Higher Ground Learning Our Tutors

Higher Ground Learning is a team of local educators, graduate students, musicians, artists, athletes, and active community members. Our staff members' qualifications include university degrees and years of experience in diverse fields: special education, engineering, nursing, music, finance, public health, journalism, fine art, psychology, history, math, and chemistry. We share a passion for teaching, working with youth, and creative education.

Eric brown

Eric Brown

Executive Director

Eric Brown graduated from Princeton University with a BA in Anthropology. He claims he arrived in Utah by car (although legend has it he arrived by bear) and currently enjoys snowboarding, backpacking and volleyball. Eric has spent time teaching youth in wilderness therapy and experiential learning environments. Eric believes that making the interaction between student and tutor lively and interesting is paramount to a successful learning experience; Eric adds that “results will come naturally if the student enjoys the process.”

Eric specializes in ACT/SAT Test Prep, Calculus, Physics, and GRE/GMAT.

Jason topa

Jason Topa

Managing Director

As a wee lad, Jason watched "The Blizzard of Aahhh's" and vowed to move West and ride Snowbird's tram at least once. En route, Jason earned a BA in Philosophy from Brown University. He gleaned a lot of inspiration from some amazing professors who were skilled communicators that fostered real relationships with students. He believes that establishing a relationship with trust and respect is key to any student-tutor learning process. When not tutoring, Jason enjoys hiking, skiing, running, mountain biking, playing music, and writing. He prefers to constantly challenge himself mentally and physically.

Jason specializes in working with independent study students on a variety of subjects, ACT/SAT Test Prep, Algebra, Trig, and Calculus.

Jonnie hg

Jonnie Boyd-Field

Office Manager

Jonnie is a lover of coffee, people and the outdoors. After working in coffee shops and studying coffee culture for her Anthropology degree, she has decided to bring her inquisitive spirit to HGL. She is a big fan of education, enjoys being around people big and small and is excited to take on the task of keeping HGL organized. Jonnie graduated with her Anthropology degree from UVU and dreams of one day becoming an Anthropology professor.

Colton 2

Colton Wright

International Coordinator

Colton grew up in Idaho but was waylaid in Massachusetts at Tufts University, where he graduated with a degree in International Relations. During past winters he spent time tutoring at HGL and snowboarding the gnar at Snowbird, while the last 5 summers were spent fighting wildfires across the American West with the Bonnieville Hotshots. Now, Colton has returned year-round to coordinate the logistics of international classes, teach, and tutor. When he's not busy unleashing deft programmatic skills he is snowboarding or building fine creations in his woodshop.

Colton specializes in ACT/SAT Test Prep, all levels of Math, and Writing.

1609560 10151975833248725 2054307031 n (4)

Billy Thomas

International Test Prep

Billy is a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis and the University of Utah, with degrees in Business, Psychology, and Philosophy. When he’s not talking someone’s ear off about SAT prep, Billy enjoys traveling, snowboarding, and trying to recreate delicious restaurant meals at home. Though he can't sing and dance (but secretly wishes he could), Billy believes that an entertained class will learn better and so focuses on engaging students in a relatable way. Billy’s next projects include coding, yoga, and karate.

Billy specializes in ACT/SAT Test Prep.


Erin Acker

Erin came to Utah from the Pacific Northwest where she studied Environmental Science and Economics at Western Washington University. After she earned her BS she went on to Evergreen State College to study teaching. She is adept at communicating the intricacies of a wide range of subjects and is always looking for ways to challenge her students to achieve more than they thought possible. When she isn't teaching she is most likely playing outside - climbing or hiking (she completed over 1,400 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail in 2014)!

Erin specializes in all levels of Math, Science, and ACT/SAT Test Prep.

St george

Andie Arnold

Originally from Utah, Andie grew up in both Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska. When she isn't busy obsessing over candles, one can find her enjoying the outdoors by camping, hiking, and mountain biking. Andie believes that learning should be fun and wants her students to enjoy the work that they do. After finishing her Bachelors in Biology, she plans on receiving her Masters in Education in order to become a High School Biology teacher.

Andie specializes in Chemistry, Biology, Math, and Test Prep.


Devon Ericksen

International Test Prep

Hailing from Virginia, Devon stayed close to home and attended the University of Virginia, where she majored in Anthropology and minored in Global Sustainability. After graduation she has continued to learn and explore the world - which has included world-wide travel and teaching in Mexico. In her free time, among many things, Devon enjoys playing Ultimate Frisbee, studying neuroscience, and pursuing photography.

Devon specializes in ACT/SAT Test Prep.


Tiffany Han

International Test Prep

Tiffany attended UCLA where she earned a B.A. in English and American literature. She has traveled around the globe - a few of her adventures have included studying in France, working on Nantucket, and trekking through the Australian outback. She is educationally inspired by Anthony Bourdain but makes sure to incorporate much more patience into her travels and her teaching!

Tiffany specializes in ACT/SAT test prep.

11705395 627116737645 6031003841517658080 o

Heidi Jorgensen

Heidi graduated from SUU with her Bachelors in Math Education and is currently studying nutrition through Eastern Michigan University. Born and raised here in Utah, Heidi has also lived in New York, Ohio, Georgia, and Spain. She's a big fan of the outdoors so when she isn't busy teaching or studying she can be found in the mountains either running, hiking, or camping.

Heidi specializes in Math at all levels as well as ACT/SAT Test Prep.


Peter Josten

Raised in Idaho, Peter graduated with a degree in Botany from Idaho State University. An intrepid adventurer, he spends most summers collecting environmental data in the mountains and valleys of Alaska, Idaho, Utah, Washington, or Oregon. Following the sweet scent of Wasatch powder, he moved to Utah for the bodacious winters. Having worked a variety of jobs from construction to cooking, Peter believes that understanding how to learn is paramount for any student, regardless of his or her future career. His other interests include art, camping, hiking, tabletop gaming, and gardening.

Peter specializes in Chemisty, Biology, Statistics, Math, and ACT/SAT Test Prep.


Matthew Kaufmann

Matt attended the University of Florida where he graduated cum laude with a BA in Economics and a minor in Physics. He went on to the S.J. Quinney College of Law at the University of Utah where he earned a JD and graduated at the top of his class (fun fact: he argued before Chief Justice John Roberts)! He practiced law, specializing in corporate litigation, for several years and then decided to take a break and pursue many of his other interests, one of which is teaching! He brings a diverse skillset and knowledge base to all of his sessions and classes. When Matt isn't at Higher Ground he might be found traveling to teach internationally (with HGL), skiing, playing soccer, or eating cookies.

Matt specializes in Math, Physics, Stats, and Test Prep.

Daniel lee 1

Daniel Lee

Originally from Orange County, Dan enjoys basketball, tennis, and playing guitar. Dan received his Bachelor's in Math from Irvine, his Masters in Math from NYU, and is a current PhD student at the University of Utah. Once Dan has completed his PhD he would like to work as a professor at a research university. Building rapport is something that he believes to be one of the most important aspects of working with students.

Dan specializes in all levels of Math and ACT/SAT test prep.

Img 2234

Michael Lowden

International Test Prep

Born and raised in California, Michael graduated from UC Berkeley and embarked on a professional baseball career - playing in Germany and Australia. He has since returned to California, and when not traveling and teaching with Higher Ground, he enjoys all that the Sierra Nevada range has to offer. In additional to teaching and climbing up and down large chunks of rock, Michael spends his time playing guitar, reading, writing, and fly fishing.

Mike specializes in ACT/SAT Test Prep.


Henry Munson

Currently a student at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, Henry spends his summers instructing and tutoring back home in Salt Lake City. Like those who he finds inspiration from, Henry stresses the importance of a personal relationship with his students. When not at Higher Ground, Henry can be found fly fishing, hiking, and obsessively following Utes football.


Adam Netanel

International Test Prep

Adam grew up in the infamous and iconic Austin, Texas, but soon found himself in California - first in Los Angeles and then in San Diego. He earned a BA in Psychology and a minor in Latin American Studies from UCSD before embarking on travels across the globe. He loves language and music and has even studied sitar from a disciple of Ravi Shankar. He brings a personal approach to group teaching, with an acute awareness that every individual learns and "makes sense" of information in their own unique way.

Adam specializes in ACT/SAT Test Prep.


Emma Reay

International Test Prep

Emma grew up in the suburbs just outside of London and graduated from Oxford University with a BA in English. When she isn't teaching International Test prep classes for Higher Ground, she can be found creative writing, photographing landscapes and wildlife, visiting new places, or working for charity. She most recently worked for an education charity in Thailand that provided teaching volunteers to rural schools along the Myanmar border, where she acted as a mentor and manager to over one hundred volunteers of all ages and from all walks of life. Emma believes that education is a privilege that makes you more interesting and more interested.

Emma specializes in ACT/SAT Test Prep

Img 4501edit3

Lexie Wilson

Lexie came to HGL by way of Colorado and Idaho so that she could attend the University of Utah. She is pursuing an Honors degree in Physics and couldn't imagine studying anything else! Her approach to tutoring involves the student feeling totally comfortable and at ease, unafraid to ask questions and even sometimes make mistakes! Lexie tutors Calculus, Physics, Chemistry, and all assortments of math in addition to the ACT and SAT. When not at the U or tutoring, Lexie volunteers, skis, hikes, and consumes copious amounts of white cheddar popcorn!

Higher Ground Learning Application [MS Word]

Download the application above, fill it out, and e-mail it to us along with a resume and cover letter. Even if we're not hiring, we'll keep your resume on file and call you when a spot opens up. Thanks, and good luck!