NEW CANAAN — Middleman, broker, matchmaker: There’s a lot of ways to describe Steve Eno, founder of Teachers Who Tutor, a service that matches students who need extra help with tutors around Fairfield County.

Eno, a consumer marketer, got the idea for his business after being let go from a startup company.

“I started thinking what are the types of things I can do on my own?” he said. “What a lot of people suggested was to think about your own life and what challenges you’ve had where you’ve said ‘OK, there has to be a better way to do it.”

For Eno, the challenge was finding a chemistry tutor for his daughter, then a sophomore at New Canaan High School. Eno looked at online services, but found a lot of the offerings consisted of graduate students or people who majored in chemistry in college years before.

“It wasn’t someone who either knew the curriculum or knew how to teach,” he said. “I looked at all the different services out there, both national and local, and came to the conclusion that hardly anyone has teachers who you think would make the best tutors.”

Eno began asking around and found out many teachers are interested in offering help to students, but don’t tutor through tutoring services, because many take a large cut of their pay. After talking to more teachers, Eno found many would be interested in a service where they could reach more students without having to give up a portion of their profits. Eno combined this need with the struggle he had with finding his own daughter academic help and came up with the idea of Teachers Who Tutor.

Parents who use Teachers Who Tutor pay Eno a one-time $100 fee for a guaranteed match them with one tutor. Once families have been matched, Eno steps out so the parents and tutors can decide on pricing and scheduling details. Teachers set their own rates and families can decide their own schedules, pending if their child needs long term tutoring or tutoring for a shorter period of time. Teachers take no pay cut and Eno profits from the matching fee.

Since starting the company in October, Eno has had over 100 teachers sign up. He said not only do many teachers enjoy offering extra help to students, but many appreciate a service where they can not only keep their profits, but also be open to wider market of students to tutor.

Teachers generally are permitted to tutor their own students, so many interested in tutoring end up being limited to other students in their school or marketing themselves through word of mouth. It also allows teachers who might live far away from where they teach to reach students in their own towns.

Mike Staffaroni, who teaches economics, civics and history courses at New Canaan High School, got his start tutoring at a homeless shelter when he was teaching in Hawaii.

“You get opportunity to help kids with specific skills they need,” he said. “It’s a lot of personalization and some of the best parts of teaching right there.”

Staffaroni now teaches Advanced Placement Economics and tutors for the AP exams. He likes the freedom offered by Teachers Who Tutor, as well as its ability to connect him with students who need help in the topics he specializes in.

“It seems like [Steve] was functioning as somebody to connect people, parents right with teachers and that’s what I was looking for,” Staffaroni said. “It was difficult to connect with people in other towns. There might be a handful of students in a particular town who need tutoring in AP (Economics) and it’d be difficult to find those students and on their end, it’s difficult to find a tutor. His service is a centralized service and he’s able to connect me to other teacher to students who need tutors and he steps back after the initial connection is made. He’s not offering curriculum or anything, he functions as connection and the rest is up to teachers and clients.”

Elaine Scott, a recently retired Saxes Middle School teacher, signed up because she knew Enos from having previously had his daughter when she taught sixth grade. She said she liked her past tutoring experiences and the flexibility of Eno’s service.

“When [Steve] explained his approach, it was much more appealing than what I thought a tutoring service might be,” Scott said. “Usually, parents call the counselor and they provide a list. What Mr. Enos is offering is something a little bit broader. Teachers offer more specifics of subject area and age group. It reaches a little further out then than what would happen in school and what’s appealing is there’s no upfront cost to teacher at all. The other thing I like is once you and parent come to agreement, Mr. Enos comes out of the way cause any bureaucracy is not what teachers need more of right now. It’s much more user friendly with the relationship with family and tutor.”

It’s the parents and students Eno is still working on reaching through Facebook marketing, advertisements in local publications and high school guidance counselor offices. He’s had a handful of families sign up, mostly looking for help in middle school and high school math and science.

“It’s still early,” he said. “It’s not like a retail establishment where you have a storefront people walk by. From a marketing standpoint, there’s two challenges. It’s not aspirational. It’s not like when you see a car commercial and you’re like “Wow, I’d really like to own that someday.” That sticks in your head. It’s also not something you’re going to make a decision for right then and there. It really is a classic building brand awareness challenge.”

But Eno and the teachers involved agree part of the service’s appeal is offering individualized tutors familiar in curriculum and teaching to help a student grow.

“Everything is so busy nowadays and teachers are extremely busy in the classroom, meeting the needs of students but they know magic can happen when an adult and child are working together on one problem,” Scott said. “You see how a student thinks and processes and you can unlock doors for them, so they can learn better and faster and sometimes the child needs a little confidence builder and a bit of a cheerleader.”

Eno’s site can be found at TeachersWhoTutorCT.com.

ekayata@hearstmediact.com; @erin_kayata