Our Team

Jay Knower

M.Ed., Co-Founder and Business Director

An educator and an entrepreneur, Jay brings his knowledge of teaching and higher education, combined with his business acumen, to Knower Academics, LLC. Knower Academics has given Jay a perfect venue to try out creative solutions to educational challenges, and Jay is continually striving to help mold Knower Academics into a more dynamic, more efficient, and more essential institution.

Jay runs the business aspects of Knower Academics, but he has never forgotten his training in and passion for education. Prior to forming Knower Academics, Jay was a teaching lecturer at Plymouth State University, teaching writing and literature classes for eight years. While he doesn’t teach as much as he used to, Jay is currently a Faculty Fellow in the English Department at PSU, where he works on curriculum development.

Jay is an avid writer, and his articles have appeared in The New Hampshire Journal of Education, The Canadian Alpine Journal, and Climbing Magazine. He just published a book about his childhood home in Wisconsin: A Climber’s Guide to Devil’s Lake. Jay is active in a number of nonprofits in the area, and in his spare time he enjoys running and rock climbing.

Catherine (Kayte) Knower

Co-Founder and Executive Director

Kayte’s career as an educator began as a senior in college when she was selected for participation in the McGowan Program; in this capacity she worked with students from inner city Buffalo, NY, to help them build the executive skills needed for success in college. Kayte began work for ClubZ! Tutoring as a Curriculum Specialist. Her responsibilities progressed to tutor training, and then to developing curriculum for the franchise on a national level. Here, Kayte authored numerous works, including the Learning Built to Last™ study skills series along with EZ Start SAT & ACT Diagnostic Tests and Essential Guide to the SAT & ACT.

In 2011, Catherine co-founded Knower Academics with her husband Jay. Her next publications included SAT & ACT Success, followed by our current KNOW the SAT™ and KNOW the ACT™ programs, Knower Academics’ own strategic approaches to college entrance exams. As Kayte gained widespread recognition as an instructor for test prep and executive skills, Kayte’s role expanded to include presentations, the most recent of which highlighted her expertise in supporting students with academic anxiety.

Catherine attended Canisius College in Buffalo on full academic scholarship and graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s degree in English. In addition to her love of art and teaching, Kayte is a passionate rock climber.

Heather Kasper

Director of Studies

Heather Kasper joined Knower Academics in 2012, and currently serves as our Director of Studies.

As an educator, Heather specializes in multi-sensory approaches to teaching and supporting students with learning differences. Her positive attitude and tenacious problem solving skills inspire and motivate her colleagues as well as her students. Heather’s 2015 study “The Effect of Test Preparation on College Entrance Exam Scores” was recently selected as an exemplar at Southern New Hampshire University.

She has been a member of the National Guard since 2001. Heather volunteers each summer at the Maine National Guard Youth Camp, a camp that exposes children to exciting outdoor activities. Heather attained a Bachelor’s degree in Education from the University of Maine, and she is completed a MS in curriculum design at Southern New Hampshire University. She has extensive experience in alternative education, having worked in many therapeutic and alternative educational environments.

In her free time, Heather enjoys playing the French horn, being outside, reading, and hanging out with her cat, Catness Catspurr.

Ann Spencer

Lead Instructor, Individualized Academics

An educator for over 30 years, Ann brings passion and expertise to her work with students, parents, schools, and colleagues. Ann started her educational career as a writing tutor at Kenyon College, where she graduated summa cum laudewith high honors in English. She soon moved into the high school classroom, where she stayed for twelve years teaching reading and English to students in grades 7 – 12.

At the same time, Ann explored higher education, teaching American Literature and freshman composition at the local community college, eventually leaving the high school classroom to teach full time at Morrisville College, part of the State University of New York system.

In 2007, Ann completed a doctorate in education from Binghamton University with a focus on writing education and curriculum. After moving to New Hampshire, Ann worked as a school administrator before returning to higher education to teach in writing and teacher preparation programs at New England College, Granite State College, and Keene State College. Eventually, she administered teacher education programs at Granite State College and the University of New Hampshire along with consulting with several New Hampshire schools to provide faculty development.

 Having met her career goals in higher education, Ann has returned to her true calling – helping students step into their potential as learners and thinkers. Ann’s work at Knower Academics combines her background in curriculum, teaching, and administration – along with her love of teenagers – to ensure each student receives individualized instruction best designed to help them thrive academically.

Jennifer DuBreuil (Creasey)

Lead Instructor

Jen joined the Knower Academics team in the fall of 2017 after five years experience working with school-aged children. She is a dedicated, astute instructor who has a knack for connecting with students and helping them understand difficult concepts. She excels at relating materials in school to student’s own lives. She rose to a lead instructor role in 2018.

She graduated Cum Laude from Colby Sawyer college in 2011 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Child Development and a minor in Sociology. English and History have always been her favorite subjects, and she is still very close to two of her high school English teachers. 

She loves reading, making puzzles, spending time with her husband and family, and traveling. Jen is also a part of the Franklin Footlight Community Theatre, where she spends most of her free time, whether acting, directing, or helping with the children’s theatre. 

Harry Joiner, Ph.D.

Test-Prep Specialist / Instructor

With 20 years of teaching experience and a mastery of science and mathematics, Dr. Joiner is an expert at SAT/ACT and subject tutoring. He graduated Cum Laude in Mathematics and a major in Chemistry from Texas Christian University and completed his Master’s degree and Doctor of Philosophy in mathematics at Florida State University. Because of his easygoing demeanor and his sharp mind, Dr. Joiner has inspired many students toward academic success. In his free time, he enjoys skiing, hiking, traveling, and spending time with his family.

Christy Twomey

Test-Prep Specialist / Instructor

Christy co-authored The Essential Guide to the ACT, and she has a strong track record of helping students meet their test prep target scores to gain admission at the school of their choice. 

She joined Knower Academics in 2011, and she focuses exclusively on helping students increase their SAT and ACT scores. Christy enjoys helping each student capitalize on their testing strengths and conquer testing weaknesses. 

Christy graduated Cum Laude from Colby College, where she studied Biology and Education. She spent a semester abroad in Australia with the School for Field Studies, and has worked as a National Park Service ranger in Maine and as a U.S. Forest Service wilderness ranger in Colorado. Christy also has been an environmental educator, ridge runner, and marine educator for non-profits. 

In her free time, Christy enjoys spending time with her family and friends, hiking and skiing on New Hampshire’s plentiful mountains, exploring Maine’s coastline, playing music and games, reading, taking trips, and watching her kids play sports.

Emily Thibault

Instructor

Emily has been an instructor with Knower Academics since 2014. She is a high school Mathematics teacher and department head at Winnisquam Regional High School in Tilton.

Emily’s background is in math, but she can also support French and Spanish students. Along with being highly organized and patient, Emily has extensive experience at working with students who have gaps in their skill set. She’s able to identify those gaps and fill them in with expert instruction. 

Emily earned a Master’s degree in Mathematics from Plymouth State University in 2016. In 2013, she graduated from Rivier University with a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and Special Education with an interdisciplinary degree in Mathematics. 

Emily excels at providing students with different approaches and perspectives to approach math curriculum. When one approach proves ineffective for a student’s learning style, she’s able to quickly identify a different, highly-effective approach. 

During her free time, Emily enjoys spending time with her husband, son, and three dogs. She speaks French fluently and loves to cook!

Kirstin Patterson

Instructor

Kristin joined the Knower Academics Team in 2019 with more than 20 years experience as a teacher, administrator, tutor, and mother of two school-aged children.

Throughout her career, Kristin has chosen to teach in environments where she can serve students across a wide spectrum of needs and abilities. She spent her early professional years at schools and programs serving adolescents who faced behavioral and emotional challenges. “Gaining trust and maintaining relationships were essential to effective teaching and learning,” she said. She and her husband spent the next decade leading a small independent school community during its startup years.

Kristin earned an M.Ed. at Harvard University and two degrees from Middlebury College – an MA in English and a BA in Biology and Psychology, graduating magna cum laude for her Bachelor’s degree. She is also a highly-decorated NCAA athlete. Kristin was named State of the Vermont NCAA Woman of the Year, and she went All-American in NCAA Div I for Nordic Skiing Skate and Classic Divisions, along with Div III Cross Country Running.

Kristin enjoys helping students reach their potential. She challenges students to maintain a strong work ethic and remain open to learning new things. “Accomplishing something that I have to work hard for brings me satisfaction, whether it is knitting a complicated sweater, competing in a marathon despite miserable weather, or helping a student overcome obstacles and enjoy new academic success,” she said.

Beth Benton

Instructor

Beth majored in Chemistry and Dance as an undergrad at Hamilton College. She holds an MAT in Physical Science Education from Plymouth State University and post-graduate certificate in Library/Media Studies from Montana State University. 

Beth excels at using diagrams and graphic organizers to help students gain a more tangible understanding of course material. She brings a calm, caring, and FUN! attitude to the Knower Academics team.

She has worked with students of all ages in a variety of settings, from the traditional science classroom to the dance studio. No matter what the subject, her goal for her students is that they become competent at acquiring and analyzing information such that they can be successful in whatever path they follow. Beth’s current adventure is homeschooling her elementary and preschool age children while chasing around a toddler.

Meaghan Shaw

Instructor

Meaghan is an Environmental Geochemist who joined Knower Academics team in 2021. She has experience working with K-12 students, as well as undergraduates, and she is excited to teach STEM topics to future scientists!

Meaghan found her passion for teaching when she was very young. Her first student was her mother, who joyously entertained Meaghan while she taught mom lessons such as 1+1=2. One of Meaghan’s earliest memories was learning that letters could stand in for numbers (ALGEBRA!), and showing her mom this type of math on a napkin while they were out to dinner.

Meaghan earned her MS in Geology from Kent State, and a B.Sc. in Environmental Science / BA in Geology from Southern Methodist University. She is a lifelong learner and considers herself a sort of “Swiss-army knife educator” because of her diverse background. She has an interdisciplinary background with knowledge of chemistry, geology, physics, math, English, and Spanish.

Meaghan loves engaging students in the lab and in the classroom to promote personal success in all aspects of life. Her favorite aspect of teaching is the “aha!” moment students get in their eyes when something they’ve been struggling with has finally clicked into place. When not teaching, she enjoys embroidery, reading on the couch with her cat, Miss Kitty, and hiking.

Jennifer Larochelle

Instructor

Jennifer is a passionate, dedicated, and hardworking educator who joined the Knower Academics team in 2020. She has more than 25 years experience as a teacher, and Jennifer has coached skiing and cross-country athletes.

Jennifer’s teaching specialties span between reading, writing, mathematics, science, and social studies. She has even directed theater productions!

Jennifer likes working with young people because they help keep her perspective fresh and her mind alert. “I’m always challenged in new ways when I am around them!” she said. 

She and her husband, Roger, live on a farm raising sheep, pigs, and chickens, and they make maple syrup. They have three children who are all grown and are making their way in the world. “We love when we can all be together,” Jennifer added. 

Gina Prowell

Instructor

Bringing 28 years of teaching experience, Gina is an expert educator with strong ability to instruct, motivate, and challenge students. She joined the Knower Academics team in 2021 as a remote instructor. She teaches from her home in Kamuela, Hawaii.

Gina earned a MEd in Curriculum and Instruction at Avila University and a BA in Mathematics from Connecticut College. She maintains high expectations and a positive classroom climate. Gina has served as a mathematics department chairperson, and she has taught students in Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II, Precalculus, Trigonometry, Discrete Mathematics, Statistics and Calculus. 

Gina most enjoys helping students understand the why behind an idea. Once a student understands why, they take their mathematical knowledge to a higher level. Sharing those AHA! moments with students is what Gina loves most about being a teacher!

In her free time, Gina enjoys Pilates, Zumba, relaxing at the beach, and spending time with her family.

Ashley Outlaw

Instructor

Ashley studied biology and secondary education at Southern Connecticut State University, graduating in 2009. While teaching at Crosby High School for 5 years, she continued her education at Lesley University and attained her masters in ecological teaching and learning, while also attaining a 200-hour yoga teaching certificate. This degree actually encouraged her to leave teaching for a while and follow a new passion of hers, farming!

Ashley moved around through different farms for a year, learning everything she could, while also teaching yoga and working with students on farms. The following year, she taught at Wamogo High School, and worked on connecting the science department with the agriculture department. After getting the spark of farming, Ashley decided she needed to move to Vermont to live on a farm permanently. In the interim, she worked at C2 Education tutoring students in science, math, and test prep while also farming and teaching yoga. Upon moving to Vermont, Ashley began working for Knower Academics, while starting her new farm life with her 11 goats and 1 steer! She is working to create a school and yoga retreat center on her farm.

Darren Redman

Instructor

Darren joined Knower Academics in 2021, and he has more than 30 years experience as a teacher and coach. As a teacher, Darren focused his efforts on instructing English, and as a coach he has mentored young athletes in sports such as cross country running, baseball and basketball.

Darren earned BAs in English and Psychology from Springfield College 1983, and he returned to Springfield for a MS Sports Psychology, awarded in 1989.

Darren enjoys promoting a student’s academic, creative, and individual goals. Though some students may find English curriculum difficult, particularly those who are learning it as a second language, Darren relishes the opportunity to guide learners toward taking command of their own unique voice.

Liam Cooney

Instructor

Liam has felt a lifelong calling to help students succeed, and he has a personal passion for mathematics and academics. He joined the Knower Academics team in 2021, and Liam brought a background of teaching in diverse settings such as public school, private school, and private tutoring. 

While earning his BS in Mathematics from the University of New Hampshire, Liam worked as a tutor for families on the seacoast of NH and students who attended his university. He tutored pre-algebra through calculus. His approach toward working with struggling students was to take a step back from the rote memorization of facts and processes. Instead, he focused on the why of mathematics. This approach attached meaning to otherwise un-contextualized information that students were struggling to grasp, helping them to develop critical thinking skills and understand the bigger picture. 

In his spare time, Liam is an avid hiker who has completed the New Hampshire 4000 footers, 52 With a View, and redlined the AMC White Mountain Guidebook. He is also a certified black belt in Isshin-Ryu Karate with 13+ years of experience.

Jeff Olisky

Instructor

With 10 years experience teaching Spanish, French, and ESOL for grades K—12, Jeff joined the Knower Academics team in 2021.

Jeff aims to make his classroom environment positive and fun. He strives to help students see the importance of their education, and he guides students to understand how the curriculum he’s teaching now will benefit them in the future. 

Jeff graduated from Plymouth State University with a degree in French with Teacher Certification. He earned a Masters in TESOL from Plymouth State University in 2013.

Jeff believes that engaging students through different role-play situations & games creates the best results for academic achievement. “I always want my students to feel comfortable in the classroom so they can take risks in a positive environment,” Jeff said. “My job is to give these students the skills they need to become positive, active member within our society.”