Announcing Veritas Prep’s 2010 Worldwide GMAT Instructor of the Year Winners

GMAT Instructor of the Year
Our nominee for 2010 Photo of the Year
Happy New Year, readers! As we begin a new year and Veritas Prep launches its first 2011 GMAT courses next week, we’d like to take a moment to reflect on a highly successful 2010 and honor some of the people who most contributed to it.

Here at Veritas Prep, we have the honor at the end of each year of looking back at the thousands of students and hundreds of classes we’ve taught.  It has become tradition each December to name winners of the Worldwide Instructor of the Year award, and the process has grown in enjoyment level each year as we’ve been treated to mountains of positive student evaluation scores and comments.  With a company average of approximately 4.4 on a 5-point scale (4 is “agree” and 5 is “strongly agree”) to the prompt “I would recommend my instructor to others”, it’s clear that to become an Instructor of the Year one must truly be a star among stars, and it’s a privilege for our headquarters staff to sift through the data and reflect on the countless lives that our instructors have changed for the better.

As our GMAT preparation instructors strive for the company goal of 4.5+ averages on those evaluations, they are either blessed or cursed with acute knowledge of statistics (after all, statistics are covered on the GMAT, and in our tenth in-class lesson).  To achieve that lofty goal, one must receive more “Strongly Agree” 5s than “Agree” 4s, and scores of 3 (Neutral) or below are almost impossible to counteract – one needs three scores of 5 simply to pull one 3 up to a 4.5 average.

Accordingly, for instructors like 2010 Instructor of the Year winners, Frankie Beecroft and Matt Douglas, consistently achieving averages of 4.8 to 5.0 is an amazing feat.  One sounds like an Olympic judge simply reading off the high scores:

Frankie Beecroft: 5.0, 4.9, 4.6, 4.7. 4.5 (that must have been the East German judge), 4.8

Matt Douglas: 4.9, 4.6, 4.8. 5.0, 4.6, 4.8

The comments tell an even more impressive story, with testimonials such as:

Frankie was a better mentor than half my professors in college.

Frankie was an inspiration to be taught from…she showed passion for the information and for her job every night.

I have taken other courses and Matt is the best instructor I have ever had.

I have had teachers that I thought were very good; after having Matt, I realize that he is very, very good.
Comments and scores like these just scratch the surface of what makes these Masters of GMAT Education (each of whom has a master’s degree in education) such incredible teachers  and of what has made them some of the most-respected and beloved teachers in company history.  For our “best of 2010” list, we bring you the best of our best:

Frankie Beecroft, Chicago
Basketball in Chicago may be most personified by Michael Jordan’s “flu game”, in which Jordan battled nasty illness to epically defeat the Utah Jazz in the 1997 NBA Finals – illustrative of the city’s toughness and commitment as well as its overall excellence.  If that is the case, then education in Chicago may best be personified by Frankie Beecroft’s “concussion class”, in which she shook off doctor’s orders, dizziness, and headaches to teach her class’s final (and arguably most challenging) lesson to properly give her students a sendoff toward their GMAT exams.  Minutes after calling Veritas Prep headquarters to give notice that doctors were asking her not to teach that night, she called back to say “forget it, I’m teaching”…and then delivered one of her yeoman performances, working through the typical halftime class break and staying after hours to accept and expertly answer all student questions.

A career educator with a master’s degree in Education from Notre Dame, Frankie has taught in South Central Los Angeles and the south side of Chicago, always seeking challenges and opportunities to share her talents with those who could benefit most.  A three-year veteran Veritas Prep instructor, she is renowned for her commitment to education from her students, many of whom comment in their course evaluations about her true passion for teaching and the way that her educational background comes through as she teaches.  More impressive than her formal evaluation comments are those given unsolicited: bring a Veritas Prep book to study at a Loop-area Starbucks and you’re apt to bump into a Veritas alumnus who asks “are you taking a class with Frankie?  Great – she’s amazing!” (as reported by a new recipient of the Veritas books a month ago, the first time she studied from them); attend a Chicago class as a representative of Veritas Prep and you may hear “hey, you’re the guy that told me I should take a class with Frankie…I can’t thank you enough for that advice” (as your author was told in October).

In a city known for famous educators – Frankie’s classes take place at the downtown Gleacher Center operated by the University of Chicago, which has also featured a teacher by the name of Barack Obama; Ben Stein also served as a teacher in greater Chicago in the movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off – Frankie has made a name for herself as one of the most popular teachers among both aspiring MBAs and elementary schoolers alike.  Veritas Prep is honored to name her a Worldwide Instructor of the Year, and thrilled to have her teaching GMAT classes in 2011 and beyond.

Matt Douglas, Southern California
America’s Pacific Coast from San Diego to Seattle is marked by stunning ocean vistas, majestic seaside cliffs and mountains, and, thanks to Matt Douglas, inspired GMAT students.  During the week, Matt teaches classes in San Diego and Orange County in Southern California, but on weekends this nomad of knowledge often takes off to teach in San Francisco or Portland, motivated by passions for both teaching and travel.  Southern Californians know that one must be insane to repeatedly cover ground from San Diego to Los Angeles (even with an empty I-405 in front of a white Bronco it’s a long, agonizing trip), but in January Matt plans to do just that, teaching the Pasadena course on Saturdays, the San Diego course on weeknights, and some Live Online classes in between.  “I never turn down a class, at least not under my own power,” he says of his busy teaching schedule.

A New England native, Matt moved to Southern California for a master’s degree in education and, well, you can’t quite say “he never left” as he frequently travels to  teach wherever we can send him, but for the most part he’s stayed, in love with the weather and the lifestyle.   His proximity to Veritas Prep headquarters has made him an integral part of the headquarters family, as Matt routinely stops by to work on content development projects or just to discuss the GMAT and his latest learnings.  And the prime beneficiaries of his involvement with the company and with the GMAT from multiple angles are his students; Matt comes to class with an army of new questions and just as many unique perspectives for teaching and understanding them.

Talk to Matt’s students and one of the most common themes you’ll hear is the inclusiveness of his classes – all are encouraged to participate and discuss while Matt prods students to draw out their own knowledge and not merely have it dictated to them.  Matt inspires confidence in his students by demonstrating first that he is confident in them and believes that their insights are going in the right direction.  Ever the educational traveler, Matt is in many ways a tour guide for one’s thoughts, walking them through their minds and providing structure and closure that solidifies that spirit of “I can do this.”  Matt’s confidence in his students is mirrored by Veritas Prep’s confidence in him, and accordingly we’re proud to announce him as an Instructor of the Year for 2010.

Congratulations to Frankie and Matt, and to all of the Veritas Prep instructors who have made such a difference in the lives of our students in 2010.  If your New Year’s Resolution is to make 2011 the year that you get into a top business school, Frankie, Matt, and our team of experts will begin classes the week of January 10th, Live Online and in a city near you.

Getting ready to take the GMAT soon? Next week we have GMAT prep courses starting in Chicago, Los Angeles, and around the world. As always, be sure to find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!