Dunwoody Learning Center tutor retires after 24 years of service

COVID-19 caused the learning center to serve virtually, which caused Mona Haddad’s retirement as she prefers in-person tutoring. Photo Submitted by Mona Haddad

The Georgia State Learning and Tutoring Center has offered free tutoring services to students and community members across the five Georgia State Perimeter campuses for more than 30 years. ​ 

After Georgia State and Georgia Perimeter College consolidated in 2015, the Learning and Tutoring Center (LTC) continues to help Georgia State students and community members, operating as a division of the Georgia State Office of Student Success.

“LTC tutors are trained and certified according to guidelines set by the College Reading and Learning Association (CRLA) and are a talented team of high-performing [Georgia State] students, professional tutors and graduate assistants,” the Student Success Programs at Georgia State website states. 

However, the pandemic brought unprecedented challenges to the learning center. Ms. Mona Haddad, one of their longest-serving tutors at the Dunwoody location, is now retiring after her 24 years of service.

The Dunwoody Learning Center transitioned to virtual services after the initial shutdown in March 2020. Haddad prefers to work with students in person, so she has always hoped that everything would return to normal soon to continue teaching in the office. 

“She has been a treasured member of our team and has quite an interesting life story as a former dancer, teacher, actress and published author,” Janelle Mendoza-Guerra, the writing supervisor of the Dunwoody Learning Center, said.

Haddad has extensive teaching experience. She earned her Bachelor’s in Teaching in 1967 and a Master’s in Education in 1971 from the American University of Beirut in Lebanon. 

She spent 20 years teaching foreign languages, including French, Arabic and English, at various middle and high schools in Lebanon. Then, she taught math at the American University of Beirut for 14 years. 

In addition to teaching, Haddad has held theatrical roles back in Lebanon and a YMCA in Boston, including in two Shakespearian plays, “The Stronger” by August Strindberg and “The Browning Version” by Terence Rattigan. She also taught classical ballet in Lebanon from 1967 until her relocation to the U.S. in 1987.

She relocated in 1987 to reunite with her children and husband, who were studying and working in the U.S. at the time. 

After moving to Atlanta, Haddad worked as a part-time mathematics instructor from 1997 to 2005 at Georgia Perimeter College. She also tutored math there until her retirement. 

In addition to teaching, she is also an established author. She co-authored textbooks for the institutions where she taught. Mendoza also mentioned that she published a poetry book series, advertised as “young or young at heart.”

Moreover, Mendoza said that Haddad helped in the Writers’ Circle, a group that meets twice a month in the bonus room of the Dunwoody location LTC to “share literary critiques and help one another become ready for publication.” 

“The pandemic has robbed us of her service and the opportunity to adequately celebrate Ms. Mona’s retirement because the tutors have been operating remotely,” Mendoza said. 

Mendoza also said that if COVID-19 precautions permit, Haddad plans to visit the LTC for their annual celebrations for Tutor Appreciation Week in October. She wants to spend more time reading after her retirement.

According to the website, the LTC offered walk-in tutoring six days a week before the COVID-19 pandemic struck, but now all its tutoring services are virtual. Their schedule changed to 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays and 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends. 

The LTC still offers one-on-one tutoring in many different courses, including math, science, English and world languages.