Personal Spelling Coach (PSC) Program
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Hexco's Personal Spelling Coach (PSC) system is designed to challenge and encourage serious students who are working toward advanced placement in the National Spelling Bee (NSB), the North South Foundation Bee, and/or the South Asian Bee. In 2013, 16 students in our coaching program earned their berth at the National Bee and we anticipate more in 2014. Experienced spellers attest that, at the highest levels of competition, the ability to "figure out" a word can be as vital as possessing a rich word foundation. Our coaches are trained to identify words your student has never seen before and emphasize understanding rules for spelling words from multiple language groups such as German, Spanish, French, Japanese, Italian, Russian, Hebrew, Latin, Greek, and more. Centered on advanced vocabulary augmentation and the understanding of language intricacies and patterns, Hexco's PSC program can help optimize study time while tapping into long‐term memory.
Michelle Horton is our original coach who assisted in developing the Spelling Coaching Program with Linda Tarrant. Michelle has been writing and editing products for Hexco for the past several years and has been coaching students using our new system for over four years. Prior to coaching Hexco spellers, Michelle coached her son using Hexco products, and he attended the National Bee three times, advancing to the semifinals his last two years. Her oldest daughter participated at the National level twice, and her youngest daughter has spelled in Washington once and has one more year of competition. Michelle is an expert grammarian who holds a Bachelor's degree in Secondary Education with a specialization in Chemistry. As head coach, she has developed instructions for approaching the spelling of words in various language families beyond what is in Hexco's Spelling Rules Book and has added multiple lists for each language family. Currently, Michelle is expanding the Personal Spelling Coach Program to include areas for improving vocabulary skills to meet the challenges of the new elements of the Contest. Her positive attitude helps build excellent rapport with students as she continues to receive stellar reviews from customers who have had the opportunity to benefit from her coaching, many of whom have made it to the higher rungs of the National Spelling Bee.
Dave Riddle is a retired attorney who resides in central Californial and coached his son to the National Spelling Bee in 2004. Dave himself won the 2005 title of National Senior Spelling Bee Champ and continues to participate in adult spelling bees around the country. In keeping his personal spelling skills sharp while offering time-tested suggestions, Riddle also understands what he calls, "Gut Dread," meaning the nervousness that comes with participating in spelling bees. With this experience, Riddle fills a unique role in our team when it comes to advising to ensure maximum comfort with spelling on stage. Riddle is known to devote quality time with each student and only takes on a limited number of students per season. As our newest coach, Riddle brings years of experience, and we are proud to have him on board! Read interview in Word Buff magazine: http://www.word-buff.com/spelling-bee-champion.html.
Sheryl Behling joined the Hexco coaching team in 2012 after successfully coaching her son to the 2011 Scripps National Spelling Bee. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in accounting from Arizona State University and is a certified public accountant (CPA) with previous auditing experience with one of the big four accounting firms. Her accounting proficiency makes her an effective coach with her auditor’s attention to detail. Sheryl has a passion for the English language and spelling and is an avid fan of the game “Scrabble.” She has four children and is very active in her children’s education having homeschooled her younger son. For fun, Sheryl enjoys participating in 5k running events with her family.
Linda Tarrant is the President of Hexco, Inc. and the primary author of most of the company’s advanced spelling products and other high‐level academic study materials. All three of Linda’s daughters participated at the National Spelling Bee (NSB) in 1987, 1989, 1992, and 1993. Linda manages and organizes Hexco’s PSC program by assisting coaches, reviewing and systematizing word lists, screening potential PSC candidates, and consulting with parents to help individualize a long‐term spelling strategy for coached students. Her direct interaction with students is limited, however, Linda continues to play a key role in the coaching process.
Kim Simon has worked with Hexco for over ten years. She started coaching her daughter in 1994 who finished second to George Thampy (the National Spelling Bee champ for the year 2000), at the regional level in her final year of eligibility. Kim remains active coaching students in her local school district, and in 2009, one of her students won her regional bee and progressed to the National Spelling Bee. Kim has a BS in Computer Science and a Master of Business Administration degree. Kim is also a certified line judge and occasionally works in tennis tournaments, including the U.S. Open.
"I participated in the 2012 NSB for the second and last time. This year, I was more prepared because of the personal coaching of Michelle Horton!" ~Caroline Willett