Meet Our Team

Lindsay Kaplan


Lindsay has been teaching in the early elementary sector since 2008. She earned her B.A. in Journalism from Indiana University and her M.Ed in Elementary Education from DePaul University.

In the spring of 2020, Lindsay created MotivatED Minds to provide individual and small-group learning experiences for students of all ages. She strongly believes that the foundation of a successful learning environment is a meaningful student and teacher relationship.

In her free time, Lindsay enjoys reading, watching comedy with her fiance´, Brian and taking extra long walks with her two yellow labs, Sully and Rider.

Lily Kawer

Lily spent her undergraduate years at Tulane University, where she received her degree in Early Childhood Education and Psychology. She also recently earned her Master's degree in Elementary Education from National Louis University. She has been an Assistant Teacher at the Latin School of Chicago for two years and is excited to take on her own classroom in the Fall.

As a teacher, Lily is motivated, creative and flexible. She is always focused on making sure her students grow and succeed in a way that is best tailored to their individual needs. Lily also loves to instill her passion and love for lifelong learning on to young children.

Lily loves tutoring because she gets to work one-on-one with students to ensure that they are getting the individual help that they need. It is important to Lily that she builds personal and individual relationships with each child in order to help them unlock the keys to reach their greatest potential.

When Lily is not engaging with students, she is reading a book, going for a run, spending time with her family and friends or baking!

Nicole Gaggiano

Nicole has had a passion for education for as long as she can remember. She received her Undergraduate degree in Middle Childhood Education from Miami University of Ohio. She also earned a Specialist endorsement degree which enables her to work with English Language learners. Nicole is currently working towards her Master's degree in Curriculum and Instruction at Concordia University. 

Nicole is certified to teach all core subject areas, but she currently teaches sixth-grade Science in a public school in the Chicago suburbs.

She structures her tutoring sessions to meet the interests and needs of the individual students, through the relationships she builds and the activities she creates.

Ashley Kaufman

Ashley’s passion for education and working with children started at a very young age. She knew she wanted to be a teacher as a student in her third grade class!

As an educator, Ashley believes in developing the whole child by teaching students to be successful academically, socially, and emotionally. She strives to build strong connections with students, families, and community members.

Ashley teaches with a creative and energetic lens. Ashley graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as a James Scholar. She majored in Elementary Education with a minor in Leadership Studies.

Ashley currently teaches first grade in the Chicago suburbs. She enjoys watching students gain confidence in their abilities in order to become independent learners and thinkers.

Alec Josiah

Alec was MotivatED Minds first hire in 2020 and we are thrilled to welcome him back to our team!

Alec has worked with children for many years. His passion for education was first ignited while studying at the University of Pennsylvania, when was a Head Teacher in a community service dance organization called CityStep. Here, he taught dance and mentored students through the arts in public schools in West and South Philadelphia.

After graduating, Alec moved to Chicago to teach Preschool in Gage Park as a Teach for America Corps member. He graduated from the Erikson Institute in 2019 with a MS in Early Childhood Education and has worked as an Early Childhood teacher in Chicago Public Schools for the last year and a half.

Alec loves building strong relationships with children and families and loves to see his students grow and learn.

He brings his authentic self into his teaching using his experience in dance, Spanish and more to make his teaching fun, creative, entertaining, and personalized for each and every student.

Claire Robinson

Claire is a lifelong learner who thrives on helping students grow. She received both her Undergraduate and Master's degrees from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, with an ESL endorsement. Claire is constantly enrolling in new courses to stay current with her research and practices as an educator.

Claire currently teaches second grade in the Chicago suburbs and couldn't love it more! She is passionate about creating personalized tutoring sessions with her students to instill a love of learning in them.

In her free time she enjoys reading lots of books, exploring new places in Chicago, and spending time with her friends and family.

Ellie Begg

Ellie earned her Undergraduate degree from the University of Iowa in Elementary Education with an endorsement in reading. She just started her fourth year of teaching first grade in Mount Prospect, with fellow MotivatED Minds tutor, Claire Robinson.

Ellie grew up in Iowa and moved to Chicago after graduation to experience life in a big city. Even though COVID has put a bit of a damper on that experience, she has loved every minute of it. 

Ellie loves to see students fall in love with school and learning. It brings her so much joy to see those internal “clicks” for a child and to feel their excitement and achievement. Ellie believes that even the smallest wins are worth celebrating and praising. 

Emily Gajos

Emily is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She earned her degree in Middle Grades Education with concentrations in Math, Science and Spanish. She is currently working on earning her Master's degree in Middle Grades Science Education from Northwestern University.

Emily has been teaching in the Chicago suburbs for four years and is passionate about building strong relationships with her students and tailoring her lessons to meet the needs of all learners. She loves working with Middle School students because they are curious, open minded, creative and fantastic problem-solvers.

Emily enjoys tutoring because she gets to engage with students in a way that is personalized for their learning style. She also loves to witness their growth as learners.

In her spare time, she enjoys yoga, exploring new restaurants, and traveling to places she can snowboard or hike.  

Book a Discovery Call With Lindsay

Discover how our programs work and figure out the best supplemental education plan for your child. We can't wait to hear from you!