Grantly is a Nashville local and University School of Nashville alum. Soon after Graduating from Dartmouth College with a degree in economics and studio art, Grantly founded GRANITE®. Fascinated by understanding student motivation, productivity, and goal creation, Grantly has contributed to research studying factors impacting motivation and decision-making (specifically as it pertains to mindfulness) at both Dartmouth College and Vanderbilt University.
Grantly likes to refer to these factors as “Test Taking Intangibles”®; he works to ensure all students at his center have a rich understanding of both standard academic content (math, grammar, etc.) as well as the intangibles of test taking (calm, focus, nutrition, etc.)
Grantly is a certified KORU™ mindfulness instructor and has taught mindfulness classes for stress reduction and academic performance at his home base (GRANITE®), as well as Vanderbilt University and Dartmouth College.
When not working with students, Grantly plays in a couple Nashville area tennis leagues; he loves cooking Indian food, charcoal drawing, and playing guitar. Most of all, Grantly loves talking with families and students about how they can achieve their academic goals!
Director of Education
Landon Funk is a Nashville native and graduate of Princeton University, where she majored in English and African American Studies and was captain of the Women’s Varsity Golf Team. Since college, Landon has dedicated her life to education and wellness in the hopes of making the world a much calmer and more understanding place. She received her 200 hour yoga certification in 2015 and is also a certified meditation instructor and reiki healer.
Landon loves to work with students who are looking to deepen their understanding of English, grammar, math, test prep, and college counseling.
In her spare time, she teaches and practices yoga, reads the latest “Book of the Month,” and goes on walks with her dog, Andy.
Originally from Northwest Florida, Joe is a fourth-year undergraduate student at Vanderbilt University majoring in Law, History, and Society. He began helping younger students prepare for standardized tests in high school and quickly developed an appreciation for the way that intangible factors (like motivation and focus) can contribute to academic success. Since coming to Nashville, Joe has worked as an English as a Second Language (ESL) tutor and as a lab assistant in Vanderbilt’s Biological Sciences department. Particularly interested in the study of environmental law, he has worked to develop a strong command of the English language and competency in the natural sciences and math. He is determined to use these skills to ensure that other students can reach their most lofty academic goals.
A Knoxville, Tennessee native, Ryan Knight is an alumni of Vanderbilt University. Before GRANITE®, Ryan spent 5 years running an ACT prep clinic in his hometown.
Vanderbilt’s rigorous pre-medical program has allowed him to study and excel in biology, chemistry, physics, and statistics. In order to achieve the fullest comprehension of these fields possible, Ryan has sought out experience working in several research labs and shadowing several doctors. His focus shifted from purely academic achievement to physical and mental wellness as well when a spinal injury required corrective surgery in the summer of 2019. Since then he has been attending yoga and meditation sessions and put an increased emphasis on mindfulness in all aspects of his life, especially education.
Raised in Nashville, Tennessee, Nicky Farren returned to his home state after spending his last 4 years at Santa Clara University. Receiving a bachelor’s in Psychology, along with minors in Spanish and International Business, Nicky is a true academic renaissance man.
Though his studies cover a wide range of topics, Nicky has engulfed himself in the Spanish language and has a strong desire to pass his knowledge of the subject on to his students. His time spent abroad in Spain, in conjunction with his studies in school have given him a deep understanding of the language that he wishes to share with others.
Nicky spends his time at Granite incorporating Mindfulness into his lessons as a way to ensure that students keep their eyes on their progressions over-time, not the struggles they may face in the moment. Nicky is passionate about Spanish education, ISEE test prep, and a host of other academic disciplines.
Michelle has worked in student affairs at Emory, the University of South Carolina, and Vanderbilt, working with student leadership programs, freshman orientation, and campus events, and has visited dozens of college campuses in her career as a college administrator.
Michelle obtained her Certificate in Independent Educational Consulting from the University of California-Irvine and works with aspiring college students to help them find and apply to colleges where they’ll feel challenged, supported, and fulfilled. She has been a member of the National Orientation Directors Association and is a current member of the Independent Educational Consultants Association.
She also volunteers her time to education and the arts, serving as a board member for the University School of Nashville Association, Abintra Montessori School and the Nashville Youth Jazz Ensemble, and counseling first-gen college students through the ScholarMatch program.
Originally from Clarksville, Maryland, Henry came to Nashville in 2017 to study at Vanderbilt. After graduating as part of the Class of 2021, Henry is now continuing his education at Vanderbilt pursuing an M.S. in Data Science. In the course of his studies Henry has acquired a strong competency in mathematics, physics, and computer science, and enjoys helping students build their own skills and confidence in these same areas. Outside of these areas, he also helps students prepare for standardized testing.
Outside of work, Henry enjoys reading, board games, learning languages, and solving Rubik’s cubes (fast!!).
Henry has a great passion for his areas of expertise, and hopes to inspire that same passion in his students.
Hailing from Los Angeles, Isaac has moved to Nashville to pursue a M.Ed. in Counseling at Vanderbilt University. He graduated from Washington and Lee University as a Biology major with a minor in Creative Writing, and likewise has a breadth of experience both in the humanities and sciences.
Before moving to Nashville, Isaac worked in various mental-health-care settings, including the fields of Applied Behavior Analysis, Neuro and Biofeedback, and Dual-Diagnosis Treatment (as with rehabilitation centers). His passion for learning is matched by his devotion to understanding the human experience, and thus he aims to teach using education inspired by therapeutic practices and mindfulness.
He is always invested to broaden his perspective, but outside of work you might find him reading a favorite fantasy or murder mystery novel, playing some racket sports, or on an outdoors adventure.
Kim Struglinski is originally from New Jersey but now calls Nashville and Winston-Salem, North Carolina home. She has about eight years of work experience in higher education at four different universities, including work with three different Undergraduate Admissions offices. She graduated from Wake Forest University with a B.S. in Chemistry and minors in Biology and Health Policy and Administration. After graduating, she worked at Wake Forest for a year in the Office of the President before heading Evanston, IL to complete M.S. in Higher Education Administration and Policy at Northwestern University. She moved to Nashville in 2015 to work in the Vanderbilt University Office of Undergraduate Admissions, where she spent about four years culminating as an Assistant Director of Admissions. During her time at Vanderbilt she was a territory manager responsible for reviewing thousands of applications each year, and has also served as a part-time reader for Northwestern and Washington and Lee University.
She now owns a yoga studio in Nashville and is a 500 hour certified yoga teacher. When she’s not teaching yoga, she enjoys spending time with her rescue dog Charm, reads anywhere from 5-10 books per month, and works on perfecting her homemade cinnamon rolls and bagels.
Sam studied vocal music and philosophy at Luther College, and music education at the University of Iowa. Before coming to Tennessee, Sam was the music teacher at Willowwind School- a small private elementary in Iowa City- and a substitute teacher in the Cedar Rapids and Iowa City.
Sam believes that deep learning is a complex, self-motivated, and internal process; we learn by taking in new information and connecting it to what we already know. This process happens when students feel comfortable in the learning environment, are presented new information in varied and engaging ways, and apply new knowledge to their lives. Sam has seen how principles of mindfulness can help in the learning process: students are able to better self-regulate emotions, cope with anxiety, and understand and advocate for their specific needs.
In his free time, you can find Sam out in the woods hiking and climbing; at home reading, writing, or cooking; playing music and talking about life with friends; or skateboarding and doing yoga at Centennial!
An Atlanta Native, Halle Payne graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Stanford University in 2018. There, she received her degree in Symbolic Systems, the interdisciplinary study of computer science, psychology, and philosophy, and wrote an Honors Thesis in Moral Philosophy. After graduating from Stanford, she worked as a Project Manager and Business Development Manager at one of the top 100 websites in the US, wikiHow, developing online courses in education.
After moving to Nashville in 2020 to pursue music and songwriting, Halle discovered her passion for tutoring. A highly emotionally attuned person, Halle’s tutoring style is designed to get a sense of a student’s strengths and “points of overwhelm” to find suitable strategies that will empower them to take on their academics, testing, and organization — with a newfound sense of tenacity and self-belief. Halle is particularly passionate about supporting students with anxiety and helping kids find balance in high-stress academic contexts.
In her free time, Halle enjoys dancing, reading, learning languages, and enjoying the incredible Nashville music scene.