It is our belief that true academic excellence begins with confidence in the classroom

About Us

MASTERs Plus Tutoring Program is a team of certified tutors and education professionals providing customized, 1-on-1 learning assistance to K-12 students throughout Chicago’s South Suburbs.

Our Mission

We exist to accommodate the unique learning needs of every student where traditional education has failed to do so, and to imbue them with the confidence they need to succeed academically.

Our Philosophy

It is our belief that true academic excellence begins with confidence in the classroom.

Confident students become motivated to test their limits and pursue new goals. Motivated students push themselves to meet those goals and succeed academically. Successful students gain the added confidence to begin the cycle anew. Once in motion, this cycle becomes self-sustaining.

We believe that students can enter this cycle any time and from any angle. By summoning self-confidence, by finding the motivation, or by experiencing a taste of success, any student can bring this cycle to life.

Our Founder

Zena R. Smith hails from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where she grew up with five brothers in an apartment project complex located in the tough steel town neighborhoods of Pittsburgh’s Hill District. Although this environment was filled with crime, poverty, and urban despair, Zena rose above those temporary disadvantages to become one of the Hill District’s shinning success stories.

Zena began sowing the seeds of a life in education as early as the age of eight when, under the guidance of family patriarch “Centennial Samuels,” she committed herself to reading, math, and the sciences. As a result of her commitment, Zena excelled throughout elementary and high school, garnering attention from several prestigious universities across the country.

At Spelman College Zena continued to cultivate her reputation as a scholar and, in 1984, she graduated magna cum laude from Clark Atlanta University, earning a Bachelor’s in Accounting and a minor in mathematics.

Following graduation, Zena began her professional career with Big-8 accounting firm Deloitte Haskins & Sells, where she further developed her analytical skills and professional capabilities.

Zena would later return to her calling in education; however, while owning a national tutoring franchise, she became frustrated by students‘ constant struggles with rigid, cut-and-dried instructional formulas.

Because she truly wanted to make a difference in students’ lives, Zena leveraged her strong academic background and business acumen to create MASTERs Plus Tutoring Program, which opened its doors in 2011. MASTERs Plus quickly gained a reputation as a trusted provider of superior tutorial and standardized test prep services in the Homewood-Flossmoor community.

Today, MASTERs Plus offers a variety of unique and revolutionary programs that help students not only earn better grades and test scores, but also master the critical thinking and problem-solving skills they need to succeed throughout their lives.

Zena is currently working on her next educational venture in OASIS Educational Foundation, a nonprofit organization bringing academic opportunity and assistance to students of minority and low-income backgrounds.

Our Team

Jocelyn Newton-Spence

Lead Teacher

Jocelyn is a 2002 graduate of the University of Illinois. Following a two-year tenure at Beacon Therapeutic, where she taught and administered a range of K-12 curricula, she joined our staff in 2011 as a multi-subject instructor. In 2014, Jocelyn has taken on an elevated role at MASTERs Plus, becoming our Lead Teacher.

Chloe Remson

Standardized Test Prep Lead Teacher

Overseeing all aspects of MASTERs Plus’s ACT and HSPT prep programming, Chloe holds a Masters degree in Special Education and a Bachelor’s in Elementary and Special Education. She brings experience teaching students of all ages, 3–Adult.

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