STARS is managed by longtime educators, Karyn Kurland and Biz Houghton. They are supported by a team of tutors who specialize in everything from early level math and literacy to college level executive function coaching and foreign language tutoring.
Meet the STARS team here.
Karyn received her Bachelors Degree in French and Education from the University of Vermont, and her Masters Degree in Special Education from Saint Michael’s College. She currently holds State of Maine Teaching Certificates as a Special Education Consultant and a Teacher of Students with Disabilities K-12.
Throughout her career as an educator, Karyn has worked with students from preschool age through high school in a variety of school settings, including specialized schools forstudents with specific learning disabilities, public schools and private schools. Karyn has worked as a special education teacher, a consulting teacher, a learning specialist, an early intervention specialist, a tutor and an academic coach. She is also working as an Executive Skills coach using Lynn Meltzer’s SMARTS curriculum.
Karyn believes the team approach is essential for student success, and emphasizes the importance of ongoing, regular communication between students, parents, teachers and tutors/coaches. She also believes it is critical to empower students by involving them in collaborative goal setting, and supporting them in monitoring their own progress.
Karyn feels very fortunate to be opening STARS LLC with Biz Houghton, an exceptional educator, who shares her vision for creating a positive educational experience for students and their families. Karyn lives in Cumberland ME with her husband, Barry, and three children, Sam, Rachael & Sarah.
At the age of 13, Biz knew she would work with children, but she could not have imagined the extraordinary children she would work with. Her first job was a teaching job at Eagle Hill School in Greenwich, Connecticut; a school for children with learning disabili!es. where she worked with a boy named James Fayed, cousin of the late Dodi Fayed. She tutored James and his two brothers for three years, traveling to Scotland, England, Italy and France. In 1995 she tutored two daughters of King Hussein and Queen Noor of Jordan. Biz lived in Jordan for three years.
Shortly after returning to Maine, she was offered the opportunity to work with Diana Ross’s sons, Ross and Evan. She travelled with Ross during his frequent trips to Switzerland to visit his father. She also tutored both boys over the course of three summers, spending most of her time at their home in Greenwich and their property in California.
Since then Biz has had a number of summer tutoring opportunities in Idaho, Texas and the Bahamas - to name a few. Meanwhile, her client base at home was growing and she decided to forgo the travel tutoring and focus on expanding her services locally. Happily working with the princesses and princes of Maine, she was swayed to travel once again when she was offered the opportunity to tutor the two youngest boys of the President of Rwanda. Biz tutored Brian and Ian for six weeks in 2011. Upon her return, she continued to focus her passion on fulfilling a need in her own community. When she ran into Karyn Kurland, who she taught with nearly 25 years ago at Eagle Hill School, they decided to partner in the creation of STARS Learning Cooperative.
Biz has worked as a special education teacher, a consulting teacher, a learning specialist, a tutor and an academic coach. She is also working as an Executive Skills coach using Lynn Meltzer’s SMARTS curriculum.