If it’s February in Southern California, it must be awards season. This past weekend, Los Angeles played host to the Grammys, and the nominees for this month’s Academy Awards were announced. Just a few miles west, at Veritas Prep headquarters in Malibu, the academic services team at Veritas Prep sorted through its 2009 evaluation data to select its winners for the almost-as-prestigious Instructor of the Year award.
To be considered for the Instructor of the Year award is an honor in itself. Veritas Prep’s GMAT prep instructors are no strangers to award and honors, with the faculty possessing accolades such as NCAA All-American, Forbes Future Capitalist, and Philly’s Phunniest Comedian. Selecting award winners from this already select group is a difficult task, but the selection committee thanks this year’s winners for excelling at their job enough to make that decision a bit easier.
Without further ado, this year’s winners are:
- Rob Stringham, New York City
- Bobby Umar, Toronto
Rob Stringham, New York City
A Veritas Prep instructor since 2004, Rob has managed to lead the worldwide faculty in instructor evaluation scores with the added degree-of-difficulty of teaching in the world’s most demanding market, New York. Typically juggling multiple schedules – often teaching on Long Island or in New Jersey in addition to his Manhattan classes – Rob strikes an admirable rapport with his students, eliciting multiple comments to the extent of “Rob was probably the best teacher I’ve ever had”.
Bobby Umar, Toronto
Bobby’s GMAT students are typically well-prepared for the AWA essays if only because they get so much writing practice when they submit multiple paragraphs of praise in the “optional comments’ section of their course evaluations; Bobby leads the worldwide faculty in length-of-comments and number-of-exclamation-points in his course reviews, having inspired his students with equal parts knowledge of, confidence in, and enthusiasm for the GMAT. Like Rob, Bobby garners praise to the extent of “Bobby is the best teacher I’ve ever had at any level;” the team at Veritas Prep headquarters agrees that he’s one of the best that we’ve ever had, as well.
Veritas Prep Instructor of the Year winners will be teaching several classes around the world this spring. Their upcoming assignments include:
Toronto Full Course, March 8
Rob Stringham: New York City Full Course, March 20
David Newland: Boston Weekend Course, February 13; Boston Full Course, March 8
Burak Powers: Houston Weekend Course, April 10
Amit Kakkad: London Full Course, March 8; London Intensive Course, March 21
Ken Kleinfeld: Washington Verbal Focus, February 13; Washington Full Course, March 8
Chris Kane: New York City Weekend Course, February 13; New York City Full Course, March 8; New York City Intensive Course, March 14
Megan Kucik: Washington Quant Focus, February 20; Virtual Veritas Prep, April 14
Kevin Richardson: Virtual Veritas Prep, February 8
Cliff Smith: Palo Alto Full Course, March 20; Palo Alto Full Course, March 23; Voice of Veritas Prep on Demand
From the entire Veritas Prep team, we’d like to offer a huge CONGRATS to Rob and Bobby! Great work in 2009, guys. Here’s to an even better 2010!
And the winners are…
One of the most difficult challenges for the Veritas Prep headquarters staff each December is selecting its Instructors of the Year from an incredibly talented pool of teachers around the world. Veritas Prep GMAT instructors are among the most accomplished groups of people you can find, as the faculty boasts PhD degrees from Ivy League schools, MBAs from all of the top programs, pedigrees in professional music, comedy, and athletic performance, and hundreds of awards won from other professional and academic organizations. From NCAA All-American selections to the Philly’s Phunniest Comedian award, Veritas Prep instructors have won countless honors just to be selected as qualified to teach the classes in the first place (in addition to the requisite 99th percentile GMAT score); to be selected as the elite members of that faculty is an honor that must truly be earned.
When selecting the award winners each year, the Academic Services staff at Veritas Prep considers the highest-ranking instructors based on student evaluations – to win, an instructor needs to grade out at over 9.5/10 on the question “I would give my instructor the following overall recommendation” – and factors in the informal, unsolicited feedback that students submit when reporting their successes and satisfaction with the program. This year’s winners are:
David Newland – Boston and Virtual Veritas Prep
Much like a rock star, David can possibly best be described using the phrase “back by popular demand”, as his students’ friends voraciously call the Veritas Prep offices to ask when David will be teaching next. Upon hearing that he had been chosen as Instructor of the Year, David noted that “I had a pretty good year, but really I was just trying to set the stage for a run at the award in 2009”.
Burak Powers – Houston and Austin
2008 was a good year for people named Burak/Barack, and like his namesake the co-winner of the Instructor of the Year award was able to impress audiences with impassioned speeches rife with both thorough knowledge and a “yes we can” attitude. Burak sets a new precedent for instructor evaluation score as a frequent recipient of the “write-in eleven”, earned when students feel the need to rate their instructor higher than the upper-limit score of 10. Much like Barack, Burak looks forward to an even-better 2009 as he strives to live up to the lofty expectations created by his success.
Congratulations to both David and Burak, and to the entire Veritas Prep faculty for a year of record-setting excellence. For more information on the Veritas Prep faculty, and a complete list of Instructor of the Year award winners, please visit our GMAT instructor profiles page.