About Us

Founded as Smarthinking in 1999, our online tutoring services are led by a team of former college professors and experts in their disciplines. Discover how the Smarthinking team uses their experience and credentials to help you achieve your learning goals.

Introducing the Smarthinking team

Christa Ehmann Powers

Christa Ehmann Powers, Ph.D
Vice President & Chief Education Officer

Kirk Benningfield

Kirk Benningfield, Ph.D.
Vice President, Education Operations

Amy Stuber

Amy Stuber, Ph.D.
Director, Writing and Humanities

Allyson Fetterhoff Tearnan

Allyson Fetterhoff Tearnan, Ph.D.
Executive Director, Writing and Humanities

Linda Bush

Linda Bush, Ph.D.
Executive Director, Mathematics, Science, Nursing & Allied Health, and Program Development

Allyson Fetterhoff Tearnan

Allyson Fetterhoff Tearnan, Ph.D.

Executive Director, Writing and Humanities

Allyson Fetterhoff Tearnan is responsible for setting education-related quality, strategy, and policies for all Writing and Humanities products and services. Before joining Smarthinking, Allyson taught Composition and Literature at the University of Maryland where she also coordinated arts programs for one of the University’s outreach centers. She received her M.A. and Ph.D. in English from the University of Maryland. She specializes in American literature, modernist fiction, and narrative theory.  

Kirk Benningfield

Kirk Benningfield, Ph.D.

Vice President, Education Operations

Kirk Benningfield has his Ph.D. in Mathematics from the University of Houston and has taught the subject there and at McNeese State University for the last ten years, while scoring AP® Calculus exams for the last 13. Kirk joined Smarthinking in 2000 and launched the mathematics online tutoring program, playing a vital role in developing the operations, designing the technology platforms, and expanding a strong team of academic managers. Kirk leads education operations, directs Smarthinking platform development efforts, and focuses on expanding Smarthinking services and enhancing tutor platform features.  

Linda Bush

Linda Bush, Ph.D.

Executive Director, Mathematics, Science, Nursing & Allied Health, and Program Development

Linda Bush directs STEM tutoring, including Nursing & Allied Health, after joining Smarthinking in 2004 as a Chemistry tutor. She also pursues strategic development and growth opportunities for Smarthinking. Linda has 11 years of experience developing and teaching remedial through advanced level courses in Chemistry at both Salisbury State University and Knox College. She has consulted for NASA, the American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence, Cengage Learning, and the American Heritage Dictionaries. Linda earned her M.S. and Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry at Yale University.  

Amy Stuber

Amy Stuber, Ph.D.

Director, Writing and Humanities

Amy Stuber manages Smarthinking’s writing tutors which includes overseeing tutor quality, working with clients to ensure user satisfaction, and assisting with development of new programs. Prior to Smarthinking, Amy taught Writing, Literature, and Creative Writing at Roger Williams University, Haskell Indian Nations University, and the University of Kansas. Amy received her Ph.D. in English from the University of Kansas where she specialized in short fiction and American literature. She has published fiction in numerous national magazines.