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Meet Todd Blechner of Next Level Up Academic Coaching in Suburbs

Today we’d like to introduce you to Todd Blechner.

Todd, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I became an educator back in 1998 when I was living in the ski town of Tahoe City, California. I knew I enjoyed working directly with children because I coached youth basketball for a couple of years prior to enrolling in the Sierra Nevada College teacher’s certification program. Since then, this program has blown up and has produced some high quality educators. My first teaching gig was as a middle school teacher. Along with five other dedicated individuals we pioneered Lake Tahoe’s first charter school. After working there for two years, I yearned for more experiences. I got on an airplane and traveled to the beautiful country of New Zealand and spent four months criss crossing both the North and South Islands. I probably could have stayed there forever, but the desire to continue teaching and see more of the world motivated me to find another teaching job. This desire landed me on the tiny western Pacific island of Tinian, located in the Northern Marianas Islands in Micronesia. The three years I spent teaching the locals’ children and being a football coach were the most rewarding three years of my teaching life. I became completely immersed into the culture and society, and was welcomed with open arms into many families’ homes. It was an invaluable experience. I decided to travel extensively throughout Asia and Southeast Asia, and resigned halfway through my second two year contract. While in Sumatra, Indonesia I met a wonderful local woman that possessed a family centric attitude and strength unlike I’d ever seen before. I asked for this beautiful woman’s hand in marriage. I knew that I had to find some stability in order to make this new life decision work. This brought me back to the States in mid-2006 after being away for four years. She entered the country seven months later after going through the extensive, serpentine visa process. We
got married and started a family very soon after that. Knowing that I wanted to continue working with children and helping students directly, as well as being able to spend as much time with my wife and children as possible, in 2009 I launched Next Level Up Academic Coaching. The rest, as they say, is history.

Has it been a smooth road?
Smooth? Not necessarily. Educational, exciting, and gratifying? Yes. I would say that every entrepreneur goes through some struggles. It’s a part of starting your own business. Challenges and mistakes are necessary to help you grow as a business owner. Some of the struggles I experienced focused on dealing with the myriad family dynamics out there. Although these obstacles ironed themselves out over the years, my honesty and transparency, something that I pride myself in, sometimes got in the way. Unfortunately, not all parents want to or are ready to hear the truth about their children. It’s a sensitive subject for all of us. There are plenty of business owners that bend the truth or tell prospective clients what they think they want to hear just to make the sale. I believe in being straight forward and honest with parents, and unfortunately in business, this sometimes backfires. However, I wouldn’t change my approach for anything. In the end, whatever your style of doing business is, you will end up attracting loyal, like minded clients that like that style and understand your vision.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Next Level Up Academic Coaching – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
I am incredibly proud of the people that work with us and the students they have helped achieve success. We are more of a beneficial process than the Band-Aid solution that is usually associated with traditional tutoring. Our goal is to completely individualize and personalize every session for every student. We strive to help students improve in the areas they need the most improvement in by stressing the desire to want to improve. Our academic coaches take a holistic approach by assessing then addressing these areas directly, by empowering students to take ownership over their education and by guiding those students to become the best versions of themselves that they can possibly be. It all starts with a compassionate approach followed up with a healthy helping of pragmatism and perspective. One thing I learned long ago when I first became a teacher is that, to no fault of their own, students do not possess the necessary perspective in school and life to see things through a clear lens. We can provide that perspective however, and when a student’s eyes and mind are opened, their success and progress comes rapidly. I also take pride in the straightforward communication and quality customer service we consistently offer. Parents appreciate it. While it may appear on the surface that many students share the same struggles, the reality is that when you take into account the myriad personalities, learning styles, and family dynamics, it is clear to see that every student’s situation is unique.

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
I’ve been fortunate to have traveled all over this country as well as to many places overseas. Boston has something that no other big city has: a small town, neighborhood feel. I’ve always loved the straightforward nature of the people that live here as well. It may take getting used to for anyone that transplants themselves here, but once they do, an appreciation of our attitude washes over them. Additionally, the success that our professional sports teams have had in the last fifteen years has truly lifted everyone up and has given us something that most cities can’t duplicate. I also love the size of our city. Not too big and not too small. The location is top notch as well. We have the luxury of being on the coast and only a stone’s throw away from the mountains. It’s the best of both worlds. Finally, the level of education of our city’s citizens is unparalleled. This translates to a high value placed on education for the children growing up here. This always bodes well for a business like Next Level Up Academic Coaching.

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