Helena Venakides - Estrada

Hello! My name is Helena.

I’m a former high school and middle school English teacher. I’ve taught in both New York City and Chapel Hill. Throughout my years in the classroom, I’ve had the pleasure of teaching and getting to know a wide variety of young people.

My teaching journey began in New York City. After obtaining a B.A. degree in English from Duke University, I moved to NYC to enroll in a master degree program for Secondary English-Education at Hunter College at the City University of New York. After finishing my degree, I taught eighth grade language arts and U.S. history in NYC for two years. Upon returning to Chapel Hill, I taught sophomore English at Chapel Hill High School for two years, followed by 8th grade Language Arts at Culbreth Middle School for three years.

In 2012, I was sought out by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction to unpack the 6th–8th grade English language arts common core state standards for middle school teachers across the state. This experience further reinforced, both in my philosophy and my actual teaching, that students need to make personal, textual, and world connections with a subject in order for it to become meaningful to them.

I decided to open Dance with the Pen, K-12 Tutoring, a tutoring studio based on the view that a young person’s education must be holistic and thus cater to his or her unique intellect and way of learning. In our studio, our tutors guide students to both explore a subject at a deeper level and discover how they connect to it.




B.A. English, Duke University; Durham, NC
M.Ed, CUNY; New York, NY


2005-2007, Teacher,  8th Grade English
James P. Sinnott Magnet School, I.S. 218,
370 Fountain Avenue, 
Brooklyn, NY 11208

2007-2009, Teacher, 10th grade English
Chapel Hill High School
1709 High School Road
Chapel Hill, NC 27516

2009-2012, Teacher, 8th Grade English
Grey Culbreth Middle School
225 Culbreth Road
Chapel Hill, NC 27516

2012, Team Leader
NC Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI)
301 N Wilmington St,
Raleigh, NC 27601