About Us

Our Team

Our Story

Academic Approach is an organization of educators

Founded in 2001 by Matthew Pietrafetta, Ph.D., Academic Approach differentiates its instruction through a unique brand of skills-based test preparation™. While teaching college freshmen at Columbia University in New York City and tutoring high school students preparing for the SAT and ACT, Pietrafetta developed a rigorous instructional commitment not only to raising his students’ test scores but also to developing their vital college-readiness skills.

What Makes Academic Approach Different?

Our Culture

Since 2001, Academic Approach has focused on two goals:

  1. Becoming the very best at raising test scores by providing high-impact, customized, academically rigorous test preparation that “teaches beyond the test”.
  2. Reaching and teaching a wide range of students through our one-on-one tutoring and school-based programs by providing high-impact, customized, innovative services, products, and partnerships.

Some might see tension in this work: test prep vs. rigorous academic enrichment; one-on-one instruction vs. school-based programming; customization vs. standardization; personalized instruction vs. designing towards an average student; rapid innovation vs. long-term research & development.

Academic Approach team members, however, have a different mindset: we see that our mission presents opportunities to grow, learn, think critically, problem-solve flexibly, and create high-impact solutions.

We work closely with parents, educators, and school systems to rethink the role of test preparation within education.

We strive to:

Customize and personalize our instruction to each student to provide the highest growth in student achievement

Support and enhance the good work teachers perform every day in the classroom by providing high-quality instruction and resources

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Executive Leadership:

Matthew Pietrafetta

Executive Leadership| One-On-One Tutoring

Matthew Pietrafetta founded Academic Approach in 2001 and currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer.…

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Varun Aggarwal

Executive Leadership| Resource Management

Varun Aggarwal currently serves as the Vice President of Operations. In this role, Varun leads…

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Brad Kessler

Executive Leadership| Resource Management

Bradley Kessler serves as Chief Strategy Officer and General Counsel. In this role, Bradley participates…

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Department of Education:

Instructor Management

Sarah Burrichter

Department of Education | Instructor Management

Sarah Burrichter serves as an Instructional Manager for School Programs. In this role, Sarah provides…

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Brian Forster

Department of Education | Instructor Management

Brian Forster has worked at Academic Approach since 2015, initially as a one-on-one tutor and…

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Katie Hammen

Department of Education | Instructor Management

Katie Hammen currently serves as the Associate Director of One-on-One Tutoring. In this role, Katie…

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Jeremy Palmer

Department of Education | Instructor Management

Jeremy Palmer currently serves as a Director of One-on-One Tutoring. Since joining the team in…

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Department of Education:

Curriculum

Amanda Aisen

Curriculum | Department of Education

Amanda Aisen has worked with Academic Approach since 2010. After serving as an Instructor and…

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Hayley Notter

Curriculum | Department of Education

Hayley Notter joined Academic Approach in 2015 as a Curriculum Developer Team Lead and currently…

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TJ Sassorossi

Curriculum | Department of Education

TJ Sassorossi currently serves as the Director of Curriculum and Assessment. In this position, TJ…

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East Coast Team:

Dan Josephson

East Coast Team | School Partnerships

Dan Josephson currently serves as the Associate Manager of Operations. In this role, Dan helps…

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Brian Kirchner

East Coast Team | One-On-One Tutoring

Brian Kirchner joined Academic Approach in 2018 and currently serves as the Lead Director of…

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Ian Milliken

East Coast Team | One-On-One Tutoring

Ian Milliken is an Associate Director of One-on-One Tutoring in New York City. He currently…

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Meet the Team

We are

Innovators

We understand that all great things start with a groundbreaking idea/strategy and are followed with diligent and collaborative execution and insight.

Explorers

We relentlessly pursue the knowledge needed to shape and influence student and school performance.

Problem-Solvers

We are dedicated to finding concrete and actionable solutions to the education challenges facing students. We embrace difficulties with optimism and teamwork.

Organizers

We prioritize all our activities around what’s best for students and schools and organize our activities to turn great ideas into reality.