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Personal Spelling Coach


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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 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.

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.

Rebecca Willett competed in spelling bees from age 9-age 13, and she spelled at the Scripps National Spelling Bee in 2007 and 2008. Along the way, she studied Latin for six years, and Rebecca developed a deep love for words. Rebecca holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Piano Performance from the Cleveland Institute of Music. She was the first of three daughters in her home to attend the National Bee, as her two younger sisters also followed suit, each by competing at the National Spelling Bee twice. Rebecca is the ultimate 'word nerd' who develops excellent rapport with her students; Rebecca also serves as a resident assistant for chamber music events and is a "natural" at working with young children.

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 Southasian 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.

Caroline Willett - Bio coming soon!

Jonathan Horton - Bio coming soon!

"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

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.