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Personal Spelling Coach


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Personal Spelling Coach

Personal Spelling Coach (PSC) Program
CALL 830-367-3825 or Email hexco@hexco.com

Download detailed information sheets

The 2015 National Spelling Bee champion Gokul Venkatachalam was coached by Hexco and he is now part of our coaching team! The year 2016 marked the 19th National Champion in a row to use Hexco products.

Start now to get a good number of words under your student's belt before the annual lists are released in the fall. 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. 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.

  • 8 Sessions - $2,100 includes 1 hour of one-on-one weekly or bi-weekly quizzing and coaching
  • 16 Sessions - $3,450 includes 1 hour of one-on-one weekly or bi-weekly quizzing and coaching
  • Assessment - $375 (included in first 8-session payment or paid separately if a student or parent chooses not to enroll)
  • Includes study lists provided in eMentor format per 8 weeks. Word lists provided in this select package are exclusive to coached students. All lists remain available to participants as long that they remain in the coaching program. Once a student exits the coaching program, access to the eMentor package is discontinued. The eMentor lists are added to student accounts as assignments by the coach.


  • Language information and associated word list
  • Additional word lists, including difficult to spell eponyms, homonyms, trademarks, etc.
  • Latin and Greek root assignments
  • Assignment of words in Verbomania and New Nat's Notes
  • Weekly quizzing on assigned word lists plus unfamiliar words to learn skills in fielding unknown words
  • Specific email feedback on student progress and problems


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 seven years. Prior to coaching Hexco spellers, Michelle coached all of her children using Hexco products, and they together spelled at the National Bee a total of seven years. Michelle’s youngest, Mary, ultimately tied for fifth place at the NSB in her final attempt and has since aged out of the 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 many language families and beyond. Currently, Michelle is expanding the Personal Spelling Coach Program to include new areas for mastery for coaching students as well as working with Linda Tarrant to convert our current program to include coaching eMentors for the PSC program. 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.

Kim Willett has a BA in Developmental Psychology from William and Mary and an MSW in Clinical Social Work, Child and Family Therapy from Virginia Commonwealth University. She began spelling coaching her own children 11 years ago and has been using Hexco products for 8 years.  All three of her daughters have each competed in the Scripps National Spelling Bee twice (2007, 2008. 2009, 2012, 2015, 2016). Kim has homeschooled her children for 16 years and runs the local homeschool spelling bee. Her education in developmental and learning theories combined with her love of words have helped her develop strategies for spelling studies.  She believes that the family is an important part of the spelling team and, therefore, keeps in communication with spellers’ parents.  Kim loves spellers and develops strong, trusting relationships with each student which leads to a coach/student/parent team that can work diligently toward the common goal.

Dave Riddle is a retired attorney who resides in central California 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. He was the last audience member standing in a Broadway performance of the 25th Putnam County Spelling Bee (See his article recounting the hilarious bee at http://www.word-buff.com/25th-annual-putnam-county-spelling-bee.html). Dave himself has been the pronouncer in over 50 adult and student bees.  In keeping his personal spelling skills sharp while offering time-tested suggestions, Dave also understands what he calls, "Gut Dread," meaning the nervousness that comes with participating in spelling bees. With this experience, Dave fills a unique role in our team when it comes to advising to ensure maximum comfort with spelling on stage. He is known to devote quality time with each student and only takes on a limited number of students per season.  Dave brings years of experience, and we are proud to have him on board!  Read entertaining interview in Word Buff magazine: http://www.word-buff.com/spelling-bee-champion.html.

Linda Tarrant is the President of Hexco, Inc. and the primary author of most of the company’s advanced spelling products and other highlevel 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 longterm spelling strategy for coached students. Her direct interaction with students is limited, however, Linda continues to play a key role in the coaching process.

Suanne Rudley loves words and the unique individuals who excel at spelling them. She was introduced to competitive spelling when she coached her own daughter to a sixth place finish at the 2004 National Spelling Bee. Suanne likens her work with her spellers to that of an athletic coach who focuses on building skills, providing encouragement and support, and helping students bring their best to every competition-while never forgetting to inject humor and fun into the process. She received her undergraduate degree in history and English from the University of Pennsylvania and a law degree from the University of Virginia.

Roshini Asirvatham is a freshman at the University of California, Berkeley. She attended the Scripps National Spelling Bee twice in 2010 and 2012 after winning the SE Minnesota Regional Spelling Bee, and participated in the North South Foundation National Spelling Bee every year from 2006-2012. She earned 4th place at both the 2012 North South Foundation National Bee and the 2012 National South Asian Bee.

Gokul Venkatachalam - Gokul Venkatachalam is a sophomore in high school. He competed in the National Spelling Bee 4 times, placing 10th, 19th, 3rd, and eventually becoming a co-champion in 2015. He is also a champion of the South Asian Spelling Bee. He has a deep passion for language patterns and roots, and uses his knowledge to help his students become the best spellers they can possibly become.

Meera Suresh has been involved in the spelling bee world for 5 years now, participating in the CBS San Francisco Regional Spelling Bee all 5 years. She went to the National Spelling Bee in 2015 and tied for 50th place. She will be entering her freshman year at Cupertino High School in the fall of 2016.

Snehaa Ganesh Kumar has 9 years of experience in spelling bees, starting from kindergarten and continuing through eighth grade. She competed in the Scripps National Spelling Bee in 2015, tying for 4th place, and in 2016, becoming the runner-up. Snehaa has demonstrated a great mastery of language during her studies for the National Spelling Bee and is looking forward to sharing her expertise with spellers who are excited to participate in Scripps bees. Coaching is her way of giving back to the spelling community and working with spellers in an area of her life that she loves. Read Snehaa's story here: http://www.sacbee.com/opinion/op-ed/article153606574.html

Jonathan Horton - Jonathan participated in the National Spelling Bee in 2005, 2006 and 2007 achieving a nationwide placement of 22nd, 6th, and 8th place in each respective year. Since then, he has been coaching for Hexco for several years and has successfully coached several students to the upper echelons of the National Spelling Bee. He has obtained a Bachelor of Science from George Mason University as a double major in Applied Mathematics and Computer Science. He is currently working as a developer with a prominent company in Champaign, Illinois while coaching students for Hexco in his time off. His love and knowledge of words and their languages is deep. He enjoys working with his students by sharing his knowledge base and teaching them effective strategies that will help them build theirs.

Navya Murugesan has been fascinated by words ever since she can recall. She has been highly involved in the spelling world for six years. She competed at the 2014 NSB, but fell short by just a few points to make semi-finals. She won the 2016 National Beta Club Spelling Bee. She also tied for 7th at the 2016 National South Asian Spelling Bee and tied for 6th at the North South Foundation National Spelling Bee. In her opinion, in the spelling world, words are strings from the mind to the rest of the world, and spellers are the weavers of those strings. Navya started coaching following her own spelling success and was one of Ananya Vinay's (2017 NSB Champion) coaches. Navya also coached two other students who previously placed 4th at regionals, and with her coaching, they both qualified for Scripps. One of those students was, Shrinidhi Gopal, who as a first-timer tied for 7th place at the 2017 NSB; the other student was Sharanya Pastapur. From previous experience, as much as Navya loved competing, she has a passion to coach spellers. She looks forward to sharing her knowledge, strategies, and concepts with more spellers. Coaching is her way of staying involved with the spelling community. Navya is currently a sophomore in high school, and as much as spelling is important to her, so is academics. Therefore, she is also taking college level classes in preparation for college. She hopes to attend an Ivy or other selective colleges such as Yale, Rice, Harvard, or Stanford.

Arushi Kalpande is a rising sophomore in high school. She participated in her first spelling bee when she was six years old, and spelling quickly became her passion. She eventually made it to the Scripps National Spelling Bee, where she placed 47th in 2014, and 22nd in 2015 and 2016. She has also competed in the South Asian and NSF spelling bees several times. Arushi is excited to continue to be a part of the spelling community and share her love of words with her students.

Nikhil Lahiri from Painted Post, NY started participating in school spelling bees since 5th grade.  Every year he enhanced his repertoire of words and took pride in representing his schools at Scripps regional spelling bees.  Inspired by his personal experience at other national level competition in 2016 and watching the championship NSB runs of friends on ESPN, he decided to target the big stage at NSB.  Leveraging the Fast Track, personal coaching and other Hexco products he rapidly accelerated his personal learning pace in his first and final attempt at NSB in 8th grade.  With this solid spelling foundation and an incredible amount of hard work, he developed his own master study plan and was rewarded with a placement of 23rd at the 2017 NSB.  As a Hexco coach, he is looking forward to share his learning experiences, best practices with use of Hexco tools and help highly motivated students achieve their goals.

Akshra Paimagam won her very first spelling bee competition in second grade and that victory encouraged her to pursue the ultimate prize: competing at the Scripps National Spelling Bee. She had her first opportunity in 2015 when she not only made it to the NSB, she tied for 39th place and made it into the semifinals on her very first attempt. A setback in 2016 spurred her to even deeper study. With determination, she used the PSC Coaching program and her own personal study to earn her berth at the NSB in 2017. In the 2017 NSB, she surpassed her previous placement and placed 23rd. She also placed 9th in the highly competitive North South Foundation Spelling Bee. Akshra is excited to share her love and knowledge of spelling to new spellers in Hexco’s coaching program.

Aditya Rao is a college freshman at the University of Pennsylvania. He plans to major in Biological Basis of Behavior, the neuroscience program, in addition to minoring in Linguistics, Classical Studies, and possibly Mathematics. In addition to being selected as a member of the Student Committee on Undergraduate Education, PennScience, the Penn Bioethics Journal, and the Penn Undergraduate Law Journal, he currently holds a research position at the Children’s Hospital of Pennsylvania. He competed in spelling bees since elementary school, but began to prepare seriously as a speller at the end of seventh grade, when he started with Hexco’s Personal Spelling Coach program. He qualified to the Scripps National Spelling Bee in 2013, making it to the semifinals and placing 19th.

Mitchell Robson is a rising high school sophomore. He has always had an interest in words, and became an avid reader at a young age. Mitchell follows in the footsteps of his grandfather and uncle, both of whom shared a passion for tutoring. Since the fourth grade, Mitchell has tutored math, and expanded to spelling in later years. Mitchell participated in the 2014, 2015, and 2016 Scripps NSBs. After missing the semifinals by one point in 2015, he decided to increase his studying exponentially, which paved the way for his tie for 7th place in the 2016 NSB. Mitchell believes firmly that with proper coaching and dedicated study time, almost anyone has the potential to be an elite speller. As a speller and a coach, Mitchell chooses to balance some memorization techniques with an advanced understanding of linguistic patterns to ensure that students are well-equipped to piece together words and successfully spell on stage, even when hearing a word for the first time. As a freshman, Mitchell took a college-level AP Calculus class, was the only freshman in his high school to receive the Brother Linus merit award that covers full tuition for one year, and has aspirations to make a positive difference in this world. Read his Boston Globe article here: https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2016/05/26/danvers-students-advances-national-spelling-bee-finals/dlrMck75FbmtVRIKkbTyHI/story.html#comments

Thank you again for the coaching, the guidance, the access and the support! We are no less excited for our third year of participation in the Oral Bee and look at this as an ongoing wondrous journey for which we’re grateful, regardless of outcome. Certainly for the word nerds in our family, this is a scintillating endeavor! ~C.L.

Personal coaching is non-refundable once you begin the program due to a limited number of slots available and the time it takes to customize sessions in advance. View or download non-disclosure form.