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Exploring Life & Business with Helen Panos of Dynamis Learning Academy

Today we’d like to introduce you to Helen Panos.

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
I began my teaching career in 1995 in a large metro Atlanta school system. By my 4th year, I began the process of getting a gifted certification which allowed me to teach 6th-8th grade gifted students. I wanted to help children apply their creative and critical thinking skills in an efficient and productive manner. This position allowed me to grow into a lead gifted position at my school, allowing me to review and assess children for the gifted program.

As I taught regular and gifted education within my school for many years, I continued to notice a weakness in basic skills such as reading, writing/grammar and math. My most recent lead position as a Section 504 chair brought that more to light. We all know that class sizes are large, and thus every concept a child hears cannot be learned the first or second time. Teachers are just not able to provide individual attention due to these class sizes. This, coupled with my passion to help children, birthed Dynamis Learning Academy, a K-12 tutoring/SAT/ACT Prep company . Why the name Dynamis? Dynamis is a Greek word which means “the state of that which is not yet fully realized”. Its power and potentiality. At Dynamis Learning Academy, our goal is to help children reach their full potential and that is what we strive for every day!

To my surprise, 2021 has been quite the year! It has allowed me to hire 12 qualified tutors who work for my company assisting kids with academics and test-taking skills. I have also launched a podcast for parents called “Smart Parents Successful Students” which can be found on Anchor and Spotify. I have been blessed with the opportunity to speak to different groups on a smaller scale, so that parents can get to know me, my knowledge, experience, and the value I can bring to their family. Today, I am happy to say, we are helping many children be successful in school and in life.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
After 25 years of working for a public school system and now the owner of my own tutoring business, I can definitely say it wasn’t always a smooth road. Over time, education has changed in so many ways. As a country, we are always looking for a better way to educate children, thus county school systems are always changing things. What this means as an educator is that we must always be changing and adapting with the times.

As an educational expert and owner of a tutoring business, I have always stayed abreast of what is being discussed in the area of education and the various problems that arise from it whether that be testing, curriculum, etc. I typically see the struggles parents are encountering first hand since my tutors and I are in homes. Because of my 25 years in education and my 504 knowledge, I am fully aware of the many different types of learners in the world, and the struggles they bring to the table. I love finding solutions to these problems and welcome the challenge. The challenges of teaching over one hundred students in a year and going to school to acquire higher degrees at the same time has given me the resilience needed to run a business. In all, this has provided me the ability to help many children be successful in their own academics simply by listening, motivating, and sharing what I know with parents and kids.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your business?
As an educator with 25 years of experience, I have the ability to listen to what a parent is saying about their child and then match the child up with the best qualified tutor on our staff. The tutor then gets to know the child’s strengths and weaknesses and customizes the tutoring to fit the child’s needs. The fact that my staff has many years of experience allows us to be able to cater to the child and to assess any issues that are currently present and/or arise VERY quickly. I believe in helping children reach their highest potential, so they can become successful and productive citizens in society and the world. My company hires the most qualified tutors with experience in various contents and grade levels. These are teachers who have worked with thousands of students over the years.

Additionally, our SAT/ACT test prep experts have provided us with much insight into how the SAT and ACT are structured. Each of my tutors individually encompass 20+ years of experience training students how to take these tests. Offering private and very small group tutoring for high-stakes tests are very important. We will always believe in small group over large group instruction as many times the message is not clearly heard by students when there are too many in a class.

Additionally, Dynamis provides another specialty type of tutoring. Many students are trying to get into a gifted program in public schools, thus I personally tutor children who plan on testing to get into a program such as this. My 8 years of experience proctoring tests allow me the opportunity to help parents understand the gifted eligibility process in Georgia. Dynamis Learning Academy also offers small group online writing workshops because we understand the importance of being a strong writer and developing this skill.

Lastly, Dynamis offers advocate assistance for SST/RTI and Section 504 meetings. I also have staff that can help advocate for a child prior to and during an IEP meeting. We assist parents/kids in getting accommodations that are needed, especially before tests are taken.

Do you have any advice for those just starting out?
No matter if you have a good or a bad day, the sun is always shining on the other side! Keep going even when others around you are quitting. Every little step leads to a big step. Building a business takes time although some think it’s simple and quick. People are your connections, referrals and partners.

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