Meet the Team

Ms. Patricia Zylka

Ms. Zylka received her master’s degree from Syracuse University and is certified by New York and Virginia in English and Gifted and Talented education. Ms. Zylka has written curriculum for both New York State and Fairfax County.  She has taught at every grade level with a focus on AP Language, AP Literature, and International Baccalaureate English. With her years of professional tutoring experience, Ms. Zylka is a specialist in academic prep and has helped many students acheive perfect scores on tests like the TJHSST admission test, SAT, PSAT and ACT. Aside from teaching classes at MyTjPrep, Ms.Zylka is actively involved in the development of our English curriculum.

Mr. Ram Mada

Mr. Mada has been teaching mathematics for over 15 years. He holds Masters Degrees in Mathematics and Education and a Pre-PhD in Education. Ram is one of the authors of Tests for Higher Standards, which is used by school boards across the country. He has experience as Department Chair and Team Lead in various high schools. Ram's approach combines a highly intuitive approach to mathematical problem solving and enthusiasm for the subject to help his students excel. Mr.Mada is also a successful TJ / AOS parent.

Dr. Suresh Subramaniam

Dr. Subramaniam is a Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the George Washington Univerity in Washington DC. He joined GWU as an Assistant Professor after receiving his PhD in Electrical Engineering from the University of Washington (Seattle) in 1997. At GWU, he conducts research into next-generation telecommunication and computer networks, and teaches courses on a wide variety of subjects including computer networks and computer organization. Dr. Subramaniam is also a successful TJ parent.

Dr. Fariba Ghasghaee

Dr. Fariba is a highly accomplished chemistry teacher in Virginia public schools. She has certification in three states including Virginia. Dr Fariba has 18 years of  experience in teaching regular, honors and AP chemistry to high school and college students. She holds a Ph.D in chemistry from George Washington University.

Ms. Betsy Dill

Ms. Dill has taught creative writing and studio art for the past eight years in private school settings. She was nominated for the Disney Teacher Awards, honoring creativity in teaching. An award-winning humor and inspirational writer, and director of a professional writers organization in the D.C. metro area, she has been published in newspapers, magazines, and anthologies such as Hallmark’s Laughing Out Loud.

Ms. Padgett


Ms. Padgett received her degree in English from James Madison University and has been teaching English in Virginia schools for fifteen years. She has her endorsement in Gifted and Talented Education and has specialized in International Baccalaureate English. Ms.Padgett has received extensive training in evaluating writing on the HL (higher level) exams and has written an IB Writing Manual. In addition, she has served as IB team leader and trained other teachers in evaluating writing.

Mr. Venkata Are

Mr. Are is the founder and strategic planner of MyTjPrep (Prepare2Excel). An experienced middle school math competitions coach, he has been training kids for over six years. Venkat  introduced the MathCounts and AMC 8 programs at Oak Hill ES in 2008 and coached their math team. During the 2009-2010 school year, he introduced the AMC 8 and American Computer Science League competitions at Rachel Carson Middle School, coaching several students to spectacular success. He has also trained several kids from the Rachel Carson and Nysmith MathCounts teams. Venkat has been actively involved in NorthSouth Foundation's educational contests for several years and he is the regional coordinator for the Virginia Chapter till 2011. Venkat holds a masters degree in Management Information Systems. He is also a successful TJ parent.