Greg Kulander’s five Huntington Learning Center locations are making an impact that extends beyond academics. Greg is utilizing his wealth of knowledge to pave the way for students to find their confidence and reach their academic goals.
During his non-profit work, Greg discovered that one of the roadblocks preventing many youths from successfully transitioning to a career was a lack of basic skills – reading, writing and math. So, he commenced a search for an opportunity that would allow him to address this critical need at an earlier age.
Discovering Huntington Learning Center
During Greg’s search, he heard that the Huntington Learning Center location in Portland, Oregon was for sale. He was excited to learn about the proven Huntington system for providing the best education possible for every student. Greg has always understood the importance that self-confidence plays in a child’s life; if a child believes in themself, anything is possible. So, when he found out that one of the central tenets of the Huntington philosophy is the integral connection between skills, confidence and motivation, Greg was certain that this was a sign to begin his entrepreneurial journey and in February 2014 he became the official new owner.
Under his ownership, Greg has focused on hiring and retaining the best tutors and administrative staff. “We’re in a people business, therefore, the people you have on your team are your most important asset,” said Greg. Greg recruits managers who share his same values and background, which include: providing quality customer service, a deep understanding of education, strong attention to detail, and overall, a love for children.
“I’ve learned that the best way to retain staff is to make sure they are provided with the resources they need to be successful, including on-the-job training and opportunities for professional and personal growth,” said Greg. He continues “the Huntington Learning Center corporate team provides a multitude of training and other opportunities for professional interactions with other centers so that best practices can quickly be disseminated. My team feels like they are part of a larger team of supportive individuals.”
Boosting Confidence through Education
Knowledge and skills lead to confidence, which in turn generates further motivation. “When students are knowledgeable about a subject, they feel more confident when speaking in front of a class or taking a test, and the success they experience serves to motivate them to work even harder to build their skills,” Greg submits. The mission of Huntington, which is to give every student the best education possible, creates confidence through building skills, which furthers motivation and alas virtuous circle of Skills-Confidence-Motivation.
“We must look at the bigger picture. It’s not always about Math or English, it’s about teaching the students why it’s important, how it relates to their lives and building confidence by showing them what they can do with that knowledge,” said Greg.
A significant number of the students attending Greg’s centers face challenges caused by ADHD, Dyslexia, or other learning difficulties. Greg and his staff know how to flexibly meet the needs of every child. It starts by making the students feel comfortable and supported, so they are able to dedicate their focus to learning.
“One of the many things I have learned to appreciate over the past eight years is the extreme diversity of brain “architecture” and development. So many of our students do not fit into the middle of the bell curve but have special challenges and often special abilities. Our tutoring thus cannot be a one size fit all approach but must be individually tailored to each child’s particular circumstance. I think that this is absolutely one of the strengths of the Huntington system.”
Finding Confidence Through Troubling Times
Students across the globe have struggled academically due to the COVID-19 pandemic. After almost two and a half years of virtual or semi-virtual learning, many students are testing one or more grade levels behind where they should be. Huntington Learning Center is a key asset to assist students as they catch up. Greg further says, “Not only do we help with students’ academics, but we also help support their socio-emotional development by providing them another set of caring adults in their lives.”
Parents of the children that attend Greg’s Huntington Learning Center locations rave about the care, attention and time Greg and his team put into the betterment of each student. “I appreciate the personalized attention and consideration when choosing teachers for the kids and the individualized plan based on their assessments. Also, the fact that they truly care about the child and you can tell with all their interactions. Jasmine and Ellie are amazing. My boys loved going to see Dante and David! Thank you so much for saving my kids and restoring their joy for learning during COVID. (E.D., Valencia Mom)
Expanding his Tutoring Franchise
Over the years, Greg has continued to open and acquire several more Huntington Learning Center locations. He acquired a second Portland, Oregon location in December 2015. In March 2019 he acquired a third location in Encino, CA and a fourth in September 2020 in Valencia, CA, both in the Los Angeles area. He recently expanded with a fifth location near Salt Lake City, UT.
Greg is currently in the process of establishing a larger team to help manage all five of his centers before expanding his portfolio. Since joining Huntington, Greg has expressed deep appreciation for the Huntington corporate team and the Huntington community that he has become part of during this journey. “Huntington is the best tutoring service. When the kids come to us, they never want to leave,” said Greg.
Before Huntington Learning Center
Greg lived and worked abroad for 20 years and earned his Ph.D. in Chinese Studies from a Danish university. He has been an academic, an international businessman, a nonprofit leader and is now an entrepreneur with his own growing business. A seeker of serial challenges, he states that Huntington is the most meaningful and fun “job” that he has ever had. Every day is a different challenge, and every day he knows that he is making a difference in a child’s life.
When Greg returned to the States, he began working for a non-profit organization that helps students get connected with business and career opportunities. This included assisting students with internships, setting up job shadows, and bringing professionals into classrooms. He strongly believes that it is vital to make learning relevant for students, and that includes the learning that occurs at his Centers, where tutors are always guided to explain the Huntington-School connection to students every day – how what they do at the center helps them in school.