About Smart Start Tutors
Certified Literacy Specialists
Alexa Imwalle, M.Ed
Hi! I'm Alexa, the Owner and Founder of Smart Start Tutors, LLC. I am a certified Reading Interventionist, Orton-Gillingham trained tutor, and former elementary education teacher. I am also a wife and mom to twin 5 year old girls and a baby boy. I am a Washington, D.C. area native and currently reside in Olney, Maryland just, forty five minutes outside the city. After attending the University of Dayton in Dayton, Ohio, my now husband and I decided to return to the D.C. area where we got married and started our family.
While at the University of Dayton, I graduated with a Bachelors in Early Childhood Education with an endorsement in grades 4th and 5th. After graduation, I went on to become an elementary school teacher where I worked in a variety of school settings. I was fortunate enough to work with children in many different grade levels including grades 3-5 where I spent the most time. During my years teaching in the school system, I realized my passion was in helping struggling students especially those who struggled to read. This stemmed from my personal experience as a struggling student, specifically a struggling reader, when I was in school. My desire to make a bigger impact on struggling students lead me to go back to school where I earned a Masters in Education specializing in Literacy Instruction for grades K-12th.
Shortly thereafter, my husband and I got the news that we were expecting twin girls! I knew I wanted to be more present for my growing family, but also had a deep desire to find a way to continue doing what I loved-teaching! So after leaving the classroom setting in 2017 and being a stay-at-home mom for six months, I started Smart Start Tutors LLC and have been helping students in grades K-5 to close the reading gap and gain a love for reading ever since.
I consider myself a lifelong learner and am dedicated to staying on top of the most recent methods and techniques for supporting students with Dyslexia, ADD, ADHD, non-specified learning disabilities, etc. This is why, after graduating with my Masters as a Literacy Specialist, I went on to earn an additional certification as a Reading Interventionist where I learned how to assess children in reading, identify their exact areas of need and build customized intervention plans in order to close the reading gap quickly and efficiently. During this time, I also received specialized training in the Orton-Gillingham methodology specifically designed for students with Dyslexia. At Smart Start we use the OG methodology as the foundation of all of our lessons not just for those with Dyslexia but for all of our students who need reading support. This is because research shows that a structured literacy program is the best way to support all readers.
When I am not working with students or working behind the scenes at Smart Start, you can find me on the golf course, traveling with my family, reading, or chasing my three children around especially our newest addition, our son Luke.
Taylor is a fifth grade English Language Arts & Science inclusion teacher in Dayton, Ohio. As an inclusion teacher, Taylor has students with a wide variety of abilities in her classroom. She works closely with an intervention specialist to meet the needs of all learners within her classroom. Taylor has experience working with general education students, students with identified learning disabilities, and gifted students.
Taylor is a graduate of the University of Dayton and holds a Bachelor's degree in Early Childhood Education, as well as an endorsement in teaching 4th and 5th grade. She received an additional certificate in teaching students with Dyslexia and other reading challenges. Taylor is trained in the Barton Reading & Spelling System, which is a multi-sensory reading and spelling program geared towards supporting students with Dyslexia and a variety of reading and language challenges.
When she is not teaching or working as a literacy specialist, Taylor enjoys surfing, wakeboarding, walking her dogs, and spending time with friends and family. She loves building relationships with her students and helping them realize and reach their full potential. Taylor is available to provide intervention and enrichment for Smart Start Tutors students in reading, writing, and math.
Cassidy Aughe is a licensed intervention specialist K-12 with experience joint-teaching in the general education classroom and in small group and one-on-one intervention classrooms. Cassidy has a Bachelors in Special Education, a Masters of Education in Instructional Design and has completed Orton-Gillingham training through the Orton-Gillingham Academy. Cassidy has a passion for literacy and loves working with students in grades K-4 using the Orton-Gillingham approach to build students' confidence as readers and lifelong learners. Cassidy has completed the Teaching Yoga and Mindfulness to School-Age Kids training to teach students the skills of mindfulness and movement.
Dayton, Ohio born and raised, Cassidy now lives in Columbus, OH where she enjoys supporting all of the local small businesses. When Cassidy is not teaching, she spends her time with family and friends. Cassidy loves singing, hiking, running, yoga, thrifting, sewing, and playing with her dog, "Pickle".