Our Founder

Village East Gifted has exceptional educators who have been teaching gifted and talented students for up to thirty-five years. Each teacher implements the VEG Core Curriculum as well as their own curriculum areas of expertise. Many classes have VEG Mentors that work with the teachers in the classroom. Our Mentors are VEG Alumni that are hired staff and serve as invaluable role models for the students.

Tobi J. Phillips, Ed. D. (cert), Headmaster, Founder of Village East Gifted,Inc.

Professional Profile
Ms. Tobi Phillips has been teaching students in grades N-12 for over 35 years. She received her B.A. from Ithaca College with a double major in Vocal Music and Anthropology. She earned three masters from Boston College: M.A., M.Ed., Masters in Special Education and Education of the Blind and Visually Impaired. She was accepted into the doctoral program at Teachers College, Columbia University where she became Ed. D. certified in Instructional Technology.

Ms. Phillips holds the following certifications:

Gifted Education

Early Childhood-Kindergarten

Grades 1-6 and Social Studies/English Grades 7-12

Special Education

Special Education for the Blind and Visually Impaired

Braille Transcription


(Orientation and Mobility for the Blind)

License from New York State in Archaeological Excavation.

In 2001, Phillips was awarded the OMER Award for outstanding coaching of five teams (35 students) in the International Odyssey of the Mind Competition. In 2005, she received the New York Senate Liberty Award for her rescue efforts after Hurricane Katrina. She has initiated, put into action and participated in extensive community service projects, both locally and nationally. She has worked with the Multiple Sclerosis Society, Make-A-Wish Foundation, American Heart Association and American Cancer Society.

Ms. Phillips enjoys sharing her diverse skills, interests and life experiences with her students through her teaching styles, challenging and unique curriculum ideas and her creative approach to learning.

Contributing Life Experiences

Was accepted to Farrell's School of Performing Arts where she performed as a singer and dancer in various musical productions on Long Island.

Formed a singing group and performed her original music in local cafes on Long Island.

Team member of a national baton twirling team that participated in competitions across the country.

Won the National Choral Award after her active involvement in the school music program and her solo performance in the All-State Choir.

During her junior year at Ithaca College, she participated in a foreign studies program in London, England focusing on British history, education, theater and architecture.

While in England, she interned at The Dartington School as a music/dance therapist and helped implement an enrichment program for their middle school students.

Was a teacher of deaf-blind students at Perkins School For the Blind in Boston, Massachusetts and created a "Guitar Workshop for the Blind" to teach her students unique ways of playing the guitar without sight.

Obtained a position as an itinerant teacher for the New York State Commission for the Blind.

During her doctoral studies at Teachers College, Columbia University, she began working as a free lance writer and producer of instructional videos.

Became a partner of City Light Productions, a film company specializing in corporate videos and feature films.

Was the associate producer of the internationally acclaimed film," Torn Apart", which had its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in 1989.

After six years in the film business, she continued to work from her home for Todd Street Productions, a company specializing in corporate entertainment and event planning.

Established a local community support group called, "Working Moms", consisting of twenty working parents and their children.

Attended culinary school and consequently opened a small business called "Piece-A-Cake", where she designed custom cake sculptures and hand-crafted wedding cakes. She won three awards for her work at the "International Societe Culinaire Philanthropique" Cake Show at the Jacob Javitts Center in Manhattan.

Taught for three years for the Merrick Central School District as a high school Social Studies and English Teacher.

Held a position as an elementary teacher and was asked to design and implement an enrichment program at the North Shore Hebrew Academy .

Worked for five years as a tenured Teacher of the Gifted and Talented at the Carrie Palmer Weber Middle School in the Port Washington Central School District.

After 14 years, she moved from Great Neck to Huntington, Long Island where she held a full-time position in the Half Hollow Hills School District as a Teacher of the Gifted and Talented in the Academically High Aptitude Program (AHAP), a magnet program for gifted student Grades 3-5, as well as an elementary in-school enrichment specialist.

In the Odyssey of the Mind Competition 2006, she coached three teams from the Half Hollow Hills School District, one of which placed first on Long Island in their division and was invited to compete at the state level.

Has traveled to England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, France, Holland, Denmark, Austria, Switzerland, Germany, Norway, Finland, Sweden, Greece, Israel, Lebanon, Spain and Morocco. Her hobby is long distance cycling and she has taken numerous bike trips, some of which were through Alaska, Nova Scotia and Ireland.

Phillips began thinking about teaching gifted students on a private basis where she could put into practice her many years of creative teaching strategies, distinctive curriculum frameworks and life experiences. Thereafter, in May 2007, she started The Village East Gifted Program Long Island, an individualized after-school enrichment program for gifted students in grades Kindergarten through college.

By January 2012, over 190 students from thirty districts and private schools across Long Island, Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn and Westchester had enrolled in VEG.

During the summer of 2012, Phillips brought her summer program to West Hills Day Camp allowing gifted campers "the best of both worlds"; day camp activities in the mornings and the VEG gifted and talented program in the afternoons. The afternoon "gifted component only" was open to any gifted student in grades 2-8.

"VEG Mentoring"(VM) program was introduced in 2012 consisting of former VEG gifted students who are either seniors in high school or attending local ivy league colleges (e.g. NYU, Columbia University, Barnard). These brilliant young adults assist in the classroom and serve as role models for the students.

Phillips copyrighted and received a registered trademark on her curriculum and teaching methodology known as "Phillips RBM Approach (Reawakening Brilliant Minds).

September 2013, Village East Gifted had 280 students enrolled in its programs. Accordingly, Phillips expanded Village East Gifted's facility opening two new locations in Suffolk and Nassau counties.

January of 2014, Phillips hired eight staff members to work in the new facilities in Huntington and Roslyn.

February of 2014, VEG became the only after school and summer gifted and talented program on Long Island that has classes and private enrichment seven days a week serving students ages 4-21.

September of 2014, VEG became the only program on Long Island to offer a full day and half day Gifted Kindergarten for early gifted learners ages 4-5.

January of 2016, Village East Gifted had 400 students enrolled in its program since its inception.

March of 2016, VEG had 12 part-time teachers and 10 part-time assistant educators.

May of 2016, VEG started the "Parallel Program for High Achievers" accepting bright and motivated
students who are not classified as gifted. These students have separate classes and receive the same curriculum but at a more moderate pace and intensity.