Focus on Learning’s
Thomas Patrick Scharenborg, B.S., Physics, M.Ed., STEM Curriculum & Instruction
Director of Operations, STEM Specialist, Test Preparation Specialist
Mr. Thomas Scharenborg is the Owner and Director of Focus on Learning. He has been working at FOL since 2007 to help develop and build the services and programs currently available at the learning center. Tom works with students, cultivating the joy of learning, study skills, time management, test preparation, and test anxiety mitigation.
He is a STEAM specialist (Science, Technology, Engineering, Fine Art Photography & Media Arts, and Mathematics) & enjoys sharing new and exciting ways to incorporate these subject areas into daily life. Tom also collaborates with teachers, parents, and educators on developing ways to integrate these disciplines into curriculums and helps create resources aimed at helping the next generation to enhance and enrich their lives as well.
In his spare time, Tom enjoys cycling, backpacking, camping, practicing Martial Arts, and photography. Tom also enjoys traveling to Japan and learning to speak the native language as often as possible.
Ene-Kaja Chippendale, Ph.D.
Founder and President, Learning Specialist
READING, WRITING, ACT, P/SAT
Dr. Ene-Kaja Chippendale is the founder and president of Focus on Learning. She has worked for many years with students of all ages and needs to enhance their reading, writing, and learning skills. She adapts instruction to accommodate each student’s learning style and works with students to promote their love for reading. Her goal is to help students become confident and successful life-long learners.
Dr. Chippendale’s ACT workshops prepare teachers to coach the ACT and incorporate reading, English, and writing strategies into their classroom curricula. She also coaches students for the ACT, PSAT, and SAT.
A founding member of the Gifted Association of Missouri, she has been active in GAM, TAWL, LDA, and CHADD.
Dr. Chippendale graduated from Oberlin College and received an M.A. in English Literature from the University of Wisconsin. She earned a Ph.D. in reading, linguistics, and learning disabilities at the University of Missouri. Her post-doctoral program at the University of Maryland prepared teachers to integrate students with special needs into regular classrooms. Prior to opening Focus on Learning in 1985, Dr. Chippendale taught at the University of Wisconsin, University of Missouri, and Central Methodist University, where she also set up the Student Development Center.
In her spare time, Dr. Chippendale enjoys reading, music, traveling, walking, and spoiling her grandchildren.
Gary Moss, Ph.D.
Math and Science Test Prep Consultant
ACT, P/SAT, GRE PREP
Dr. Gary Moss has over 30 years of teaching, research, and test preparation experience. He is widely recognized in the ACT/SAT coaching field. His research examines the effectiveness of ACT coaching. Dr. Moss coaches students and presents teacher workshops for ACT preparation: Teachers as ACT (TAC) to prepare teachers to teach the ACT and Teachers for ACT Success (TFS) to guide teachers to incorporate into lesson plans. Dr. Moss has taught on both the high school and college levels and currently works extensively in St. Louis.
Dr. Moss spends his spare time running and biking and is active in his church’s youth and music programs.
Dr. Moss graduated Magna cum laude from the University of Missouri – St. Louis and received his Ph.D. from the University of Missouri – Columbia.
My goal as a teacher is to help my students connect something they know with something they need to know.
Justin Burns, B.S.
Math and Science Specialist
ACT, Math and Science Specialist
Justin Burns is a veteran school teacher who teaches higher level math, ranging from Algebra I, II, and Geometry, to college-level calculus and statistics.
Justin holds a B.A. in mathematics from the University of Missouri and has over a decade of teaching experience. Justin also prepares students for the ACT, SAT, and AP test.
Justin enjoys sports, traveling, and spending time with his family.
I believe that I can make a difference by inspiring young minds to develop a curiosity for understanding the world around them. “Our individual and collective future depends on cultivating a culture of life-long learning.” – Albert Einstein
Tim Larkin, M.Ed.
Math and Science Specialist
ACT, Math and Science Specialist
Tim Larkin has over 30 years of classroom teaching to include middle school through college level math. His goal is to help students experience the beauty of learning and to better understand how math and science can be more meaningful in the classroom as well as in their daily lives.
Tim obtained a B.A in education from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, a B.S. in physics from Lincoln University, and an M. Ed. in education from Lincoln University with an emphasis in mathematics. Tim has additional coursework beyond a Master’s degree in math and physics through the University of Missouri of Columbia.
Tim enjoys spending time with family and has agricultural interests to include being a hobby sheep farmer. He has also been a PTRA (Physics Teacher Resource Agent) through the American Association of Physics Teachers.
Focus on Learning represents many things for my family and me: new beginnings, change, progress, serenity, and peace, to name a few. I really look forward to what the future has to offer for FOL. I am proud and lucky to be a part of such a wonderful team.
ACT Prep English and Reading Coach
Samantha Edmonds is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Missouri studying English literature and creative writing. She has eight years’ experience tutoring in writing and reading, five years’ experience teaching composition for high school and college-age students, and master’s degrees from the University of Cincinnati and the University of Tennessee. She is also the author of the chapbooks Pretty to Think So (Selcouth Station Press, 2019) and The Space Poet (Split/Lip Press, 2020). Her fiction and nonfiction appears in The New York Times, Gay Magazine, Ninth Letter, Michigan Quarterly Review, and The Rumpus, among others.
David Lankitus is a master’s student in horticulture at The Ohio State University and is new to Columbia Missouri. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry, chemistry, and biology from Capital University in 2019. He has college-level tutoring experience in general biology and organic chemistry. He also worked as a high school substitute teacher for several months before his move to Missouri. David enjoys cooking and baking, especially when he can experiment with new ideas in the kitchen, and sharing those creations with friends and family.
I am passionate about communicating science and helping others solve problems. I am excited to assist students with the questions they have to best prepare them for the future. I find science to be a fascinating lens with which to view the world and look forward to helping others understand science better.
Brandon Painter, M.Ed., M.S.
Web and Marketing Manager
Brandon Painter is the Focus on Learning office assistant. He helps to focus on organizational goals and marketing strategies for FOL. He is assisting the web development, marketing, and advertising among Focus on Learning’s online offerings.
Brandon is a certified coach, devoted to helping others fulfill their highest potential. Brandon also has his own business, BP Business Coaching, which offers personal and organizational coaching.
Brandon enjoys reading, trail walking with his dog, volunteering, and exercising.
Focus on Learning teachers not only help students figure out how they learn best, but our teachers also help them thrive. I enjoy meeting people and hearing their stories about how they push past their issues and strive to be their best. I have heard countless times of how former FOL students are still using what they learned at FOL in their careers or lives.