'Above and Beyond': Michael Phillips, The Tutor

Just about everyone can name their favorite teacher of all time; that person who left a positive impression that is carried through life. Add 56-year old Michael Phillips to that list.

Phillips, who is a regular at the Barnes and Noble in Shreveport, has been tutoring children since he was 16. By day, Phillips is a computer executive. By night, he tutors a group of children at the popular bookstore using a pretty simple formula.

"First they have to see that what they're trying to do isn't that difficult," said Phillips.

Phillips' approach is no nonsense. He gets to know the personality of each pupil, assesses their strengths and weaknesses, and comes up with a plan of action.

"If you know who the student is, that is their personality type, or how the student is, that's how they are intelligent," said Phillips. "Those things will give you keys as to how to teach that particular student."

Phillips also uses tough love and it works so well, his students are comfortable calling him pet names like "Grandpa", "Uncle" and even "Head of the Cool Dude Club".

It's that connection he develops with students that empowers them to excel. Phillips says he can easily turn poor grades into good grades right away.

He points to one student Katelyn Wilson who went to him for help after making F's in math.

"We saw results right away," said Phillips. "She went from F's to C's in matter of weeks."

That's why he's not only popular with students, but their parents as well.

"It's given her (Katelyn) an edge," said Brenda Wilson, Katelyn's mother. "It's given her an excitement and self confidence.She can walk into a room and not be afraid of match anymore."

For Michael Phillips, going above and beyond is just a normal thing in his pursuit to educate every child that comes his way.

"They're all unique. You just have to find the button or the way to push the button for that particular student," said Phillips.

"He loves children," said Wilson. "He loves what he does and you can just see it on his face.  He's an amazing individual."

Michael Philips is currently tutoring 145 students. You can reach him at (318) 208-5493.

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