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Great Teachers Inspire

Our tutors and staff in Auburn consist of passionate educators who love inspiring children to succeed. Warm, caring and great at relating to kids, our tutors in Auburn know how to engage and motivate each child in a personal way—building confidence and smiles, as well as skills and better scores. We selectively choose tutors who know local curriculum and can link Sylvan lessons to what’s being taught in school.

Get to know our tutors and staff in Auburn!


Gail Smith


Gail feels privileged to help lead an amazing team of educators and support staff along with her husband, Dave. A former Public Relations manager and Elementary Classroom Teacher, Gail finds great joy and fun in working with students and teachers. As the parent of two college athletes, she is excited about helping student-athletes realize their full academic potential and options for college and beyond. She holds a degree in Public Relations from WSU and went on to Seattle Pacific University for her K-8 teaching endorsement and Master’s work in Special Education. Gail has also served a 3-year term on the national Franchise Owner’s Association board for Sylvan Learning.


Susie Petersen

Center Director

Our amazing Susie has been with Sylvan for nearly 15 years and is an expert on every program we offer!  Holding an Education degree from Western Washington University, Susie loves helping students succeed and feel proud of their accomplishments.   Overseeing all operations at Auburn, WA Sylvan, Susie takes great pride in developing personalized learning programs for each student – from early learning through college prep.  While not at Sylvan, Susie may be found hanging out with her running group, cooking something new and fun or playing with her pet kitty, Ruby.


Ben Trefz


Able to leap over difficult SAT questions in a single bound, our amazing instructor, Ben, holds a degree in Computer Graphics from Purdue University.  Besides working with students at Sylvan of Auburn, WA, Ben is also completing his Math Teaching Credentials at Western Governor’s University.  When not at Sylvan of Auburn, WA, Ben enjoys gaming and computer programming.


Maurie Conner


Maurie is an instructor at the Auburn, WA Sylvan Learning Center with a gift for working with kids. While Maurie has many tutoring talents, he finds the greatest joy in working in our small student:teacher ratio, where he really gets to completely understand each student’s capabilities and needs. He studied at Ball State University where he earned a B.S. in Education and a Master’s in Art.  When Maurie isn’t at Sylvan, you’ll find him busy with his passion for photography or swimming!.


Coleen Thomson


While at Sylvan Learning of Auburn, WA, our popular teacher, Coleen, enjoys instructing students in our Reading & Writing programs. Holding a B.A. in Education from Southern Oregon University, Coleen says her students are “awesome!” and teaches them how to ask questions and feel more confident.  When not at Sylvan of Auburn, WA, Coleen can be found gardening in her yard, cooking something new and playing with her cat, Bailey.


Dave Smith


Hailing from Fircrest, WA and a graduate of Wilson High School, Dave takes great pride in owning and operating Sylvan of Auburn, WA.  Holding a B.S. in Economics from Willamette University where he played football as an Academic All-American, Dave enjoys working in an industry that helps students succeed at every level. Dave has served on the boards of Boys & Girls Clubs, Greater Lakes Mental Health and the Sylvan Franchise Owner’s Association.  He has also enjoyed coaching middle school basketball over the years.

Start your child on the path to academic success today

Give us a call at (253) 263-7457 or fill out the form to discuss your child’s learning goals.


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Call us today: (888) 338-2283

Corporate Headquarters

502 Washington Avenue
Suite 400
Towson, MD 21204

(888) 338-2283