Dr. Virginia A. Smith
Partner, Writing & College Consulting
Virginia Smith brings to bear more than three decades in higher education and one-on-one work with students and professional adults. She graduated with a B.A. and M.A., Magna Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa, from Bucknell University and a Ph.D. in English from Penn State University.
Dr. Smith’s university credentials include years of formal and informal student advising and coaching and fourteen years of college teaching, including 22 individual courses in the Humanities, Rhetoric and Composition, genre studies, American literary history and American Studies. Her teaching awards include one of Panhellenic Council’s Outstanding Female Professors for four years, the 2005 Outstanding Teaching Award for the Department of English and the 2006 Outstanding Teaching Award for the College of the Liberal Arts, all at Penn State University, University Park.
This experience affords Virginia the ability to offer client writing instruction that is rhetorical, tailored to the individual and skills-based. She is expert at assessing a wide range of student and adult interests, personalities, learning styles and performance abilities and at harnessing those factors to help her clients attain a higher level of writing proficiency and fluency in multiple genres. Virginia is adept at helping students “learn to learn,” particularly in helping them learn to set academic goals, to study, and to develop as critical thinkers and writers.
- PA Certified English Instruction – taught Advanced Placement, Writing for College and college-prep English in academically rigorous high school for eight years
- Tutor and guest teacher for Lower Merion and Council Rock School District.
- Teaching experience in Special Needs, from gifted to autism
- 14 years at Penn State University, Department of English
- Bucknell University: B.A., Magna Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa, Honors in English and Education
- Penn State University: Ph.D. – Sparks Dissertation Fellowship
- Presently trained and employed by ETS/College Board to score Writing SAT 1 and AP English exams.
- Trained by Independent Educational Consulting Association in 2006
Dr. William (Bill) Keeney
Partner, Learning Differences
Bill Keeney is a nationally recognized expert in helping adolescents with learning differences to prepare for the advanced literacy skills that college demands. He graduated with a BA from Columbia University and has a Masters and Ph.D. from Boston University. He has been a life-long educator, with fifteen years in high schools and twelve years of college teaching experience.
He has presented nationally on issues related to teaching fluency, assistive technology, and reading comprehension for college-bound adolescents. For over a decade, he has led the English Department at Delaware Valley Friends School, the premier college-preparatory school in the country for students with learning differences. More than this, however, he is a creative, engaging, and talented teacher whose students climb to greater heights of academic achievement under his tutelage.
Dr. Keeney’s experience in public schools, in universities, and in a school for learning different students affords him a wide range of teaching strategies and techniques for all types of students. He is an expert at diagnosing not only individual areas of weakness, but also distinctive areas of learning strength and then marshalling those strengths to ease student workload and increase achievement. He also brings advanced knowledge of assistive technologies – from audio to voice recognition software – that help LD students achieve. You will learn how you learn best, and how to make the most of those abilities to learn.
In 2007, Dr. Keeney was awarded the Chester County Library’s Literacy Hero Award for his advanced teaching for students with learning differences, primarily dyslexia and AD/HD. He serves on the board of the Pennsylvania Branch of the International Dyslexia Association and was co-chair of PBIDA’s annual conference in 2008 and 2009.
- Certified Academic Language Practitioner (CALP) with Academic Language Therapy Association (ALTA)
- Presented at state, regional, and national conferences on reading fluency, assistive technology, and teacher training.
- Developer of SEE Reading™ (Simultaneous Eye and Ear Reading) and Write UP!™
- 30+ years teaching experience
- 15+ years teaching adolescents with learning differences in a college preparatory curriculum specialized in reading and writing difficulties (dyslexia) and executive functioning (ADHD) at Delaware Valley Friends School, the premier college-preparatory school for students with learning differences in the country.
- 5 years public school & 1 year academically challenging parochial school. PA teacher certified.
- 10 years teaching college composition
- 5 years SAT, GRE and LSAT prep courses