Music Education from the University at Buffalo. In her nine years of teaching, she has worked with children grades K-8 as a music teacher, reading teacher, and assistant teacher in many other subjects. Bettina currently teaches middle school music in Harlem, and loves also tutoring students in one-on-one and small-group settings to help them reach their full potential.

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Artur Balanovsky

Executive Function, HS Academics, MS Academics, Regents Prep, Special Education, Writing

B.A. Fordham University on Dean's List, M.A. in Teaching with Sp.Ed Dual Certification Relay GSE

Artur graduated from Fordham University with a Bachelor's Degree in Communications and Sociology, and later from Relay Graduate School of Education with a Master’s in Art of Teaching for Special Education 7-12, Generalist 5-9. He has been a Special Education Teacher with the DOE for 5 years. In that time, he has worked with high school students from 9th-12th grade, teaching ELA, Global, US History, Living Environment, Environmental Science, and Algebra. He also has experience preparing students for state and local exams, including the SATs and Regents exams. Artur has worked in whole-class, small-group, and one-on-one settings with students to improve their literacy, math, organization, time management and executive functioning skills. He now enjoys supporting students in his role as a Special Education teacher and as a tutor!

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Amy Mueller

Executive Function, HS Academics, LS Academics

B.A. Rutgers University, M.A. in Teaching with Sp.Ed Dual Certification Relay GSE, graduated with distinction

After college, Amy joined Teach for America and spent the next three years teaching second grade and kindergarten in Brooklyn. During this time, Amy earned her Masters of Art in Teaching from the Relay Graduate School of Education with a dual degree in Special Education. Amy then began law school and plans to pursue a career in education law and policy. As she studies law, she enjoys staying connected to teaching through tutoring, and has been with Smart City Tutors since February of 2020. She has worked with students in various academic subjects, test preparation, and executive functioning.

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Andrew Giurleo

Executive Function, MS Academics

B.A. Brown University

Andrew was born and raised in Brooklyn and then went on to study at Brown University, where he concentrated in Italian Studies and Music. Since 2016, Andrew has tutored students in a multitude of subjects, including test prep (SAT, ACT, ISEE, SSAT, SHSAT), executive functioning, and general academics. Andrew has now worked with hundreds of students, helping them improve grades and test scores and gain confidence in the classroom and beyond. Outside of traditional academic subjects and test prep, Andrew has also led several courses in songwriting and has taught Italian classes. When he’s not tutoring, you can find him singing at open mics, trying new recipes, and running obstacle races.

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Marwa El-Turky


B.A. Temple University, Magna Cum Laude; M.S. in Global Politics from London School of Economics; M.A. in French Language and Secondary Education from CUNY Brooklyn College

Marwa has taught in New York City for ten years, and is currently teaching Levels I and II high school French, which incorporates French and Francophone language, culture, and history. Marwa has also taught classes in Arabic and Global History. She has lived in both France and Egypt. When she’s not teaching, she enjoys leading an after-school Yoga and Meditation Program.

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Lauren Gruffi

HS Academics, MS Academics

BA Dartmouth College with Citations for Academic Excellence, M.D. candidate Suny Downstate College of Medicine

Lauren is currently a 4th year medical student at SUNY Downstate College of Medicine. She will be pursuing a residency in Emergency Medicine next year. She attended Dartmouth College for undergraduate studies, where she majored in Neuroscience and minored in Anthropology. She has experience tutoring middle, high school, and college-aged students in a variety of subjects and for standardized exams including the Regents, SAT, ACT, & MCAT.

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Madeleine Joyce

HS Academics, ISEE Prep, LS Academics, MS Academics, SAT/ACT Test Prep, Writing

B.A. Vasser College

Madeleine has tutored for over a decade in a range of subjects for students ages 8 to 18. She tutors writing, reading, social studies, math and Spanish and particularly loves to nerd out over grammar with her pupils. She has helped students improve their standardized test scores—including the SAT/ACT—by hundreds of points by working with each kids’ unique learning style, centering their talents and goals and cheerleading them throughout the whole journey. She is creative, inspiring and warm.

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Shaun Johnson


B.A. Suny Albany, M.Ed. Dowling College, studied Spanish at the AIP Language Institute (Valencia, Spain) & Instituto International de Madrid

Shaun has been teaching Spanish for over ten years at Scarsdale schools. He has worked with students of all levels of Spanish and currently teaches Spanish in a grades two through five program. Along with his expertise in Spanish, Shaun has also worked closely with the Google for Education team and is a Google Certified Innovator, completing his certification in Mexico City in 2014. Shaun has lived and studied Spanish in Valencia and Madrid, and continues to travel around the Spanish-speaking world to gain new insights and cultural perspectives into the language.

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Grace Kim

HS Academics, Language, MS Academics, SAT/ACT Test Prep, Writing

B.A. Amherst College

Grace joined Smart City Tutors in December 2020. She brings eight years of tutoring and teaching experience with students of all ages. She has led SAT Reading and Writing classes, developed SAT II Prep curricula, tutored individuals in math, science, and English, and taught elective classes such as Introduction to Ovid and Shakespeare. She works as an e-Learning content developer, writing and editing online educational material. Her passion for language and educational equity inform her work both on and off the clock.

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Lisa Zheutlin

ISEE Prep, MS Academics, SAT/ACT Test Prep, Test Prep, Writing

BA with Honors Amherst College

Lisa’s love of working with students began when she worked as a camp counselor, supporting and teaching students ages 6 to 17. Since then, Lisa has graduated with honors from Amherst College, where she studied Gender Studies and Studio Art, edited several student publications, assisted in research, and was as the president of the Reproductive Justice Alliance. During and after college, Lisa continued to support students, working as a teaching assistant, where she built a curriculum for English language learners, and volunteering as a tutor for a variety of subjects and tests for multiple non-profits. Lisa currently works as a tutor, a freelance writer, and an after-school educator at a Brooklyn-based non-profit. She is passionate about helping students meet their goals and sharing her love of learning.

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Alex Appel

HS Academics, MS Academics, SAT/ACT Test Prep

B.M. University of Miami, M.M. Percussion Performance NYU

Alex is a native New Yorker who brings the perfect combination of left and right brain to tutoring through his strong backgrounds in math and music. Alex studied both subjects in college, receiving a Bachelor of Music and a minor in mathematics from the University of Miami, and he continued his education at New York University, where he earned his Master of Music. Since then, Alex has taught in public schools around New York, working with students in elementary school all the way through high school. In addition to teaching music in the classroom, Alex also tutors upper level math, helping high school and college students prepare for tests and understand homework assignments while developing a love of the subject. Alex is passionate about not only helping students succeed, but also helping them enjoy the learning process along the way.

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Meg Lisle

ISEE Prep, LS Academics, MS Academics, Reading

B.S. University of Maryland, M.Ed. Vanderbilt University, Orton-Gillingham Training

Meg holds a bachelor's degree in Elementary Education from the University of Maryland and a Master's Degree in Special Education from Vanderbilt University. Meg is currently a NYC Department of Education special education teacher in an Integrated Co-Teaching classroom for students grades K-3 and 6th, and has taught upper elementary in the past. In addition to teaching, Meg has been tutoring students individually for the past eight years, and particularly enjoys helping struggling readers find success in school and foster a lifelong love of learning. When she tutors reading students, Meg uses the Orton-Gillingham approach.

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Administrative Team

Ty Cotton

Manager of Operations

Ty James Cotton reviews, designs, and oversees operating systems for Smart City Kids, including SalesForce and website design and maintenance, as well as general and social media outreach. His goal is to help streamline procedures, enabling the company to operate and function as efficiently and smoothly as possible. Ty interfaces with all SCK employees to understand the roles and responsibilities of each so that he can facilitate smooth sailing for all. He is deeply committed to serving a company dedicated to quality education.

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Angela Zheng

Data & Design Specialist


Angela manages all things design for Smart City Tutors. She provides support by managing the company database and SalesForce, and overseeing website design and maintenance.

Angela has a Bachelor’s degree in Architecture, and uses her design skills to format Smart City Tutors’ outward content, including social media and program documents. Her fulfillment rests in the knowledge that her work serves students as they strive to reach their full academic potential.

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Leila Smiley

Director of Education and Operations


B.A. Tufts University, M.A. in Teaching Relay GSE

Leila began her journey in education while studying sociology at Tufts University. There, she volunteered as a tutor working with high school students as she learned about education policy in her classes. Immediately after graduation, Leila joined Teach for America, where she taught kindergarten in Brooklyn while also earning her Master’s degree in Elementary Education from Relay Graduate School of Education. After finishing her commitment to Teach for America, Leila continued teaching in the second grade, where she specialized in providing reading and math instruction to children who began the year below grade level. Leila particularly enjoyed working with children in small groups, where she could tailor instruction and resources to support the unique needs of her individual students. She soon discovered that her passion for small-group instruction translated to a love of tutoring.

In 2021, she began tutoring students of all ages in academic subjects and test preparation through Smart City Tutors, and in 2022, she became the Smart City Tutors Program Manager. In her current role, Leila uses all she learned in her teaching experience to grow a quality tutoring program, support tutors in their roles, and ensure that all children working with Smart City Tutors are receiving the support they need to reach their full potential.

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Roxana Reid

Founder & CEO

Roxana Reid is the Founding Director of Smart City Kids and Smart City Tutors. Born in Panama, she migrated to New York City as a child and was educated in New York City Schools at every level. Nationally sought for her expertise in education related topics, her depth of understanding of education systems and their nuanced impact on the child and family, Roxana is adept at homing in on best practices for helping families.

Smart City Kids is the first and only continuing education consulting education service in the market place to offer comprehensive education services in the Nursery – College admissions space. Through her leadership and vision, Roxana created the blue print that has become the industry standard for all other services in the market today.

The in-depth, comprehensive approach to educational consulting Roxana has created is one that guides families and students to self-actualize through their search for just-right educational fit. She and her team of advisors – all former admissions directors, nursery school directors, placement directors, and teachers – work closely with each family to demystify the admissions process, set realistic goals in terms of seeing children as they are, and strategize the best targets. Roxana knows that true success is about finding the right match. In fact, over 98% of all Smart City Kids full-service families are admitted to their first-choice school. Smart City Kids has served the New York area for longer than any other education advisory company. It is the GO-TO organization for schools, non-profit organizations, corporations, and agencies serving children and families looking for in-depth advice on nursery to college admissions. It is the premiere consultant firm where heart meets brain.

Under Roxana’s leadership, Smart City Kids operates as the sole educational advising firm for Memorial Sloan Kettering, New York Law School, New York City’s Speyer School for gifted learners, Jewish Community Project Nursery in Tribeca, and First Presbyterian Nursery School. Roxana served on the education division board of Manhattan Media for 20 years, which highlights great schools from Nursery school through High School, public and private. She has served or currently serves as Placement Consultant, supporting exmissions processes for over twenty top New York City nursery schools and Independent Schools. She served as Director of Placement at the JCC Nursery school where she helped to place scores of students into independent private and public schools in Manhattan. In 2016, when the Mandell School moved to close its doors, Roxana led Smart City Kids in supporting the school’s closure, helping to transition 150 students across nearly 115 private, boarding, and public schools. Smart City Kids’ corporate clients include BlackRock, Cerberus Capital Management, GCM Grosvenor, Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP, and UBS.

Roxana has served on the Board of Trustees at Manhattan’s Friends Seminary, where she has also served as Chair of the Admissions/Financial Aid Committee, the Executive Committee, and the Diversity Committee of the Board. For 12 years, Roxana led Smart City Kids as the sole admissions consulting group to serve the entire New York University campus providing support to faculty, administrators, recruits, and NYU students in search of school placement for their children. She formerly served as an adjunct professor at NYU’s School of Continuing Education and Professional studies in the Career Education and Life Planning Department, where she taught educational policies. She was appointed to the task force responding to recommendations outlined by the visiting committee of the New York State Association of Independent Schools.

Beyond her significant expertise in the world of School Admissions, Roxana has both a Law Degree and a Master’s Degree in Social Work from Columbia University, where she majored in School Based Services for Children and Families. She is committed to the vision of helping students find the most ideal home. A parent of two children, Roxana is very active in her adult children’s lives. This lifelong New Yorker has been educated at every level by the NYC school system.

Roxana is a proud part of the following organizations:

  • National Association of Independent School
  • Independent Educational Consultants Association
  • National Association for College Admission Counseling
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