Christina Lazar

Founder, CEO

Christina Lazar is an honor graduate from the College of Education at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Originally from Upstate New York, Christina has worked as a mentor, teacher, coach and advocate of children for over twenty-five years. She has professional relationships with teachers, administrators and academic facilitators throughout many CMS and private schools in the area. With the support of her former school administration, parents of students, and colleagues, she opened The Lazar Center of Learning & Achievement in 2007 with a desire to balance her career and family, while making a difference in the education of children.

Johnakin Martin:

Center Director

Johnakin joined the Lazar Center in the fall of 2016. She has a Masters in Math Education and resides in Rock Hill, SC. After years of working with students of all ages in math and organizational skills, her favorite moments are when students let out an audible “Ohhh!” when they master a new skill, or solve a difficult problem. She has an outgoing and favorable personality which students of all ages gravitate toward. She was recently named Director of The Lazar Center and will still be engaged in student sessions every day as she supports, leads and plans for the tutors.

Ashley Miskar

Lead Tutor and K-2 Curriculum Specialist

Ashley is a graduate of the State University of New York at Oswego with a Bachelor’s Degree in Childhood Education and a Master’s Degree in Special Education. Ashley moved to the Charlotte area in August of 2013. Within the CMS district she has taught first, second, and third grades. She is currently a lead teacher on her grade level, and prior to relocating Ashley worked in a variety of upper elementary grades while teaching in the state of New York. Ashley has always had a passion for teaching and a desire to help others be confident and successful! She is a lead tutor and K-2 Curriculum Specialist at the Lazar Center.

Rachael Smith


Rachael graduated from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro with a Bachelors of Arts degree in Political Science and her licensure in Secondary Education. She currently teaches American History at Zebulon B. Vance High School. At the Lazar Center, Rachael supports students in ELA, Social Studies, and with executive functioning skills. She takes pride in encouraging students to take ownership of their learning and advocating on their behalf. 

Alicia Malpiedi


Alicia graduated from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelors of Science in Education and certification in Middle School Math. She moved to Charlotte in 2011 and secured a position as a math teacher at Southwest Middle School. During her time at SWMS she pioneered the Builder's Club; a community service organization for middle school students sponsored by the Kiwanis. Alicia's favorite thing about teaching is the opportunity to become a part of her students’ lives forever. While she no longer teaches in the traditional classroom, she enjoys working at LCLA and lives for the look on a student’s face when they have an “a ha” moment. Alicia is also a phenomenal baker of all things delicious. :)

Tess Mendoza


Tess joined the team of tutors at The Lazar Center in 2018. She graduated from Rowan-Cabarrus Community College in 2017 and is currently pursuing a B.S. in Mathematics at UNCC. Tess began tutoring at Rowan-Cabarrus where she received her tutoring certification from the College Reading and Learning Association. She specializes in high level math and science courses and loves helping students understand challenging concepts. Her favorite part of tutoring is seeing a student take what they have learned and teach it someone else.

Sydney Pund


Sydney is a graduate of Clemson University where she pursued a dual degree in Mathematics and Computer Science. She worked as an undergraduate teaching assistant at Clemson for two years before graduating and moving to Charlotte. She currently holds a position at Ally Financial in Cybersecurity and enjoys tutoring students at the Lazar Center in the evenings. She loves working with students to help them learn new concepts and hopes to inspire others to pursue careers in science and technology!

Laura Duggan


Laura recently joined the Lazar Center team as a lead tutor for English and Language Arts. She has taught in CMS as a 9th grade ELA teacher, at South Mecklenburg High School for the past four years and believes that all children can learn, but that not all children learn the same way.

Courtney Hodges


Courtney is a graduate of East Carolina University where she received her degree in Elementary Education with a concentration in Mathematics. She has multiple years of tutoring experience, in a variety of grade levels. She currently teaches 6th grade math in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School District. Courtney loves challenging students to help them discover their inner mathematician!

Mikayla LeGrande


Mikayla is a graduate of High Point University with a Bachelors of Science Degree in Actuarial Science and a Minor in Mathematics. She is currently pursuing her Masters degree in Actuarial Science at Lock Haven University. She has four younger siblings and experience tutoring in all grade levels. Her favorite part of tutoring is seeing how proud sttudents can become of themselves when they figure out a problem on their own and then are able to explain exactly what they did. She looks forward to focusing on math, science and study/organizational skills with Lazar Center students this year!

Emily Reece


Emily recently graduated from Central Peidmont Community College and she is now pursuing a B.A. in Mathematics at The University of North Carolina at Charlotte with the goal of becoming a high school Mathematics teacher. Emily loves seeing students have that "aha" moment and watching them grow more and more confident in their skills. She has a knack for spanish and english grammar as well, and students love her outgoing personaility and sense of humor.

Jaclyn Lyons


Jaclyn graduated from Roger Williams University in 2018 with a Bachelors of Science in Mathematics. Throughout her four years at college, she was a math tutor for various courses and even got the opportunity to train new tutors her senior year. She moved to Charlotte in May 2018 and quickly began working as a Quality Assurance Analyst for Brighthouse Financial Insurance Company. Jaclyn joined the Lazar Center in January of 2019. Her favorite part about tutoring is seeing how much a student can grow, whether it’s during one session or throughout the year!

Mary DiChito

Administrative Assistant

Originally from Dayton, Ohio, Mary moved to New York City and stayed for 22 years, where she made a career in Graphic Design & Illustration, working primarily in the Cosmetic & Fragrance industry. She is thrilled to have found a great way to elevate her pursuit of caring for families by assisting Christina, the students, families and tutors at The Lazar Center of Learning & Achievement.

Jordan Douglas


Jorrdan graduated from the State University of New York at Potsdam and is currently pursuing a masters at Eastern Carolina University for Reading and English as a Second Language. She lived in Port Saint Lucie Fl, where she taught six grade for three years before moving to Charlotte. She is currently in herr third year of teaching 4th grade at Greenway Park Elementary School. Her favorite part of teaching and tutoring is motivating students and watching their love for learning grow.

Sandra Thornbug

Account Manager

Hayley Pfau


Hayley Pfau graduated with a degree in Elementary Education from East Carolina University. She has taught 5th grade for the past few years, and just recently began teaching 3rd grade at Sterling Elementary School in Charlotte. She loves to read and her favorite moment is when a child falls in love with reading too. She is thrilled to join The Lazar Center in order to show children that learning can be fun and she loves how excited students are when they come to the center each afternoon.