Our Team

Ene-Kaja Chippendale, Ph.D.

Founder and President, Learning Specialist

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 preparing to take the ACT.

In addition, Dr. Chippendale conducts psychoeducational testing and works with parents and school professionals to develop I.E.P. and 504 goals. 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 through 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.

Working with my students remains a joyful experience, one that never gets old. I try to guide students to discover how they learn best and have not found many benefits in drilling skills or using worksheets. We spend our time reading books and writing in paragraphs. Like Dr. Seuss, I believe that

The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you will go.

Gary Moss, Ph.D.

Math and Science Test Prep Consultant

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.

Paula Tinnin, Ed.D.

Gifted Educational and Reading Specialist

Dr. Paula Tinnin directs the Focus on Learning elementary reading program. Her educational experience spans over 35 years of working with elementary level students, college students, and veteran teachers. In addition to teaching reading and writing to students of all ages, she also coaches ACT students.

Dr. Tinnin holds a Doctorate in Education from the University of Virginia in Educational Psychology, with a research emphasis in gifted education.  She earned an M.Ed from Boston University in Education and is a certified Reading Specialist.

Dr. Tinnin enjoys swimming, tennis, ceramics, and cooking.

I love teaching because it is a highly creative endeavor. Each child comes to the learning process with a unique tapestry of gifts and skills; my challenge is to untangle the complex web, mend the holes, and add depth of understanding so that learning becomes rich and meaningful. Reading improvement and literacy success are goals for every student who engages with me at Focus on Learning.

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 collect future depend on cultivating a culture of life-long learning.” – Albert Einstein

Tim Larkin
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 a M. Ed. in education from Lincoln University with an emphasis in mathematics.

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.

Melinda Lane, B.A.

Business Manager

Melinda Lane is Focus on Learning’s Business Manager in charge of scheduling each student for his or her maximum benefit. Melinda’s favorite part of the business administration is customer service. She loves to interact with people and to feel she is making a positive difference. Melinda strives to provide excellent customer service to all students, parents, and school professionals.

Melinda earned a B.A. from Ashford University in Organizational Management with minors in Business Administration and Human Resource Management. Before coming to Focus on Learning, Melinda worked in Financial Aid at Stephens College and the Brookfield School District.

Melinda enjoys family activities as well as music, sports, reading and spending time outside. Focus on Learning represents my goal in life: helping others reach their maximum potential. She believes the skills students learn at Focus can make the differences between school being a source of pride and successor disappointment. School success open many doors to college and beyond. 

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.

Brandon Painter, M. Ed.


Brandon Painter is the Focus on Learning office assistant. He helps focus on organizational goals and marketing strategies for FOL. He is assisting the development and management of digital analytics from our video instruction and advertising among Focus on Learning’s online offerings.

Brandon has a B.G.S. from Columbia College and is now working toward an M.Ed from the University of Missouri that combines Positive and Sports Psychology. He also is working on an advanced certification in coaching from Coach U.

Brandon is a certified coach, devoted to helping others fulfill their highest potential. Brandon also has his own business, Voyager Partners, 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, our teachers 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.