Labor of Love: Masters Plus Tutoring

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Labor of Love: Masters Plus Tutoring

September 10, 2017 - 21:15

  Owner/founder of MastersPlus Tutoring Program,
  Zena Smith, right, counsels with student Shannon
  Jordan from Flossmoor. Shannon went through
  the ACT program at MastersPlus Tutoring.
  She was accepted into Harvard.
(Photo by 
  Mary Compton/H-F Chronicle)

Editor's note: In honor of Labor Day, the H-F Chronicle talked with four local people of whose passion for their work enriches the community and make it a great place to live. This story is the third of four published in the Sept. 1 print edition of the Chronicle.

While raising her three children, Zena Smith would tutor the children of friends using her strong math skills.

MASTERs Plus Tutoring Program, at 18354 Governors Highway in Cherry Creek Plaza, came from Zena Smith’s experiences helping others.

“I enjoyed seeing the impact of that one-on-one tutoring,” she said. “When I decided it was time to go back to work, I discovered my passion was around education.”

She credits her parents for a strong emphasis on education. When she earned a degree in accounting, she was the first of five siblings to graduate college. 

Smith’s first attempt at tutoring was as an employee at a franchise company. The experience didn’t work for her, but she and a friend decided not to give up. In 2011, they went into business for themselves as MASTERsPlus.

For Smith, student success is her biggest reward, and she enjoys the perks of owning a business and having flexibility to manage her own schedule.

MASTERs Plus programs are strictly customized one-on-one sessions. Smith finds results are “staggeringly different” with that approach.

“I’m happy to say we have a 98 percent success rate of helping struggling students overcome difficulties,” she said, and estimates that 60 to 70 percent of her business is referral-based.
The best part of her job is “seeing students overcome struggles and have an ‘aha moment,’ and when they hated or were fearful of a subject and now they are not.” 

Tutoring at MASTERs Plus is available at an hourly rate. Tutors offer assistance in specific classwork for students kindergarten through high school, ACT and high school placement exam prep, and now are expanding into assistance for adults returning to school or who need test prep for various professions.