Timing right for new Williston tutoring business

By Jason Starr

Observer staff

The Education Annex is opening in Williston at a time when its services may be more needed than ever.

With local grade-school students currently spending more time learning away from their classrooms than in them because of pandemic-related precautions, the new tutoring hub on Knight Lane is poised to help families navigate remote learning challenges. 

Williston partners Sarah Legault and David Lewis had plans to start the business that predate the pandemic, but the upheaval in public education prompted them to accelerate their plans. 

“This is a great time to launch this business,” said Legault, a teacher in the Burlington School District. “It’s definitely a time where families are struggling with their children being home all the time … Keeping the motivation and the engagement level high is really hard. You have to be self-motivated at home. It’s very difficult. Engagement is a big piece, having a person there to mentor and motivate them.”

The annex has six individual education suites for one-on-one tutoring and mentoring. Packages and pricing are custom designed for each student’s needs. The business will be open Monday through Friday starting next week, ready to serve students in grades 2-12.

“I’ve wanted to do this for a long time,” Legault said. “I’ve done tutoring in the past and it’s always been meeting students in their homes, or in a coffee shop. It’s so not free of distractions and you really don’t get a lot accomplished. This is a distraction-free learning environment, which for me is a big piece that I’m excited about.”

While there may be a current need for helping families navigate remote learning, the business has more extensive goals, including offering writing workshops, SAT prep and summer break enrichment. 

Legault plans to continue teaching in the Burlington schools. Lewis, former owner of a car dealership, is the business’ chief operating officer. The partners have hired a tutoring workforce whose talents will drive what the business is able to offer. 

“We’ve hired a lot of amazing talent,” Legault said. “There are a lot of teachers out there that are looking for a non-traditional career in teaching … We really want to get creative with this. We can provide a large range of services based on the educational talent that we’ve found.”