PIVOT TUTORS is a rigorous and high level academic tutoring and test preparation center. We aim to challenge our students to help them reach their highest academic potential. Our teachers are charismatic, experienced, and experts in their fields, and we help students not only master the subject material, but show them how to study independently. We work with students of all different academic backgrounds, and as long as students are hardworking, there is no doubting their success.
Our mission is to creates a learning community of intellectually passionate students and teachers. We teach our students the knowledge and skills to help them become academically competitive and self-assured learners. What’s more, our mission is to provide our students with the foundation to successfully pursue any career they are intrigued by, instead of through subject avoidance. Our teaching style pushes students to stretch themselves, and become more adaptable learners who are capable, creative, and analytical problem solvers.
Our goal for every student is to build a foundation of steel in the subjects of mathematics, critical reading, analytical writing, and the sciences. By having a strong foundation in these essential subjects students will be academically competitive and open to every career option. We strive to help our students learn the both the class content and study skills they need to earn top grades and prepare them to be successful in college.
Shayda Moshirvaziri, PhD., Founder and CEO
Shayda has over 10 years of teaching and tutoring experience with all levels of mathematics and science for middle school, high school and college level students. She has a passion for teaching young students, and has taught undergraduate courses at UCSD including, Introduction to Bioengineering, Human Physiology, and Computer Science. She developed an ACT bootcamp course for a private high school in San Diego, and has taught as a premier level ACT and SAT instructor for different test prep centers before starting Pivot Tutors.
Shayda graduated summa cum laude from UCLA with a bachelors degree in Electrical Engineering and a minor in Biomedical Engineering in 2003. She was accepted at MIT, John Hopkins University, Stanford, and UCSD for PhD programs in Electrical Engineering and Bioengineering on full fellowship. She chose to attend UCSD for graduate school and received her Masters and Doctorate in Bioengineering in 2007 and 2010, respectively. She has served in the capacity as the Senior Bioengineer at Applied Medical, Bioengineering Innovation Grant Writer at Tomnod, Inc, and as a Graduate Research Scientist at UCSD.
Meggie Morris, PhD., Head of Humanities, ACT and SAT English Tutoring, English & Writing, History, College Essays, Spanish and French Instructor
Meggie Morris brings over a decade of tutoring and teaching experience and a sincere passion to help students achieve their best work at all levels. As a native of San Diego, Meggie has extensive knowledge of local school courses and schedules, while also having a unique perspective from her previous work as a tutor and teacher in other regions, such as Virginia and New York. Meggie specializes in teaching the humanities and foreign languages, including History, Art History, Literature, Writing, Reading Comprehension, Spanish, and French. In recent years, she has worked as a curriculum developer and teacher for test prep subjects, including the old and new SAT, the ACT, and SAT Subject Tests. Additionally, Meggie serves as a College Counselor and College Application Coach for families in Southern California, assisting students in creating thoughtful college lists, understanding the admissions landscape and applications processes, and completing application essays.
Before returning to San Diego, Meggie received a BA in International Relations, History, and Spanish at the University of Richmond in Virginia, and then both an MA and a PhD in Art History from the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University in New York City. She continues to work as an independent scholar, conducting international research and publishing articles and chapters in both English and Spanish publications. Meggie is currently completing a book-length work, and managing to find time for lots of yoga and beach hikes as well!
Igor Pontual, M.S., Head of Mathematics, ACT, SAT, & All Levels of Mathematics
Igor holds a B.S. in Accounting and a M.S. in Statistics from SDSU. Igor has worked with many students to help them reach top marks in math classes ranging from Algebra to AP Calculus. He also has experience developing standardized test preparation curriculum and teaching the New SAT, ACT and SAT subject tests. Igor past experience included working as an accountant at a credit union, however his true passion always revolved around teaching and helping students which is what he does today.
Igor loves to spend his free time taking his Dachshund, Marty McFly and Golden Doodle, Peter Parker on road trips up the West Coast.
Lianna Carrigan, B.A., Program Coordinator and Office Manager
Lianna started her teaching career in Austin, TX teaching English (Honors, and Pre-AP), ESOL, and Reading to grades 8-11. She then moved to Oak Park, IL to work as Educational Director and Teacher at a Huntington Learning Center, tutoring ACT students, but also focusing on curriculum development to improve reading comprehension, fluency, and literacy skills. She has also worked as an AP Language and Composition teacher at a charter high school in Chicago, IL. She has spent years working with students and families to achieve the best results for students in the classroom and beyond.
Lianna has her Bachelor's in English from Barnard College-Columbia University, and a Post-baccalaureate Teaching Certificate from The University of Texas at Austin. She also holds teaching licenses in 2 (soon to be 3!) states. When not at Pivot, Lianna enjoys reading, writing, hanging out with her husband and their dog, and spending time in the ocean.
Maggie Thach Morshed, M.F.A., SAT and ACT English & Writing Instructor
Maggie Thach Morshed is a journalist whose byline has appeared in The San Francisco Chronicle, The Fresno Bee, The Sacramento Bee and other news outlets across the country. She was also a sports reporter at The Salt Lake Tribune, the largest newspaper in Utah, where she became an award-winning journalist.
Since leaving the newspaper industry, she has received a master’s in Fine Arts in Creative Nonfiction from the University of California at Riverside and has become a teacher and tutor in many regions in Southern California, and now at Pivot Tutors. Maggie specializes in teaching the New SAT and ACT, and helping students with reading comprehension, critical writing, and literature.
She is also a Peace Writer at the Kroc Institute of Peace and Justice at the University of San Diego.
Robert Wrightson, B.S., ACT, SAT, Mathematics, and Biology Instructor
Rob has a passion for education, and over seven years of direct tutoring and teaching experience. His excitement for working with students is clear: you will always find a smile on his face before, during, and after work each day.
Rob works with students on the ACT and SAT exams, mathematics, middle school sciences, and all levels of Biology (AP/Honors). He graduated from the University of North Florida (UNF) in 2014 with a Bachelor’s degree in Middle Grades Math and Science Education and also holds a Florida Teaching Certification. Before moving to San Diego, Rob was the Head of Mathematics at a prestigious Florida tutoring center, where he designed individualized math and science programs for a wide range of students from various educational backgrounds. His role as a department head allowed him to develop curriculum and lead SAT, ACT, and math prep camps. He has also spent time as a public school teacher in Florida for eighth grade students in Honors Pre-Algebra, Honors Algebra 1, and Honors Geometry.
One of his main priorities in life is to have a positive impact on as many people’s lives as possible, and this has only been exemplified through his education career. As a new San Diegan, he is thrilled to have the opportunity to instruct and mentor San Diego’s best and brightest. Outside of helping San Diego’s youth achieve their goals academically, Rob enjoys being in the ocean, hiking, writing, drawing, and reading.
Jake Robins, MFin Candidate, M.S. and B.A., Mathematics and Physics Instructor
Jake started his teaching career while still in school, working as a teaching assistant while an undergraduate and master's student at the University of Pennsylvania. He then went on to pursue graduate work in mathematics at UCSD, which led him to the Rady School of Management, where he is now on his way to a Master's in Finance. He has worked as a private tutor, teaching all levels of mathematics and physics to students in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and California.
Now at Pivot Tutors, Jake enjoys teaching all levels of mathematics, especially the higher level Calculus and Physics courses. He works with many of Pivot's academic tutoring students to help them gain deeper understandings of the their subjects, and to help them excel in topics that may be new or unfamiliar to them. In his free time, when not a Pivot or busy studying for his own tests, he enjoys spending time with his dog and finding new ways to learn!
Michael Morshed. M.F.A., SAT and ACT English, Reading, and Writing Instructor
Michael started his teaching career in South Korea’s top academies, where he helped students learn academic English and the literature and writing skills they needed to succeed at top US universities for over 8 years. He has taught college-level composition, English language acquisition courses, has been a curriculum developer for college level English Composition. He also teaches English/Reading/Writing for SAT and ACT, and is a certified TOEFL instructor.
Michael currently teaches the undergraduate writing course at UCSD, along with teaching San Diego's brightest SAT and ACT, helping them reach their goals.
Michael earned a master’s degree in Creative Writing from UC Riverside, and his bachelor's in English Literature from University of New Hampshire. He writes novels and has a soccer blog.
Amber Knight is passionate about helping students of all ages develop an interest in the humanities, strengthen their writing, and build the critical thinking skills that are essential to their success in college and beyond. For the last five years, Amber has worked as a private tutor for middle school and high school students in San Diego county, offering tutoring in all AP history subjects, AP Language and Composition, AP Latin, and a variety of English courses. In addition to tutoring academic subjects, she has also guided high school students from several schools in San Diego through the college application essay writing process.
Amber recently graduated summa cum laude from UCSD, receiving a B.A. in History and Classical Studies. During her undergraduate career, she specialized in Ancient and European history and dedicated several years to learning and translating Classical Latin, Homeric Greek, and Italian. As an aspiring author and educator, Amber aimed to build a strong foundation in teaching writing while attending UCSD through teaching assistant positions and extensive training in tutoring pedagogy. Amber had the opportunity to work at UCSD’s Writing and Critical Expression Hub as a peer writing mentor for three years while also working as a writing tutor for UCSD’s Triton Edge summer program, Making of the Modern World program, and Analytical Writing Program.
Amber is currently considering graduate school programs in education and curriculum design, but before embarking on the next step of her own education, she is devoted to helping San Diego’s brightest high school students pursue their academic and career goals by providing one-on-one tutoring in the humanities and the English/Reading/Writing sections of the SAT and ACT.