Our Founder


Founder Zena R. Smith

Zena Smith grew up with five brothers in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in an apartment project complex located in the tough steel town neighborhoods of Pittsburgh’s Hill District. Although this environment was filled with crime, violence, poverty and urban despair, Zena is one of the Hill District’s shinning success stories.

Zena rose above the temporary disadvantages of her childhood socio-economic status on the wings of her lifelong passion – education. Because of the wise council of her family patriarch “Centennial Samuels,” Zena fully immersed herself in reading, math and the sciences by the age of 8. As a result of her early commitment and dedication to excellence, Zena excelled within elementary and secondary school. She achieved distinguished academic honors as a National Honor recipient and member of the Principal’s Dean’s List. Zena ranked in the top 5% of her graduating High School class of 1980.

Zena was heavily recruited by many prestigious universities including Carnegie Mellon University, Case Western Reserve, Boston University, and Spelman College. She enrolled in Spelman College, excelling academically and continuing to build on her reputation as a scholar with a staunch commitment to education and excellence. Zena received many academic awards and scholarships including Summa cum Laude, Alpha Kappa Mu Honor society and Dean’s List 80-84.

Upon graduation in 1984, Zena began her professional career with the Big-8 accounting firm Deloitte Haskins & Sells, further developing her analytical skills and professional capabilities. Zena’s keen awareness and strong interpersonal skills led her to multiple positions of leadership and employee development within the firm.

Frustrated by a lack of effective learning philosophies in the public schools, Zena leveraged her strong academic background and business acumen to launch a major educational initiative in early 2011.

That initiative has evolved into the premier educational institution, owned and operated by Zena Smith, MASTERs Plus Tutoring.

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