Alan Houghtaling: Founder/Director of Evolve Tutoring & Coaching

Alan brings two decades of varied experience with children and adolescents to his leadership at Evolve, and the common thread has always been growth and helping them find their inspiration.

After studying English in college, devoting time to creative writing projects, and then doing some traveling, a pattern began to emerge. Whether mediating a dispute between neighborhood teens, gathering kids in Newfoundland for a game of Ultimate Frisbee, or connecting with street kids in Guatemala, he discovered a passion for working with young people. That realization set his journey in motion, and along the way Alan has:

  • Facilitated individual and group counseling with at-risk youth in Boston. Taking the time to truly learn how they experience their world was instrumental in helping these youngsters invest in themselves.
  • Guided and led Outward Bound modeled adventure trips for teens where activities such as rock climbing, backpacking, rafting, and ropes courses were utilized to coach kids to challenge their limits.
  • Created various after-school groups in the Greater Boston area that began to incorporate his therapeutic and experiential-based knowledge with an academic tutoring component.
  • Completed a number of mindfulness courses in order to better be able to introduce Evolve tutors, and our students, to these valuable concepts that help them personally and academically.

Ultimately, Alan has done academic tutoring and mentoring with hundreds of young people, and each of these experiences helped shape Evolve’s philosophy. He firmly believes that young people need someone to not only help them be better students but to also help them flourish in all areas of their lives.

Currently, in addition to his leadership of Evolve Tutoring, Alan also offers  Life Coaching to teens and young adults. Click here to learn more about that.

Alan is also a managing partner at Reset Boston serving as their Academic Director and consultant. In this role, Alan supports Reset Boston in their numerous programs for teens and young adults.

In his personal life, Alan is an avid learner, always trying to expand his knowledge base, and pushing himself to remain open to new challenges and experiences. He thoroughly enjoys reading, writing, mountain biking, following the local arts and sports scenes, and being with good friends and family. Mostly though, you can find him spending time with his wife, who is a Yoga Instructor & studio owner, and their ever-changing 5-year-old son, who keeps them both on their toes!


Our team of Boston tutors is dedicated to helping students learn and grow. They take their responsibility as a tutor and mentor seriously, each bringing a breadth of knowledge and skills to their work at Evolve Tutoring. They are carefully matched with their students, not just in terms of academics, but personally as well.

Our tutors in Boston are highly skilled academically, but can also relate to young people in an authentic way, enabling them to guide and teach students in a holistic and effective manner.

Here are just a few members of our incredible team.

Eric Axelman

I was raised in central Maine before going to Brown University, where I studied Environmental Science and did a great deal of experimental ecology research.

Though I enjoyed ecology, and am on two scientific papers, towards the end of college I began taking an increasing number of creative writing and black studies courses and decided that creative arts education was truly my passion.

In addition to tutoring, I now run a small educational nonprofit called Pushed Learning and Media and teach part-time at the Wheeler School in Providence, Rhode Island. I’ve tutored a variety of students at all different ages, and I really love the one on one learning opportunities that come with personalized tutoring.

Maia McPherson

I was raised in Brookline and attended the University of Colorado-Boulder, where I graduated summa cum laude in 2008 with a B.A. in anthropology. Since then, I have worked in a charter high school teaching reading, writing, and math skills, as well as an intensive group home counseling at-risk teenage girls. These experiences have taught me the patience, humility, and respect necessary to support a student as they move towards their personal goals.

I met Alan, Evolve’s founder when I was 11 years old. His mentorship played a vital role in my development as a child, and I am now happy to count Alan as one of my best and most inspiring friends. I enjoy tutoring within the Evolve framework because it adheres to a meaningful model of growth for children, teens, and adults. Evolve seeks to make a lasting, positive impact on a student’s view of academics and him or herself as a whole.

Currently, I am a graduate student at the Bread Loaf School of English. I enjoy writing (mostly poetry), painting, running and hiking. I travel whenever I can, making an extra effort to go to Croatia every year to visit family and friends.

Harrison Ackerman

I moved to Boston from Northport, NY in 2011 to attend Northeastern University to study Political Science & International Affairs, with additional minors in Economics, Social Entrepreneurship, and History. I graduated Summa Cum Laude in 2015.

Highlights of my undergraduate experience include involvement with the Social Enterprise Institute, leadership with the Northeastern University Political Review, and self-developing a six-month international co-op conducting economic development research high in the Peruvian Andes with Threads of Peru. Since graduation, I have been excitedly working in program and impact evaluation as a Program Associate at Interise, a national nonprofit based in Boston that builds small business capacity for economic growth and shared prosperity.

I thoroughly enjoy working with Evolve because Alan’s holistic approach to the tutoring process and experience involves so much more than a transactional knowledge transfer. Working with students to understand learning style, build trust and self-confidence, and have fun along the way is a mutually shared vision that I am proud to pursue. I also just love helping others understand algebra!

When I’m not geeking out over data or tutoring with Evolve, I most enjoy backpacking, composting, and homebrewing.

Laney Evers

I was raised in Falmouth, Maine, and attended Duke University where I received a B.S. in biology and minor in chemistry. I concentrated in cell and developmental biology and worked in a molecular genetics lab studying Drosophila wing mutations.
After I graduated in May 2016, I set off on a solo backpacking trip through Southeast Asia for two months, one month of which I spent on the Thai island of Koh Samui studying yoga, where received my 200hr yoga instructor certification. I spent the remainder of my time exploring the Indonesian islands.
Since returning to the United States in September 2016, I moved to Boston and began working in a clinical research lab at Boston University School of Medicine studying the neurodegenerative disease called Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). We primarily study the brains of prior NFL and college athletes to develop clinical consensus criteria to diagnose and ultimately treat CTE. I am also currently applying to medical school. I have always been fascinated with science, all aspects of it, and love learning about it and sharing what I know.
Outside of lab, I love being outside, running, doing yoga and cooking.

Chis Oates

Since graduating from Brown University in 2012 with a B.A. in Religious Studies, I have had the privilege of working with students all across the world. I spent two and a half years in rural Thailand teaching EFL, and also worked as a tutor here in the Boston area helping students with test prep, math, and writing, including the GED and the SAT. In high school,

In high school, I enjoyed and excelled in the maths and sciences, receiving perfect scores on the AP’s for Calculus (BC) and Physics (C) (as well as in Latin, English, and Art History as well). While I have worked with students of all ages and of diverse backgrounds, I especially enjoy helping students who struggle with ADHD or other organizational challenges.

In addition to my role as an educator, I am also a passionate translator of Thai and an avid painter.

Kailee Himes

I’m originally from Boulder, Colorado and made my way to the East coast to attend the University of Connecticut. I graduated in May of 2015 with a degree in Actuarial Science with a focus on Finance. I tutored students throughout my college career and also was involved in programs to promote student leadership and community involvement in local high schools.

I currently work in the market research industry, specifically testing the package design of consumer packaged goods. With my passion for education and administration, I plan to attend graduate school for Higher Education & Student Affairs.

Outside of work, I enjoy taking road trips, reading, creating delicious baked goods, and traveling.