Phone: 301.881.7700 or 410.532.9400

Meet the Staff

The Founders


Phil Pine is the president and co-founder of Capital Educators. As an undergraduate at Princeton University, Phil tutored students in preparation for the SAT. He taught American and World History at Princeton High School and The Dalton School before pursuing his MBA at the Wharton School of Business. Over the years, Phil has taken the actual SAT many times, spent thousands of hours researching and writing educational curricula, and published a prominent SAT book. Phil personally trains every CapEd instructor, has helped hundreds of families navigate the college application process, and regularly picks up the phone at headquarters—just like the other directors. Phil has helped hundreds of underserved students receive inexpensive test prep by providing financial aid and running pro bono programs.  He sits on the advisory boards of the National Cathedral Scholars Program and Bridges at St. Paul's.

Deborah Pine is the co-founder of Capital Educators. Debbie has a BA in Economics from Trinity College in Connecticut and an MBA from the Wharton School of Business. During her years at Wharton, Debbie co-authored the business plan for Capital Educators with Phil. She also worked in admissions, gaining considerable insight into all aspects of the application process. That experience provided the foundation for our Virtual Admission™ college application workshop. Although Debbie currently finds herself spending more time at home with the couple's two children, she continues to teach classes, direct courses, and do strategic planning for CapEd.

 

 

Site Directors


Andy Flowe has come a long way to end up right back where he started.  Born and raised right here in Rockville, Maryland, Andy actually took the CapEd SAT course as a junior at Richard Montgomery in Rockville.  Andy took his stellar scores (thanks CapEd!) to Lehigh University, where he graduated with a B.A. in Global Studies.  After college, Andy’s wanderlust got the best of him, and he spent a year teaching English in Daegu, South Korea before he wound up back in Rockville working for Capital Educators.
Matt Mangelsen is the Baltimore Program Director for Capital Educators. Matt attended undergraduate school at the University of Pennsylvania, where he majored in International Relations and Chinese. While at Penn, Matt began working for CapEd as a part-time instructor, and enjoyed it so much that he became the full-time Director for Baltimore-area programs in 2009. In addition to the SAT courses, Matt also runs the Baltimore Subject Test and Virtual Admissions sessions. Matt is renowned for his Harley Davidson, fascination with Star Trek, and questionable puns.
Claire Radziwon has always had a passion for education.  She grew up in a small town outside of Buffalo, NY, where she tutored children in Spanish and Music throughout high school.  She attended American University, where she continued to tutor local students of varying ages in academic and musical subjects.  After graduating with a BA in Spanish Studies and Music, she started working for Capital Educators as a site director.  She loves the fact that she can still work with high school students and be involved in education!
Mike Settele has been working for Capital Educators since 2006.  A Long Island native, Mike taught writing for CapEd as an undergraduate at Johns Hopkins University.  Mike graduated with a BA in Political Science and Philosophy, and began directing courses full-time shortly thereafter.  He mostly runs our SAT programs in the District, but he’s racked up a plethora of miles on his 15-year-old Buick teaching throughout the metropolitan area.  Older than his years, Mike enjoys weaving his vast pop culture knowledge into his work.  He has proven that, surprisingly, you can write entire SAT reading passages about classic rock bands.
Cara Swantek escaped her native Minnesota when she attended Georgetown University.  Cara began teaching for CapEd in 2007 as an undergraduate. Upon graduation, she went full-time with her love of the SAT as a Site Director.  Cara is responsible for running courses in the Bethesda area, and her Midwestern roots have made her The Site Director Least Likely to Cancel Class for Snow.  Back in high school, Cara earned the fourth highest PSAT score in the state of Minnesota—a distinction she regrets having shared with her east coast coworkers.

Capital Educators has been consistently recognized  for our high quality by virtually every major local periodical, including The Washington Post, The Washington Post Magazine, Kiplinger's, and Bethesda Magazine. Recently we received the 2009 Best of Business Award by the Small Business Commerce Association.   Although we appreciate this attention, we don’t employ public relations people and we don’t work for press clippings. We focus all of our energy on our students. And we measure our success in straightforward ways: student score improvements, college acceptances, and the consistent praise we receive from families.

 

Our History and Philosophy

CapEd was never designed to be the largest educational consulting group in the region, but we have experienced more than a decade of consistent growth. We have been careful not to expand too quickly or spread ourselves too thin. CapEd is unique because of the narrow range of its services: we exclusively help high school students prepare for college. This focus has allowed the company to concentrate on continuously improving our teaching curricula, developing our staff of instructors, and refining our internal systems. This commitment translates into the way in which we interact with our families—when you work with Capital Educators, you will find our staff to be consistently responsive and knowledgeable.

 

Small Group Learning

All CapEd programs are conducted in small group settings. In our experience, small groups provide the best environment for most students to prepare for the SAT/ACT/Subject Tests. We never have more than 10 students per instructor and we always form classes according to student scores, and strengths. In this way, we know that we are working on the right content at the right pace for every one of our students.

 

What Makes our Approach Best

The test preparation field is filled with many large companies and many private tutors. We offer a unique compromise—a program that combines the research and expertise of the testing giants with the personal touch of a tutor. The upshot is a course that is fundamentally different, superior, and intimate. Because we create a personalized environment that’s tailored to each individual, students do not get lost in classrooms where one size fits all. They are consistently supported and they realize extraordinary score improvements. This makes our approach more successful than those of the testing giants.

How do we stand up against private tutoring? Although tutors offer individual attention, they often place unrealistic expectations on students. Even the best private tutors will typically work with a student for 60-90 minutes and assign several hours of weekly homework. In our experience, students are unlikely to have the time, energy, or inclination to prioritize SAT homework. Our philosophy is to structure the learning for our students. By attending all classes and taking all practice tests, students complete virtually all of their preparation at our sites in a supervised setting. This translates into very little homework for most students!

 

Personalized Advice

We recognize that every student is different. Different students have diverse goals, study habits, and temperaments. For one student, a 150 point improvement may make a pivotal difference in the college application process. For another, we may be realistically shooting for an improvement in excess of 300 points. Some students may need to sit for the SAT as many as three times; others may test only once. To make sure that we provide the most personalized advice, we highly strongly encourage parents and students to call whenever they have questions!

 

Explore our website to find out more about our course offerings, or reach a director immediately by calling (301) 881-7700 in the Washington area, (410) 532-9400 in the Baltimore area, or emailing us.