For our latest Meet a Mom, we spoke with Erica Maltz, founder and CEO of WhizKidz Tutoring. This mom of three left a job in the corporate world to get her Masters degree in elementary education. She then taught elementary school for several years. When she and her husband started their family she stepped away from the classroom and did some work as a private tutor. When she saw how popular her tutoring services were she knew she had a business idea on her hands! Erica founded WhizKidz Tutoring with the intention of helping students of all ages gain confidence in themselves to successfully navigate and thrive in school.
We spoke to Erica about a wide range of topics from family and life in the Rivertowns, to what she learned about teaching and tutoring during a pandemic.
How many kids do you have and what are their ages?
I have three daughters, ages 10 (Naomi), 7 (Sloane), and 4 (Farrah)
What do you love about living in the Rivertowns?
I have lived in the Rivertowns for almost twelve years now and have become immersed in the community in so many ways. Besides the obvious gorgeous water front parks, restaurants and other local businesses, the people here really make the community. Down to earth, friendly and fun, I have found some of my closest friends and support systems here. When I moved to Irvington, I was told by people that the community would eventually help raise my children. As the saying goes, it takes a village, and I have found that here in the Rivertowns countless times!
What is your favorite thing to do/place to shop and dine in the Rivertowns?
Art XO Studio in Irvington has become a favorite place for my kids to take classes – and the virtual classes have saved us during the pandemic! Suzanne’s Table has fantastic home cooked meals for a quick pick-up off the train and Rivertown locals have used Suzanne’s countless times for Meal Trains for families going through hard times. And Brrzaar – a fan favorite amongst all of the kids in town and all train go-ers who grab coffee and breakfast there before heading into work.
What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
This question makes me laugh because most people who know me know that I’m an open book! I think people would surprised to know how much I have enjoyed the silver linings of quarantine and isolation due to the pandemic. I am a natural born extrovert and have found such enjoyment (and surprise!) in finding that the introverted side of me actually exists (and I enjoy her!)
Tell us about your career and background, how did it bring you to WhizKidz?
I started my career working at an executive search firm in Manhattan. I wanted to break into the business world, seeking a different type of career than my parents’, who are both in the mental health field. While I enjoyed the search firm, I found the helping professions started drawing me back in, so I decided to get my Masters and become an elementary school teacher.
I taught for several years before having my oldest daughter and staying home with her. Tutoring students became part of my daily life and I soon found that I was so busy, I was turning down new clients! I started a tutoring company where we worked mainly with elementary level students. WhizKidz was born in 2018 after we expanded to working with children of all ages.
At WhizKidz we work with children Pre-K through College, and we offer tutors, Executive Function Coaches, Standardized Test Coaches, College Counselors and College Essay Writing Support. We have general educators, special educators, all of whom are NYS Certified and with at least one Master’s Degree.
How has your job and your company changed as a result of COVID?
When the pandemic hit hard last March, parents started calling desperate for help. Their children were struggling with remote learning (especially the way things were last spring) and they were missing their friends and teachers.
We quickly pivoted to create pods where certified teachers would work with 4-6 children virtually, continuing the curriculum from where it was left hanging when schools abruptly closed. Families felt supported, kids felt connected, and we felt like we were doing right by our local families.
Our WhizKidz subsidiary, WK Pods was developed from this concept of virtual pods. WK Pods has been supporting children since September. We have pre-K pods of children whose parents did not want them to attend local pre-schools this year. We have elementary, middle, and high school pods that meet when school is not in person for everything from homework help to enrichment. We have debate pods, science pods, reading and writing pods, and everything in between!
When we started WK Pods, we prioritized hiring new teachers with daytime availability, and the flexibility of these teachers has been instrumental in helping children and families get through this difficult time.
How do you balance your career and family life? Any favorite tips you’ve received from a mentor or fellow mom?
The balance of career and family life is not easy for working mamas! And the balance of family life and becoming a new educator to your children is also not easy. My biggest struggle is feeling like I’m not giving 100% of me to either my career or family life. The pandemic forced me to a place of acceptance that I will not be 100% all of the time for either. And that needs to be okay!
The amount of pressure put on mothers is astronomical. We are all doing our best, loving our children, fulfilling our dreams through our careers. Some days it all seems to work perfectly- and others, the opposite. Striving for perfection will only hold us back. That is a tip I have received from my mentor – and I need to remind myself of it daily!
What are you looking forward to as we start to enter life post-COVID?
So much! I am looking forward to being on the sidelines of my daughters’ soccer games cheering them on, sitting outside with friends and family and laughing, vacations, back to school, and the world taking some sigh of relief at getting through this and healing.
Where can we go to get more information about WhizKidz and WK Pods?
You can go to our website here
WhizKidz Tutoring – 914.200.3512