Our Team

We know of no other company that provides the level of service that we do. Here is the incredible team that makes it all work.

Jay Bacrania

Owner & CEO

Jay is the CEO of Signet Education. He has taken a broad academic path that encompasses both the sciences and the humanities. As a high schooler, Jay won awards for chemistry at the state level in his home state of Florida, and at Harvard, he initially studied physics. However, he soon realized he wanted to explore the unknown from a different angle, and graduated with a degree in the comparative study of religion. After graduating, Jay spent two years studying jazz trumpet at the Berklee College of Music.

Jay is values-driven in his approach to both tutoring and running Signet. He believes that education and career are twin pillars vital to building a meaningful life. Jay continually experiments with how best to promote deeper learning and personal growth for himself, his staff, and the students who work with Signet. When he’s not at the office, Jay can be found at his home in Somerville, finding new and better ways to make a cup of coffee and spending time with his family.

Sheila Akbar

President & COO

Sheila joined the Signet team in the summer of 2010, bringing with her a wealth of experience teaching SAT, ACT, GRE, literature, and composition in both one-on-one and classroom settings. Sheila loves both teaching and learning, and finds nothing more rewarding than working closely with students to overcome the challenges they face. After graduating from Harvard in 2002, she spent two years working in financial services before continuing her academic career, which culminated in two doctorates. She brings her significant business and academic experience to bear on her current role at Signet, which includes managing the administrative team; ensuring the quality of our services; overseeing all of our tutors; developing curricula, pedagogical resources, and trainings; and providing educational thought leadership for the company. Sheila holds a bachelor's degree and master's degree from Harvard University and two doctoral degrees from Indiana University.

Chris Gathman

Associate Director of Educational Partnerships

Chris is the Associate Director of Educational Partnerships at Signet. He joined the Signet team in the summer of 2017. Chris' goal is to find ways to develop stronger partnerships with schools, professionals, community organizations, industry associations, and other educators. Chris is very passionate about education. In 2006, Chris graduated from Boston College with his Master’s in Business Administration. Chris also holds a Master’s in Educational Leadership from Florida State University. A former Division I athlete, Chris is active in local sport leagues and has an award winning Nutella-filled chocolate chip cookie recipe.

Andrea West

Associate Director of Tutor Development

Andrea joined the Signet team soon after graduating summa cum laude from Endicott College with a degree in Psychology and a minor in Dance. Her love of helping others and advocating for education makes Signet the perfect place to work! In her Tutor Development role, Andrea interviews and on-boards all of Signet's tutors, and works to create the best community possible for our staff. She is also a trained academic coach, allowing her to also mentor and guide students to personal and academic success.

Aside from working in Cambridge, Andrea is an active dancer in the Boston community. Currently, she is an acting board member for the local movement company ParadiseMoves, with whom she hosts workshops and performs regularly. Andrea also has a passion for mental health advocacy, and has spent the past two years volunteering with Boston's Samaritans line. She loves the Food Network, podcasts, and her pet fish Garbi, who lives on her desk in the Signet office.

Ellie Campisano

Education Manager

Ellie graduated from Harvard in 2008 with an honors degree in Comparative Study of Religion and completed a Master's in Childhood Education from TeacherU at Hunter College in 2014. During her time in college, Ellie tutored and mentored students from ages 8 through 18, helping them with everything from test prep and homework to college essays and applications. She has been tutoring for Signet since 2013, where she specializes in helping students identify their challenges and hone their skills to improve standardized test scores (primarily on SAT, ACT, GRE, and AP exams) and develop stronger reading comprehension and writing abilities.ed academic coach, allowing her to also mentor and guide students to personal and academic success.

Ellie has worked as a member of Teach For America's recruitment team, a teacher with Uncommon Schools, and a Deputy Campus Director and instructional coach with Citizen Schools at Bronx Writing Academy. She also spent a year working in Tanzania with 2Seeds Network, a small agricultural development NGO, and speaks Swahili. When she's not teaching, reading, or writing, Ellie loves doing Bikram Yoga, cooking, and traveling.

Freddy Lacourse

Educational Coordinator

Freddy began excelling in Spanish during his time in high school, attending Saint John's Preparatory school in Danvers, MA. There, he had the opportunity to travel to both Spain (Segovia) and Costa Rica (San Juan). He achieved a nearly perfect score on his entrance exam to Saint Michael's College (just outside of Burlington, VT) and jumped straight into high-level classes. Freddy took multiple Spanish classes each semester and was able to return to Spain for a semester abroad. He had the opportunity to stay with an elderly Pamplona native while travelling the northern countryside and taking classes at the Universidad Pública de Navarra (UPNA). Freddy ended his semester abroad by getting a job in Comillas, Spain, working for the Middlebury Monterey Language Academy.

Freddy has been tutoring since he was in college, and he has extensive training and experience as an academic coach. His work as a residential counselor for Spectrum Youth & Family Services in Burlington, VT, a transitional housing program for local homeless youth, has given him a deep understanding of young people. He enjoys mentoring for many different types of students. Freddy helps students improve their executive functioning in a wide variety of subject areas spanning the humanities and STEM.

Savannah Williams/Radecic

Office Coordinator/Receptionist

Savannah joined the Signet team in 2019, returning to the Boston area after living in Los Angeles for several years. She holds a BA in Media Arts from Emerson College and spent her time in LA working on commercials and music videos. She loves helping people reach their goals and become the best version of themselves; this led to her current role, “big helper” to the entire Signet family.

Savannah loves animals and is a big advocate for providing people with the proper tools to be responsible pet owners. She has traveled all over the United States and aims to visit every US National Park (so far she’s at 13/61).

Test Preparation“Jennifer was excellent! She was totally invested in A.'s success. A. increased his writing portion of the SATs by 90 points and his Math section by 50 points. His improvement was remarkable and absolutely because of his time spent with Jennifer.”