Leadership Team

Breakaway Test Prep provides remarkable test prep to students in Minnesota, western Wisconsin, northern Iowa and anywhere in the world online.  We earn our reputation through the consistent success our students achieve on their tests.  Below, we invite you to meet Breakaway’s Minnesota leadership team.

Ron Michalak
President and Founder
St. Louis Park office
[email protected]

Ron is the founder of Breakaway College Test Prep and is the lead instructor in Minnesota. Ron earned a BA in Economics from Northwestern University and an MBA in Marketing and Finance from the Kellogg Graduate School at Northwestern University. After college, Ron enjoyed a 25-year career in finance, marketing and business development as an executive with firms including Arthur Andersen, Coopers & Lybrand, BellSouth and IBM/Internet Security Systems.

Ron got his start in test prep nearly two decades ago with the Princeton Review, where he provided classroom-style instruction to SAT and GMAT students. In 2006, he helped his twin brother, Rick, a former vice president of operations for the Princeton Review, launch a new test prep company called Breakaway that would take test prep in a new direction: customized test prep solutions to help students reach their potential. Ron launched Breakaway a few years later in the Twin Cities, and together with his team, has since provided test prep to thousands of students in Minnesota.

In addition to working privately with students each year, Breakaway is the exclusive provider of ACT instruction to the Blake School and the Breck School in Minneapolis.  Together with experts from Groves Academy, Ron helped to launch an ACT prep program specifically designed for students with learning disabilities and attention disorders.  It is the only such program in Minnesota.

Ron lives in Edina, with his wife and two children.  Please click here to visit the St. Louis Park webpage.

Matt McManus
Eden Prairie office
[email protected]

Matt McManus is the director and lead instructor for the Eden Prairie office. Matt focuses on providing instruction to students in Eden Prairie, Chaska, Chanhassen, Prior Lake, and surrounding areas.  Click here to learn more about Breakaway’s Eden Prairie office.

Matt has been with Breakaway since 2014, and actively works with students on a weekly basis. Having provided more than 1,500 hours of instruction over the past two years, Matt works with students of all levels, with a primary focus on math and science. Matt is graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Minneapolis-native; he currently lives in South Minneapolis with his wife.

John Kingsbury
Mendota Heights office
[email protected]

John Kingsbury is the director and lead instructor for the St. Paul/Mendota Heights office of Breakaway.  John provides instruction to students in St. Paul and its suburbs.  Click here to learn more about Breakaway’s Mendota Heights office.

A talented and experienced math and science instructor, John earned a Ph.D. in psychology from Dartmouth College.  He was a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University’s School for Public Health and a graduate teaching assistant and guest lecturer at Dartmouth.  Prior to that, John graduated magna cum laude from the University of St. Thomas and began his doctoral program in social psychology at Iowa State University.

Barbara Jeffers
Plymouth/Northwest Suburbs
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Barbara Jeffers is the director and lead instructor for Breakaway’s Plymouth/Northwest Suburbs office.  Barbara holds a B.A. in English from St. Olaf College and an M.A. in English from Northwestern University; she has also achieved candidacy for the Ph.D. degree in English at Northwestern.  At Northwestern, she was one of six incoming Ph.D. students across all disciplines to receive a four-year President’s Fellowship.  At Breakaway, Barbara teaches ACT courses at the Blake School, the Breck School and Providence Academy, and leads Breakaway’s ACT English and Reading bootcamps.  In her free time, she mostly tries to keep up with her nine-year-old twin daughters.

Rachel Erickson
Students with Learning Disabilities
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Rachel Erickson is Breakaway’s director for students with learning disabilities and became Breakaway’s first instructor back in 2011.  Having provided more than 3,000 hours of instruction over the past seven years, Rachel works with students of all levels on all subject areas of the test.

In addition to ACT prep, Rachel is a full-time educator, working as a high school language arts teacher for students with a wide range of learning differences including dyslexia, dyscalculia, dysgraphia, executive functioning, attention disorders, and processing issues at a small private school in the Twin Cities. Rachel is a graduate of St. Olaf College and holds a master’s degree in Learning Disabilities from the University of St. Thomas. She lives in St. Paul with her husband.