OUR TEAM

Meet the minds behind the magic! Our dedicated team is the cornerstone of our success, bringing together a diverse blend of expertise, passion, and creativity. From seasoned advisors to innovative support staff, each member plays a crucial role in guiding students and families through the complexities of college planning. Get to know the individuals who make it all happen and see why we’re so proud of our team.

  • Brandon Knopf, CFP, BFA

    Brandon Knopf, CFP®, BFA™

    Certified Financial Planner

  • Chauntreniece (Chaun) Jordan, Student Support Specialist

    Chauntreniece Jordan

    Student Support Specialist

  • Eric Flessa, IEP/504 Student Support Specialist

    Eric Flessa

    IEP/504 Student Support Specialist

    Jack Schacht

    Founder

  • Jennifer Harpham, Director of Financial Aid

    Jennifer Harpham

    Director of Financial Aid

  • Joanne Levine, MCPT Publicist

    Joanne Levine

    MCPT Publicist

  • Jon Huizinga, Community Development Manager, Faith-Based Venues & Workshop Speaker

    Jon Huizinga

    Community Development Manager, Faith-Based Venues, Workshop Speaker

  • Katherine Williams, College Essay Coach, Managing Editor

    Katherine Williams

    College Essay Coach, Managing Editor

  • Lindsay Johnson Hansen, Scholarship Search Specialist

    Lindsay Johnson Hansen

    Scholarship Search Specialist

  • Peter Pitts

    Peter Pitts

    Small College Specialist / Higher Education Author

  • Rich Goldman, Director of Tutoring

    Rich Goldman

    Director of Tutoring

  • Ron Turak, Career Coach

    Ron Turak

    Career Coach

  • Ashlyn Manzano-Hernandez, Community Outreach Assistant

    Ashlyn Manzano-Hernandez

    Community Outreach Assistant

  • Chandani Rao, Chief Operating Officer

    Chandani Rao

    Chief Operating Officer

  • David O'Hearn, IEP/504 Student Support Specialist

    David O’Hearn

    IEP/504 Student Support Specialist

  • Jennifer Rowland, Student Support Specialist

    Jennifer Rowland

    Student Support Specialist

  • Jerome Feldman, College Essay Coach

    Jerome Feldman

    College Essay Coach

  • Linda Gump, Tutoring Manager

    Linda Gump, MBA

    Tutoring Manager

  • Matt Grzetich, Client Service Manager

    Matt Grzetich

    Client Service Manager

  • Matthew D. Allgood, CFP

    Matthew D. Allgood, CFP

    Certified Financial Planner, Financial Advisor, Certified Kingdom Advisor

  • Michelle Flessa

    Director of Specialized Student Services

  • Neal Sardana, Career Coach

    Neal Sardana

    Career Coach

  • Ruthie McGraw, Scholarship Search Specialist

    Ruthie McGraw

    Scholarship Search / Grant Specialist

  • Sara Shaver

    Director of Student Services

  • Alison Worland, SAT/ACT Tutor

    Alison Worland

    SAT / ACT Tutor

  • Catherine Roy, College Essay Coach

    Catherine Roy

    College Essay Coach

  • Christine Van Meter, Career Coach

    Christine Van Meter

    Career Coach

  • Daisy Cruz, Client Service Manager

    Daisy Cruz

    Client Service Manager

  • Jennifer Constantineau, Student Support Services

    Jennifer Constantineau

    Student Support Specialist

  • Jim Kraiss, CFP

    Jim Kraiss, CFP

    Certified Financial Planner

  • Jocelyn Thomas, IEP/504 Student Support Specialist

    Jocelyn Thomas

    IEP / 504 Student Support Specialist

  • Keira McDonald, Director of Operations

    Keira McDonald

    Director of Operations

  • Marbella Moreno, Pell Eligible Specialist

    Marbella Moreno

    Pell Eligible Specialist / Student Support Specialist

  • Ray Giese, Vice President of Career Planning

    Ray Giese

    Vice President of Career Planning

    Billie Jo Weis

    Vice President of Client Services

  • Ilya Gofman SAT/ACT Tutor

    Ilya Gofman

    SAT / ACT Tutor

  • Lalaine Torres, IEP/504 Student Support Specialist

    Lalaine Torres

    IEP / 504 Student Support Specialist

  • Lateisha Stewart Greene, Email Marketing Specialist

    Lateisha Stewart Greene

    Email Marketing Specialist

  • Lindsey Freestone, Student Support Specialist

    Lindsey Freestone

    Student Support Specialist

  • Steve M. Visser, Financial Advisor

    Steve M. Visser

    Financial Advisor

  • Suzanne Solow, College Essay Coach

    Suzanne Solow

    College Essay Coach

  • Tamika Thomas, Client Service Manager

    Tamika Thomas

    Client Service Manager

  • Anne Thomas, College Essay Coach

    Anne Thomas

    College Essay Coach

  • Brent Lee, Marketing Assistant

    Brent Lee

    Marketing Assistant

  • Garrett Thompson, SAT/ACT Tutor

    Garrett Thompson

    SAT / ACT Tutor

  • Georgia Huntsman, Student Support Specialist & Career Coach

    Georgia Huntsman

    Student Support Specialist / Career Coach

  • Mary Small, Financial Advisor

    Mary Small

    Financial Advisor

  • Mira Nevins, Communications Assistant

    Mira Nevins

    Communications Assistant

  • Samantha Bartek

    Vice President of Community Outreach

  • Scott W. Lee, Webmaster

    Scott W. Lee

    Webmaster

  • Shamoon Ebrahimi, Career Coach

    Shamoon Ebrahimi

    Career Coach

  • Shane Cole, Student Support Specialist

    Shane Cole

    Student Support Specialist

  • Lisa Christie, Financial Advisor

    Lisa Christie, CFS

    Financial Advisor

  • Sara Strickland, Student Support Specialist

    Sara Strickland

    Student Support Specialist

  • Eve Przadka, Financial Advisor

    Eva Przadka

    Financial Advisor

  • Lisa Urbina, Student Support Specialist

    Lisa Urbina

    Student Support Specialist

  • Nicole Hall, Student Support Specialist

    Nichole Hall

    Student Support Specialist

  • Tesha McMillon, Government Loan Specialist

    Tesha McMillon

    Government Loan Specialist

  • Jonelle Carty, Student Support Services

    Jonelle Carty

    Student Support Services

  • Jaimie Barksdale, Student Support Specialist

    Jaimie Barksdale

    Student Support Specialist

  • Becky Martin, Student Support Specialist

    Becky Martin

    Student Support Speciaist

  • Larissa Jerke, Student Support Specialist

    Larissa Jerke

    Student Support Specialist

Brandon Knopf, CFP, BFA

Brandon Knopf, CFP®, BFA™

Certified Financial Planner

As a managing partner of Legatum Wealth Advisors, Brandon is an experienced wealth advisor who assists his clients in achieving their goals through a customized, value-based process addressing all aspects of financial planning including investments, insurance, estate planning, college funding, and retirement.  As a father of two children, Brandon personally understands the challenges parents face in preparing for college and he specializes in college education planning to help them navigate the stress and expenses related to higher education. 

As the son of financial advisors, Brandon began his career in 2010 with Waddell & Reed and then co-founded Legatum Wealth Advisors in 2021. He is a lifelong Illinois resident and resides in the western suburbs with his family.

Chauntreniece (Chaun) Jordan, Student Support Specialist

Chauntreniece Jordan

Student Support Specialist

Chauntreniece (Chaun) Jordan is a graduate of Louisiana State University (LSU) in Baton Rouge, LA, where she received her Bachelor of Science in Psychology (2008) and Master of Education in Counselor Education (2020). For the past six years, she has worked as an academic advisor, high school counselor, and regional coordinator for the Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance. Chauntreniece is a certified school counselor who has assisted hundreds of students with graduation plans, college applications, and financial aid applications. She is passionate about college access and desires to empower students and families with the knowledge and support to create a college plan just right for them!

Chauntreniece graduated debt free from LSU with her master’s degree, and she wants to use her knowledge and personal story to help you create your own story! She currently resides in Louisian with her husband and son. She enjoys spending time with her family, encouraging others, and bike riding.

Eric Flessa, IEP/504 Student Support Specialist

Eric Flessa

IEP/504 Student Support Specialist

Eric began his professional career as a journalist in Lansing, Michigan, but the horrors in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 led him south to New Orleans, where he volunteered with Habitat for Humanity to help rebuild the city. That was the start of his career in education – perhaps not surprising as he comes from a long line of teachers.

As Habitat’s youngest crew chief, he led rotating teams of high school volunteers from all across the country, teaching them how to use their hands to build houses and community. Returning to Michigan, he earned a master’s in education and taught English language arts and social studies in a high-achieving high school.

In 2021, Eric joined a small, 100-student alternative school with a focus on credit recovery, social/emotional education and college and career readiness. Leading curricular development, he introduced Advanced Placement courses in art history and language and composition, making his the only alternative high school in Michigan to offer AP courses.

Eric believes that every student should feel they belong, have a voice, feel heard and empowered to think, speak and feel. His professional goal is to foster equity and inclusion in his instruction as well as rigor in the learning and practices of his students. He has presented and been a keynote speaker at regional and state conferences.

He holds a master’s in education from Oakland (Michigan) University with certificate in English language arts and social studies and also a bachelor’s in journalism from Michigan State University.

Jack Schacht

Founder

ack has over 50 years in marketing, management, career development and business leadership. At age 24, he started his first business, Career Counselors, which launched the careers of hundreds of college graduates at major companies throughout the Chicago area.

In 1984, Jack started the Illinois Trade Association and grew it into the largest commercial barter exchange in the United States. Jack and his team mentored over 5000 business owners, teaching them creative financial strategies to reduce expenses, improve cash flow, and boost their bottom line.

During his tenure, he also served for 15 years on the board of the National Association of Barter Exchanges, and was the association’s president for five years. He received multiple outstanding service awards and was a keynote speaker at six major conventions.

Planning to retire, he sold the business to International Monetary Systems in 2006 and was ten years later was inducted into the Barter Hall of Fame by the International Reciprocal Trade Association (IRTA).

Jack came out of retirement in 2015 and founded My College Planning Team (MCPT) where he brings the same creative edge in helping families reduce the cost of their children’s education. He and his team of over fifty professionals are committed to providing high value at affordable prices to families struggling to pay for college.

Jack has been featured in dozens of publications, including Inc. and Forbes magazines, which highlighted his unique ability to retain talented employees by fostering a culture of leadership throughout his companies.

Jennifer Harpham, Director of Financial Aid

Jennifer Harpham

Director of Financial Aid

A financial aid professional with more than 30 years of experience, Jennifer is passionately committed to helping students and their families afford the dream of a college education. She has led the financial aid operations at colleges and universities of all sizes and is skilled in the administration of financial aid programs including grants, scholarships, work-study, and federal and private loans. Her esoteric perspective is invaluable in helping families navigate the application and appeals process. She is an active member of both national and state financial aid associations. Jennifer holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Mount Vernon Nazarene University and an MBA from the University of Findlay.

Additional Notes: Quoted in media outlets including USA Today, Bloomberg, and Cleveland.com. Served as the director of financial aid at schools in Ohio and Virginia.

Joanne Levine, MCPT Publicist

Joanne Levine

MCPT Publicist

Joanne Levine is a publicist with a 28-year track record of success. Specializing in small-to-midsize companies, Lekas & Levine PR offers both the close personal attention of a small firm and the high-powered results of a big agency. Joanne has worked with Jack Schacht in various capacities for over 20 years.

Click to schedule a consultation.

Jon Huizinga, Community Development Manager, Faith-Based Venues & Workshop Speaker

Jon Huizinga

Community Development Manager, Faith-Based Venues, Workshop Speaker

Jon is the Director of College and Career at a private, Christian high school in Elmhurst, Illinois that serves students from over 50 communities in the Chicagoland area.

Jon has served in his current role since 2015, leading students and families through the entire college admissions process, while also providing academic and personal-social counseling to all students. As part of his role, he has conducted and hosted yearly workshops about the college search, application and financial aid processes.

Prior to his current role, Jon spent three years as an Admissions Counselor and Assistant Director of Admission at Trinity Christian College in Palos Heights, Illinois, where he recruited high school and transfer students from all over the midwest, guiding them through the application, financial aid and course registration processes.

In addition to his counseling duties, Jon is also a coach within the boy’s basketball program at his high school, serving as an assistant varsity coach for four years and currently as the head 6th-grade-boys coach.

Jon earned bachelor degrees in psychology and exercise science from Trinity Christian College. At Trinity, he was also a collegiate athlete on the men’s basketball team. Upon graduation, Jon earned his master’s degree in school counseling and guidance from Lewis University in Romeoville, Illinois.

Jon lives in Villa Park with his wife and three young children. He enjoys playing, coaching and watching just about any sport, but especially basketball. He’s a life-long fan of the Chicago Cubs, Bulls and Bears.

Katherine Williams, College Essay Coach, Managing Editor

Katherine Williams

College Essay Coach, Managing Editor

With over 15 years of experience as an essay tutor, literacy professional, and education copywriter for companies like Study.com and Transparent Language, Katherine Williams expertly coaches students through the college essay writing process. Her M.A. in Theological Ethics and Philosophy from the University of Aberdeen and B.A. in Theatre Arts from Oral Roberts University allow her to help students craft compelling personal narratives and approach prompts uniquely.

Her specialized understanding of Orton-Gillingham, Barton, Wilson, and TEFL programs equips her to provide personalized support for students with learning differences like dyslexia, ADHD, autism, and ESL.

Additionally, with over 10 years of experience as a content strategist and marketer, Katherine is highly skilled in creating high-converting blog, workshop, and social media content. As Managing Editor for MCPT, she helps ensure our team provides you with top-notch free resources, from blogs to newsletters to new workshop content.

At the heart of it all, Katherine is dedicated to bringing out the best in every student through the admissions journey, teaching them to express their unique personalities through vivid, authentic essays every time. 

Lindsay Johnson Hansen, Scholarship Search Specialist

Lindsay Johnson Hansen

Scholarship Search Specialist

Lindsay is a high school counselor with over 12 years of experience working in the second largest and most diverse high school in Charleston, SC.  Originally from New York, Lindsay earned her Bachelor’s degree in English and Elementary Education from Mount St. Mary College before moving to Charleston, SC where she earned her Master’s degree in Secondary School Counseling from The Citadel and finally her Doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis on diversity, equity, and inclusion from the University of South Carolina.  

Lindsay’s passion is supporting all students regardless of their backgrounds or ability levels throughout their high school years so they can achieve their postsecondary goals and dreams.  Her favorite part about being a counselor is getting to know her students and their families so she can customize their graduation plans and use her research skills to identify scholarships and opportunities tailored to their diverse academic disciplines, backgrounds, and career paths.

As a Scholarship Search Specialist, Lindsay is dedicated to creating pathways for students to overcome financial obstacles and pursue their educational ambitions while eliminating some of their stress during the process.

Peter Pitts

Peter Pitts

Small College Specialist / Higher Education Author

Peter Pitts is a retired Admission Representative with 42 years of experience working with students and families.  Twenty-seven of the 42 years were at Monmouth College (IL) as Regional Director of Admission.  Previous positions included 10 years as a Director of Admission at colleges throughout the Midwest.  In his retirement, Peter has published a book called After Breakfast I Change Lives (available on Amazon) that talks about his passion for helping students and parents and his love of small colleges.

Going away from home to college is, indeed, life-changing in so many ways!   Peter also has created a website (U3K4College.com) that contains over 275 blogs that highlight unique majors at various (mostly small) colleges throughout the United States.  Peter has been a featured speaker at over 40 classrooms in the western suburbs of Chicago.  Two of his favorite topics are “Assumptions to avoid when shopping for college” and “The advantages of attending small colleges.” Peter was a first generation college student.  He grew up in Iowa, attending Mount Saint Clare (Associate Degree in Math), Wartburg College (Bachelor Degree in Sociology), and the University of Iowa (Masters Degree in Sociology).  Peter’s entire profession career has been in Higher Education/Admissions.  He and his wife live in Aurora, IL, and are proud parents of two boys and two grandsons!

Rich Goldman, Director of Tutoring

Rich Goldman

Director of Tutoring

Rich Goldman is an Ivy League-educated (University of Pennsylvania…go Quakers!) SAT and ACT tutor who’s been teaching the strategies and methods on how to crack these tests for decades. In the past, Rich – who goes by the professional moniker “Mr. SAT” –  trained with and taught for both Kaplan and Princeton Review, and has taught everything from 1-on-1 tutoring to multi-student classes. However, after years of affiliation with those premiere companies, Rich developed his own ideas about how to best teach the tips, tricks and methods to students of ALL levels. Contrary to the methodology of numerous other entities, Rich’s tried and proven approach is to dive right into the tests, teaching the tips, tricks and methods as the students get immediate, direct and invaluable hands-on practice with each section.  Rich’s style is to engage his students through interactivity, positivity, motivation and humor, and he has the rare ability to boil down difficult concepts into easily digestible morsels.  Rich is also a happy husband and proud father of two delightful children, and he loves nature, adventure travel, scuba diving and people of all walks of life!

Ron Turak, Career Coach

Ron Turak

Career Coach

Ron Turakworks with students to help them discover their career dreams and develop academic plans to reach their career goals. His caring counseling and advising style encourages students to be open to their full potential and the many career opportunities available to them. Ron encourages students to be the creator of a future filled with a sense of purpose and passion.

Ron has 45 years of experience working as a career, academic and personal counselor in college settings. During this time, he assisted high school students and college students of various ages with designing, planning and reaching their personal, career and academic goals. He has also worked as Technical Clinical and Market Analyst with a major U.S. Pharmaceutical company.

Ron is a National Board-Certified Counselor and PA licensed Professional Counselor. Also, he is a recipient of the State University of New York President’s Award for Excellence in Professional Service. His education includes a Masters of Arts in Counselor Education/Student Personnel from Indiana University of PA and a Masters of Business Administration from Philadelphia University as well as a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and an Associates degree in Computer Science.

Outside of work, Ron enjoys spending time with family and friends, playing pickleball, hiking, skiing, walking his dog, Jayke and community activities

Ashlyn Manzano-Hernandez, Community Outreach Assistant

Ashlyn Manzano-Hernandez

Community Outreach Assistant

Ashlyn is a first-generation college student at Stockton University, class of 2027. She is majoring in Social Work to pursue her passion in assisting people in her community. She graduated as salutatorian from her high school all while participating in track, basketball, community service, and interning at holistic studio throughout her four years. She enjoys exploring new opportunities and skills that’ll open new paths that enrich her life experience and future!

Chandani Rao, Chief Operating Officer

Chandani Rao

Chief Operating Officer

Chandani Rao received her BA in Communications with a minor in Statistics from Rutgers College. She later earned her MBA from the Rutgers Graduate School of Management (now Rutgers Business School). She has been in Client Services for close to 30 years and also partners with her husband in their real estate investment business. Aligned with her interest in personal finance, she manages the bookkeeping and business management, always eager to learn creative approaches.

With her oldest child having recently completed the wild world of college applications and admission, Chandani engaged My College Planning Team to advise on award offers received from their top choice schools. MCPT confirmed there was a discrepancy with one of the awards,
which was the first-choice school. The base issue was an erroneous assumption based on a one-time event which resulted in an inflated EFC. MCPT guided the successful appeal, and her child is now enrolled at her dream school.

Chandani’s passion for helping to guide others to understand and make decisions with the often daunting college transition is what propelled her to join the MCPT client service team. Her first-hand experience with FAFSA and the CSS Profile helps keep her up-to-date with the process.

Chandani is married with 3 children, who will keep her intimately involved with the college process for at least the next 10 years. She grew up playing tennis, played for Rutgers, and has a goal to get back to playing in the coming year. When she can find the perfect intersection of
everyone’s schedule, Chandani loves to travel and explore with her family, enjoying new adventures together.

David O'Hearn, IEP/504 Student Support Specialist

David O’Hearn

IEP/504 Student Support Specialist

David has 19 years of experience in public schools and over 20 years working with emotionally challenged children and adolescents in residential care. He is currently a high school guidance counselor for a large and diverse high school in MA. He is very passionate about post-secondary planning and has extensive experience with academic advising, career planning, IEP and 504 design and implementation.

David is a graduate of Elmira College in Elmira, NY with a Bachelor of Science in Human Services. He has earned a Master’s of Education in School Counseling from Cambridge College in Cambridge, MA. David played hockey collegiately at Elmira College and is still actively involved today as the Head Coach of his high school girls’ varsity ice hockey team.

Jennifer Rowland, Student Support Specialist

Jennifer Rowland

Student Support Specialist

Jen has a wide variety of experience ranging from working in a high school in northern New Jersey to moving north to a high school on the coast of southern Maine. She has been working as a high school counselor for 18 years and has been a Director of High School Counseling for 5 years. Guiding students through the college admissions process became a passion of hers early on in her career. Creating programming to fit the needs of her students as well as attending many local, regional and national conferences has her up to date on the latest trends of college admissions.

Jen attended the University of Hartford in West Hartford, Connecticut for her for undergraduate degree in Special Education where she played Women’s Division One tennis. She completed her master’s degree in Counseling Services at Rider University. She continued on to get her College Counseling Certificate from UCLA. Jen currently lives in York, Maine where she enjoys going to the beach, paddle boarding and mountain biking in the summer and skis as much as she can to survive the New England winters.

Jerome Feldman, College Essay Coach

Jerome Feldman

College Essay Coach

I have taught high school and college students advanced composition and writing skills for over 30 years. I am also a published author of professional development texts for post-secondary educators. Through these many years of experience, I have continuously developed and honed my abilities to guide college and college-bound students in becoming skillful writers of well-crafted essays both in the course of their academic studies, as well as for college applications and scholarship grants.  My teaching goal has been singular – to assist my students in all stages of the writing process, from initial idea generation and development through final revision and editing – so they produce the highest quality essays possible.  It is my view that such essays not only meet expected academic standards as statements of each student’s experiences, knowledge, and intelligence, but they also strive to be thoughtful and creative expressions of each student’s individual personality and “voice”  so each student’s writing stands apart from others.

Linda Gump, Tutoring Manager

Linda Gump, MBA

Tutoring Manager

Linda has her BA in Biology from Washington University in St. Louis and her MBA from the University of Chicago. With over 30 years’ experience in business and career coaching, she currently owns College Tutors of Barrington, Illinois which focuses on providing intelligent, experienced tutors to residents throughout the Northwest Suburbs.

She is a results-oriented individual with excellent leadership, coaching, mentoring and problem-solving skills. Linda is certified in MBTI and leadership coaching. Her company helps to build stronger families by providing one on one ACT and SAT test prep, as well as homework help. All tutoring is customized and focuses on the individual student’s goals.

Click here schedule a complimentary consultation.

Matt Grzetich, Client Service Manager

Matt Grzetich

Client Service Manager

Matt received his BA in Organizational and Corporate Communications from Northern Illinois University.  He has over 10 years of experience in Assisting families to understand the enrollment and financial aid process within Higher Education. His most recent experience has been Managing the Student Finance Operations team for a large proprietary University and specializes in: FAFSA, the appeals process, reviewing award letters and Title IV Funding options. Matt is passionate about helping families understand the financial aid process and navigate the most cost-efficient options to pay for college. He is also the father of two small children and volunteers his time within the school district.

Matthew D. Allgood, CFP

Matthew D. Allgood, CFP

Certified Financial Planner, Financial Advisor, Certified Kingdom Advisor

As principal and owner of Allgood Financial, an independent Financial Planning and Advisory practice, Mr. Allgood has been guiding clients through the financial planning process and advising them on many aspects of their personal finances since 1999.  A Vanderbilt University graduate with an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management, Matt is very familiar with the process of applying to, financing, and succeeding at top-tier universities.  He has a passion for helping college families and for helping others find a way to afford the education of their dreams.  Finally, as a father of four himself (including one college graduate already), he relates well to the challenges today’s parents face in navigating the financial aid process.

You can reach out directly to Matthew via e-mail at matthew@allgoodfin.com, or learn more about his practice via his website, http://www.allgoodfin.com .

Securities offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC.  Investment advice offered through Level Four Advisory Services, LLC, a registered investment advisor.  Level Four Advisory Services, LLC, and Allgood Financial are separate entities from LPL Financial.

This LPL Financial Registered Representative may only discuss and/or transact securities business with residents of the following states:   AZ, CA, FL, IL, IN, KY, MI, NC, TX

Check the background of this Investment professional at FINRA’s “BrokerCheck” found on their website at http://www.finra.org.  SIPC’s website can be reviewed at http://www.sipc.org.

Neither Allgood Financial, LPL Financial, nor Level Four Advisory Services is affiliated with My College Planning Team.  All are separate entities from one another.

Michelle Flessa

Director of Specialized Student Services

For the past 27 years, Michelle has been building bridges between academic institutions for students of all abilities and aspirations.  Her 20+ years of experience as a classroom special education teacher and a 9-12 school guidance counselor has given her an intimate perspective of the college and career bound student, their needs and the supports needed for families.  Her position as a special education administrator the last 6 years has provided her a leading role in guiding special education transition program development and implementation primarily for students with disabilities in grades 7-12.  Michelle’s expertise in the areas of IDEA and Section 504 provides students and their families with a foundational resource and understanding of the multiple pathways students with disabilities may pursue for postsecondary education.  She takes immense pride as an educator, a calling analogized to a bridge builder; linking students to staff, schools to families, struggles to success.  

Michelle holds a B.S. in Education and M.A. in School Counseling from the University of Detroit Mercy.  She completed her ED.s degree in the areas of School Administration/Policy Studies and Special Education Administration from Wayne State University.  Michelle holds Michigan teacher certifications in the areas of K-5; ELA 6-8; Learning Disabilities K-12; School Counseling K-12.  Michelle has Michigan Department of Education approval in the areas of Teacher Consultant and Director of Special Education.  She also possesses her Michigan administration certification in the areas of K-12 education and Central Office.

Neal Sardana, Career Coach

Neal Sardana

Career Coach

My passion for career development came about after college. I was lost and unfulfilled. I went through career coaching and found the process so empowering that I knew I wanted a job where I can support others in exploring who they are, what they want, and how to get there from an empowered place. I received a Master of Science in Counseling from San Francisco State University with a specialization in Career Development and an emphasis in College Counseling. I have over ten years of experience in higher education as a career and academic advisor, consultant, adjunct professor, and licensed psychotherapist. I look forward to continuing to collaboratively help young adults live authentically by discovering how to align who they are with their career goals.

Ruthie McGraw, Scholarship Search Specialist

Ruthie McGraw

Scholarship Search / Grant Specialist

Ruthie is an educator with over 10 years of experience working with students of all academic levels and backgrounds. She is a lifelong learner who is passionate about helping others along their academic journey. Ruthie has earned a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education, a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership, and a Doctorate in Higher Education.

Ruthie’s career in education includes various positions such as classroom teacher for several years and a youth program director. Additionally, Ruthie has served as a Skills Enhancement Coordinator, working on the admissions team, and later the financial aid team, at a technical college in her previous home state of Texas. She enjoyed helping incoming high school students & their families find supplementary financial resources to help reduce the costs of college expenses while also ensuring they were aware of the necessary documents needed to move through the process.

Ruthie currently lives in Nashville, TN with her husband and two children. She enjoys taking short day trips to explore surrounding cities or watching random documentaries on just about any subject on various streaming platforms.

Sara Shaver

Director of Student Services

Sara Shaver, an award-winning high school counselor, joined My College Planning Team as director of Student Services. Endorsed by colleagues and parents for her knowledge of college admissions and financial aid, she collaborates with students and families to make sure they have the tools and guidance they need to successfully navigate the journey toward college.

Sara is director of student services and a college and career counselor at a public high school in Indiana. Previously, she was assistant director of financial aid at Cincinnati State, where she also managed the scholarship program.

She holds a master’s in organizational leadership from Indiana Tech and a bachelor’s from Northern Kentucky University.

Sara’s honors include iSTAR Educator of the Year, given by her region’s high schools to recognize excellence in teaching and learning, and awards for FAFSA completion. Her high school routinely has FAFSA completion rates near 100 percent. She has appeared in U.S. News & World Report and other publications.

Alison Worland, SAT/ACT Tutor

Alison Worland

SAT / ACT Tutor

Alison (“Ali”) Worland has been tutoring SATs for years, and will stop at nothing to ensure that each and every one of her students receives a uniquely catered, highly-effective, personalized learning experience.  Ali’s passion for helping students began when she reflected upon how valuable her own tutors were to her as she navigated through her own high school education.  Central to Ali’s mission of success is to change the way her students view the SAT: rather than being a high-pressure test on which they must do well (or else!), Ali reframes the test as an exciting opportunity for them to impress colleges with what their potential is.  In addition to Ali’s personable, organized, creative, and illuminating teaching style, one of her primary aims is to develop her students’ confidence through upbeat motivation and positive reinforcement.  She keeps students on track outside of sessions with additional practice assignments and mock tests.  Ali is an athlete (think twice before challenging her to a swimming race!), former educator, big sister, and a proud University of North Carolina Tarheel!

Catherine Roy, College Essay Coach

Catherine Roy

College Essay Coach

With over 15 years experience as a high school counselor, Catherine Roy has coached thousands of students through the college application process. She has offered many workshops for both parents and students on topics such as essay writing, scholarships, financial
aid and the overall application process. Catherine especially enjoys helping students with their college essays. Often, students have a difficult time coming up with the essay topic. Catherine takes time to get to know her students and uses that knowledge to guide them to topics that will highlight their strengths, abilities and unique personalities.

Before her counseling career, Catherine also worked as a systems analyst for several
companies, including IBM and Xerox. This experience can be especially helpful for students
who are pursuing a career in technology. She has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and
Computer Science from the New York State University of Plattsburgh NY and holds a Master
Degree in School Counseling from the College of Saint Rose.

In addition to coaching countless high school students during her career, she has also coached
her own children who have gone on to pursue careers such as a doctor, lawyer, nurse
practitioner and chemical engineer.

As a counselor, Catherine understands the anxiety and stress the college application process
and especially the college essay process can produce. She prides herself in putting students at
ease and giving them the confidence to succeed.

Christine Van Meter, Career Coach

Christine Van Meter

Career Coach

I am a National Certified Counselor (NCC), Global Career Development Facilitator (GCDF), and Certified Career Services Provider (CCSP). My passion lies in helping others achieve transformative change, adaptability, and resilience in their careers and lives. Over the past two decades, I have been an Army spouse, modeling strength, commitment, and adaptation while supporting the military mission. I completed my BA in Psychology from the University of Texas and my MA in Counseling Psychology from Bowie State University. This journey refined my career goal to help you discover your path of purpose and turn your aspirations into inspiration for others. In addition to my academic qualifications, I have excelled in various leadership roles with the Army’s family readiness groups, earning the Meritorious Civilian Service Award in 2020. I find rejuvenation in an active lifestyle, cherishing moments of exercise, spending time with friends, laughing, reading, and globetrotting adventures.

Daisy Cruz, Client Service Manager

Daisy Cruz

Client Service Manager

Daisy attended Purdue University Northwest in Hammond, IN for both her undergraduate degree and master’s degree. She has her Bachelors of Art in Spanish with a minor in Psychology and completed her master’s degree in business administration (MBA) with a focus on management. 

Daisy has over 7 years of experience in higher education. She has worked for financial aid offices serving as a financial aid advisor and financial aid counselor. In addition to this, she currently works in student affairs and serves as an academic advisor and financial aid specialist to graduate students. In this role, she advises students on academic and financial aid matters to help achieve their goals and enhance student experience.

Daisy’s passion to assist students and their families started when she was a federal work study worker in her university’s financial aid office. This is where her journey in higher education began. She is passionate with the work she does and the assistance that she is able to provide.  When Daisy is not working, she enjoys spending time with her family, traveling to new places, reading, and cooking!

Jennifer Constantineau, Student Support Services

Jennifer Constantineau

Student Support Specialist

Jennifer has over 10 years experience as a School Counselor. During this time she has worked with students with disabilities as a Behavior Specialist and as a College and Career counselor. Her students come from all different socioeconomic status and backgrounds. As a first generation college student, her desire is to connect with each student helping them to reach for the stars regardless of their background. 

In her downtime, Jennifer’s passion lies in understanding the how and why behind how a student learns best as well as determining if there are genetic and or neurotoxins at play that may impede a student from reaching their maximum potential.

Jennifer has a Masters degree in Counseling and Mental Health from the University of Arizona and lives in Cottonwood Arizona with her two kids, husband, 3 dogs and cat. One day she will add some farm animals to that list!

Jim Kraiss, CFP

Jim Kraiss, CFP

Certified Financial Planner

Jim has been a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) for over 29 years. He has taught financial planning at several area colleges, written multiple financial planning articles, and authored five books on the subject. With his expertise in designing non-assessable financial instruments for college funding and his previous long-term experience as a Series 7 and Series 63 securities advisor, he has been able to design unique multi-advantaged solutions for our clients.

Jim is available to answer any questions you might have about the financial aspects of getting into a great college program.

Click here to schedule a consultation.

Jocelyn Thomas, IEP/504 Student Support Specialist

Jocelyn Thomas

IEP / 504 Student Support Specialist

ocelyn is a dedicated educator with over 23 years of experience in the field of education, serving as a licensed high school counselor and English teacher. Her passion lies in supporting students with diverse backgrounds, particularly those with IEPs and 504 Plans, as they navigate the college admissions process. With expertise in guiding students through admissions, essay writing, financial aid, and accessing resources, Jocelyn has successfully assisted numerous students in realizing their college dreams.

She holds memberships in professional organizations such as the Ohio School Counselor Association (OSCA), American School Counselor Association (ASCA), and the Ohio Association for College Admission Counseling (OACAC). Jocelyn earned her Bachelor’s degree in Secondary English Education from Bowling Green State University, along with Master’s degrees in Counselor Education/School Counseling and Higher Education/Student Affairs from the University of Toledo.

Residing in Central Ohio, Jocelyn finds joy in traveling, watching movies, reading, and indulging in podcasts.

Keira McDonald, Director of Operations

Keira McDonald

Director of Operations

Keira McDonald is the Director of Internships for My College Planning Team. She has several years of experience in various avenues of marketing and education. Throughout her time in the education field, Keira has worked as an Assistant Dean of Admission, an ESL Teacher, and a Director of Communications. She believes that all students should be able to receive the education that they desire.

While an Assistant Dean of Admission at Hofstra University, Keira specialized in recruiting transfer students. She has seen the excitement in students’ eyes when they realize they have finally found the best-fit school. She is determined to continue informing students and their families about how college can be accessible and affordable.

As the Director of Internships at MCPT, Keira is responsible for ensuring that MCPT team members have the support they need while ensuring that student interns have an educational experience where they can learn new skills and apply what they have learned in the classroom.

Keira graduated from St. Joseph’s University in New York with a Bachelor’s degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management and a minor in Psychology. After Keira graduated, she did an internship at Walt Disney World in Florida.

Outside of work, Keira has dedicated her time to traveling the world and immersing herself in new cultures. She has traveled to 25 countries and plans to visit many more over the next few years.

Marbella Moreno, Pell Eligible Specialist

Marbella Moreno

Pell Eligible Specialist / Student Support Specialist

From the Westside of Chicago and a proud Chicago Public School (CPS) graduate, Marbella brings 8 years of postsecondary advising experience and perspective as a first generation Mexican-American college graduate. (YES! She is a Spanish-Speaker!)

Marbella received her B.A in Biology & Environmental Studies from the College of Saint Benedict in Minnesota. She later attended Northeastern Illinois University to receive a M.A in Higher Education with a focus in ENgaging Latina/o Communities for Education (ENLACE).

She is currently a College and Career Coach helping 1st generation families understand the college going process. Prior to assuming this position she served as a financial aid expert with the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC). In spring of 2019 she was announced as the Chicago Public Schools’ College and Career Coach of the year. Lastly, she is one of only a selected few to serve as Master Counselors and College and Career Coaches in the city of Chicago.

Ray Giese, Vice President of Career Planning

Ray Giese

Vice President of Career Planning

Previously, Ray had a 30-year career as a vice president of sales, where he worked with Fortune 500 companies and seamlessly engaged with a range of people, from the front-line employees to top executives.Ray is a Highlands Certified Consultant and a Certified Career Development Specialist. He has two master’s degrees — one in personal finance from Kansas State University and one from University of Illinois-Chicago — and a bachelor’s from Northeastern Illinois University.Outside of work, Ray enjoys spending time with family and friends, leisure travel (especially in his RV), golfing and giving back to the community.

Billie Jo Weis

Vice President of Client Services

Billie Jo Weis is a nationally recognized expert in college financial planning. Since joining My College Planning Team over five years ago, she has provided strategies to help hundreds of students and their families minimize college costs with her extensive knowledge of financial aid and the updated FAFSA rules.

According to Roger Lorelle, founder of Collegiate Funding Solutions, offering the nation’s premiere college planning software for financial advisors, Billie Jo plays a major role in how the software integrates the new FAFSA rules so as to provide timely and accurate solutions.

She also leads MCPT’s Appeals Team, which provides families with the best ways to approach their financial aid appeal, based on the student’s academic profile and family circumstances.

Since receiving her degree in accounting from San Jose State University, Billie Jo has accumulated over 25 years of experience in accounting and finance at a variety of companies, including Symantec Corp. and Thomas Weisel Partners. As a Certified Public Accountant, she worked at an accounting firm with focus on audit and tax work, serving high net-worth families, businesses and several Silicon Valley startups.

Billie Jo is also an accomplished author on the subject of college financial planning and has appeared in the New York TimesCollegiate Parent Magazine, Accounting Today, Chicago Tribune, Appily, Link for Counselors, Grown and Flown, and other media outlets.

Ilya Gofman SAT/ACT Tutor

Ilya Gofman

SAT / ACT Tutor

Ilya Gofman has worked in the test prep industry for over 20 years.  He started tutoring shortly after graduating from Yale and continued tutoring through graduate school and as part of his professional life.  His extensive experience allows him to break standardized test questions down into specific question types and provide strategies for each type.  He has also worked with students of all skill levels and can adapt his approach based on each student’s strengths and weaknesses.  He tutors students for tests including the SAT, ACT, GRE, LSAT,GMAT, SSAT, and ISEE.

In addition to standardized test tutoring, he has taught as an adjunct professor of philosophy at several universities including Southern CT State and Sacred Heart.  Much of his experience teaching at the college level has involved helping students become clearer thinkers and better writers.  Ilya’s background in the humanities allows him to provide academic help for any humanities related subject, including English Literature, Philosophy, History, Psychology, and Sociology.  He is also comfortable tutoring math up to the Pre-Calculus level.

Finally, Ilya also provides academic editing and essay writing assistance.  He has considerable experience helping international students craft their college admissions essays.  He also assists with papers written for high-school, college, or graduate level classes.

When he’s not tutoring, he enjoys chess, tennis, and movies, especially spaghetti westerns.

Lalaine Torres, IEP/504 Student Support Specialist

Lalaine Torres

IEP / 504 Student Support Specialist

Jocelyn is a dedicated educator with over 23 years of experience in the field of education, serving as a licensed high school counselor and English teacher. Her passion lies in supporting students with diverse backgrounds, particularly those with IEPs and 504 Plans, as they navigate the college admissions process. With expertise in guiding students through admissions, essay writing, financial aid, and accessing resources, Jocelyn has successfully assisted numerous students in realizing their college dreams.

She holds memberships in professional organizations such as the Ohio School Counselor Association (OSCA), American School Counselor Association (ASCA), and the Ohio Association for College Admission Counseling (OACAC). Jocelyn earned her Bachelor’s degree in Secondary English Education from Bowling Green State University, along with Master’s degrees in Counselor Education/School Counseling and Higher Education/Student Affairs from the University of Toledo.

Residing in Central Ohio, Jocelyn finds joy in traveling, watching movies, reading, and indulging in podcasts.

Lateisha Stewart Greene, Email Marketing Specialist

Lateisha Stewart Greene

Email Marketing Specialist

Lateisha is a dedicated professional with a background in consumer psychology from Virginia Commonwealth University. Over the past decade, she has specialized in email marketing, leveraging her expertise in consumer behavior to drive successful campaigns. In her email marketing role, she enjoys flexing her creative muscles by designing eye-catching templates, crafting captivating copy, and brainstorming fresh campaign ideas.

Currently based in Tampa, Florida, Lateisha was raised in Virginia. Beyond work, she loves spending time with her two daughters and enjoys watching basketball. She has a huge collection of shoes with over 100 pairs and growing.

Lindsey Freestone, Student Support Specialist

Lindsey Freestone

Student Support Specialist

Lindsey has worked in education for over 8 years including most recently as a high school counselor. As a licensed school counselor in Utah she has guided many students throughout the college planning process and finds joy in helping students navigate their plans and finding their strengths. She is passionate about guiding students through their college search and admission process no matter what type of school they may be interested in.

Lindsey has worked in public schools and charter schools. She earned her Bachelor’s degree from Utah Valley University in Behavioral Science and her Master’s degree in Education from Utah State University to become a school counselor.

In her spare time she enjoys spending time with family, playing softball, watching sports, and traveling.

Steve M. Visser, Financial Advisor

Steve M. Visser

Financial Advisor

For over 24 years, Steve M. Visser has been successfully engaged in teaching clients how to plan a secure retirement in an insecure world, and helping clients save for college in a tax-efficient manner.

As a partner with OnPath Financial, LLC, with locations in Naperville and St. Charles, Steve and his team bring significant resources to help clients with their retirement and college planning goals. Steve graduated from Calvin University with a double major in 1998 and has successfully advised hundreds of families over the past two decades.

Steve and his wife are longtime Naperville residents.  Steve’s son graduated from Naperville North High School and is now pursuing a computer science degree at Calvin University.  His daughter attends Timothy Christian School. Steve is also an active member at Compass Church and at the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce.

Securities offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advice offered through Highpoint Advisor Group, a Registered Investment Advisor. HighPoint Advisor Group and OnPath Financial, LLC are separate entities from LPL Financial. For a complete list of the states in which Steve may discuss and/or transact securities business, or for more information, please visit www.onpathfinancial.com.

Suzanne Solow, College Essay Coach

Suzanne Solow

College Essay Coach

Suzanne has been working in the education field for over 15 years. Currently, she teaches 11th Grade Advanced Placement English Language & Composition and 12th Grade Global Literature at a public high school in New Jersey. In addition, she is an AP Reader, tasked with scoring the written portion of the AP English exam. 

One of the most rewarding parts of her job is conferencing with students about the writing process. She guides students in crafting authentic essays that convey their unique student voice. There is no greater feeling than witnessing a student take pride in their final product.

Suzanne holds a Bachelor’s degree in English from Temple University and a Master’s degree in Education from Saint Joseph’s University. She credits the experience of writing and editing her high school newspaper for sparking a love of the written word. An avid music fan, she writes concert and album reviews. In her free time, she enjoys relaxing with her family, reading, and traveling to uncharted territories!

Tamika Thomas, Client Service Manager

Tamika Thomas

Client Service Manager

Tamika attended Central Michigan University where she graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. Immediately after college, she worked in the financial services industry at Northern Trust for almost 10 years. During this time, she was able to help many families with college-bound children on their investments, trust administration, and family wealth preservation.

Having a desire to use her financial knowledge to help students and families navigate the collegiate environment, Tamika began working as a college counselor and Director of College Counseling within the Noble Network of Charter Schools in Chicago, Illinois. While at Noble, Tamika created a student-centered college counseling philosophy for hundreds of students which yielded 98 – 100% yearly college acceptance, $13+ million in merit scholarships for 3 consecutive years, and a 7% increase in college persistence in one year.

Currently, Tamika works for a national non-profit organization devoted to helping students achieve college success while also serving as a national speaker and Client Service Manager at My College Planning Team. She is a regular contributor to Collegiate Parent Magazine and has been published in several media outlets including Go Banking Rates and College Covered.

When Tamika is not working or spending time with her husband and 2 children, she enjoys spending time with her extended family and friends, traveling, shopping, dancing, and trying new foods.

Anne Thomas, College Essay Coach

Anne Thomas

College Essay Coach

Anne is the Director of College Placement at a private, independent high school in South Florida.  She is in her 24th year working with high school students in a variety of educational settings: public, charter, and private schools. She is a Florida Certified Educator in the areas of School Counseling, English 6-12, Civics Literacy, English Speakers of Other Languages, and Driver’s Education.  As a former high school English teacher and Introduction to Writing Adjunct Professor, she has decades of experience. As a high school counselor, she has led students and families through four-year academic advisement plans; social-emotional development; and the entire college admission process. 

Anne graduated from Florida Atlantic University (FAU) with an undergraduate degree in English and a Certificate in Ethnic Studies. She went on to earn her Master’s degree in School Counseling at FAU and a Specialist degree in Educational Leadership from the University of Phoenix and taught at the university for ten years.

As the Director of Student Services for 17 years at a municipally run charter high school, she was the SAT Coordinator, AP Coordinator, Academic Master Scheduler of 1800 students and tested over 500 AP exams. At a public high school of 2600 students, she was exclusively the Cambridge School Counselor for over 450 students and worked with students all four years of high school with the academic and college process. As the Cambridge Exam Officer, she organized and issued over 1100 GCE exams annually. Anne has presented hundreds of parent and student workshops on grade point average, academic scheduling, the NCAA recruiting process, essay writing and college admissions.

Brent Lee, Marketing Assistant

Brent Lee

Marketing Assistant

Brent, currently in his senior year at the University of Oregon, is pursuing a major in Advertising and a minor in Business Administration. His objective is to immerse himself in the fields of marketing, advertising, and communication, aiming to garner valuable work experience for post-college endeavors. Having completed several internships, Brent is eager to apply the diverse skill sets and knowledge he has acquired from past experiences to the role of Marketing Assistant at My College Planning Team.

Garrett Thompson, SAT/ACT Tutor

Garrett Thompson

SAT / ACT Tutor

Garrett graduated with his B.S. in Pure and Applied Mathematics and M.S. in Mathematics from the Stevens Institute of Technology in 2022 after a combined 4 years, and has been teaching and tutoring continuously since 2017. Since then, Garrett has tutored test prep, as well as academic subjects related to Math, Physics, and Computer Science, taught chess fundamentals to packed first grade classrooms, and written for national and state-level math competitions in calculus.

Garrett’s educational philosophy is that all students deserve an education that enriches and inspires them to explore the beauty and applications of what they learn, and that the responsibility of an educator is to actively listen and design the learning experiences most conducive to this. To Garrett, teaching is a beautiful mechanism that allows educators to demonstrate their love for learning and inspire learners. Once Garrett got a first glimpse at what high-impact education could have on students, he knew that he wanted to become an educator (and an energetic, passionate one at that!)

When not tutoring, Garrett is typically playing the New York Times Spelling Bee word game, destressing with chess puzzles, and absorbing random facts about basketball.

Georgia Huntsman, Student Support Specialist & Career Coach

Georgia Huntsman

Student Support Specialist / Career Coach

Georgia has over 13 years of school counseling experience. As a former teacher, she understands the whole student in a myriad of ways. She has worked at public high schools and charter schools with wide variety of ethnicities, socioeconomic status, and academic levels. Georgia uses the lenses of academic, social/emotional, and the college/career domains in her work to allow her to know the student on a deeper level and in turn, give them the best knowledge to reach their goals.

Georgia has a bachelor’s degree in music education with a minor in psychology from Bowling Green State University (Ohio) and a master’s degree in school counseling from University of Dayton (Ohio).  She also has furthered her education at Laverne University and Lindenwood University.

During her time as a school counselor, GeorgiaI has advised 4,500+ students about college and career pathways.  She also has four years of English language student experience with whom are native speakers in languages including French, Haitian, Creole, Guatemalan, Spanish, American Sign Language, and more.

It brings Georgia great joy to work with students that have the desire and drive to go to college. As a school counselor and college and academic advisor, she walks students through the college application process step-by-step so that is feels seamless, and the student and their family feels knowledgeable and pleased with the final outcome.

Georgia is also an expert in assisting families through the financial aid process, navigating through the FAFSA, award letters, and more.  She has worked with students and families through the college application process to colleges across the country, Ivy League, public and private schools, as well as NCAA, NAIA, and Juco affiliated colleges for athletes.

Click here to schedule a complimentary consultation.

Mary Small, Financial Advisor

Mary Small

Financial Advisor

Mary Small has over 18 years in recruiting and management with Louis Knox Financial and Sequoia Financial Network, with nearly a decade focused on financial advisor recruitment and retention. At Louis Knox she also managed the day-to-day tactical and long-term strategic activities within the business. As a mother of two college students, she understands the financial stress that parents of college-bound children are experiencing and can help create financial solutions that will work for them. Mary lives in Bloomingdale, IL with her husband Jon and their two children. She enjoys spending time with her family, coaching, yoga and physical fitness, especially in conjunction with supporting a cause like the 3-day breast cancer walk.

Mary is here to answer any questions you might have about the financial aspects of getting into a great college program.

Mira Nevins, Communications Assistant

Mira Nevins

Communications Assistant

Mira Nevins is a sophomore currently enrolled at Lipscomb University. She is pursuing her studies at the College of Business with a focus on marketing. She is an award-winning Guest Service Team Member at a major pharmaceutical company. She has had 4 years of customer service experience working in retail for major companies. Her status as a college student guides her work as a member of the outreach team. Mira’s background in communication along with her passion for the dynamic world of marketing, led her to work with My College Plannin

Samantha Bartek

Vice President of Community Outreach

Samantha is a high school counselor that has worked in both public and charter schools. Her most recent role had a heavy emphasis on college and career readiness and planning, where she served as the 11-12th grade School Counselor and School-to-Career Coordinator in a public charter school on the Jersey Shore. Samantha finds being there every step of the college planning journey to be the most exciting part of her job. Working with students to find their best fit and watching them find their voice throughout their applications is truly rewarding for her. Samantha has worked to help students get into their dream schools, such Penn State, NYU, and Howard.

Samantha received her Bachelors in Psychology from Kean University and her Masters in Education from Monmouth University, where she was a graduate research assistant and was able to become a published academic author in both college textbooks and educational articles. Samantha loves spending time with her toddler, practicing self care via eating sweets and going to the gym (she’s all about balance!).

Scott W. Lee, Webmaster

Scott W. Lee

Webmaster

Scott W. Lee started with My College Planning Team in April 2022. In his 25 years of experience in Information Technology, Scott has 15 years of experience designing, managing, and hosting websites. Prior to becoming a webmaster, Scott maintained E-Commerce for a fortune 500 technology firm, managed technology systems for a fortune 500 healthcare company, and directed operations for a web hosting firm that host over 17,000 customers worldwide.

Scott received his Bachelor’s degree in Engineering Route to Business from The University of Texas at Austin and his Master’s degree in Business at West Texas A&M University. One of the main reason why he joined the My College Planning Team was the believe in its cause. To offer guidance and help families, parents, and students nationwide throughout the college planning process.

Shamoon Ebrahimi, Career Coach

Shamoon Ebrahimi

Career Coach

With over 15 years of experience, I work with families from diverse backgrounds through the intricacies of academic, social/emotional, and career navigation. I earned a B.A. in Sociology from the University of Connecticut, an M.A. in Sociology, a school counseling certification from Concordia University, and an Ed.S. in Educational Leadership at National Louis University. My career trajectory, from academic advising in higher education to my true calling in school counseling and career coaching, allows me to make remarkable strides in urban and suburban educational settings. I led departments to attain Recognized ASCA Model Program status, employing a data-driven approach and fostering relationships, demonstrating my unwavering commitment to student outcomes. I cherish moments watching football with his family, exploring new destinations, and experiencing all that the world offers in terms of food, walking, jogging, cycling, and fostering connections through mentoring.

Shane Cole, Student Support Specialist

Shane Cole

Student Support Specialist

Shane is a college and scholarship counselor at a public high school in Addison, Illinois that serves the second-most diverse student population in the state. 

For the past fifteen years, he has worked with families from diver›se economic backgrounds to assist and navigate the college application, scholarship and financial aid processes. He frequently presents on these topics to parents and throughout the community.

Shane also has 24 years of experience coaching high school football and women’s basketball, which has enhanced his ability to help student athletes navigate the NCAA Division I and Division II athletic eligibility process.

In addition to academics and athletics, Shane has supervised student international travel to Italy. He partnered with school and community organizations to provide quality international educational experiences for his students.

In 2012, Shane received the Outstanding Educator Award from the University of Chicago. In 2014, he was named a Claes Nobel Educator of Distinction by the National Society of High School Scholars. He has a bachelor’s degree in health education from Southern Illinois University — Carbondale and a master’s degree in counseling from Lewis University.

Shane lives in Batavia with his wife and two high-school-aged daughters. He enjoys running, cycling and attending his kids’ music and sporting events.

Click here to schedule a consultation.

Lisa Christie, Financial Advisor

Lisa Christie, CFS

Financial Advisor

Lisa M. Christie, CFS (Certified Funds Specialist), is an Independent Financial Advisor.  She is fully licensed and has been in the business for 33 years.  She and her business partner have their own practice, L & M Financial Services, Inc., providing well rounded financial planning that examines your total financial picture. We work with Life, Health, Disability, Long Term Care insurance as well as Investment planning for College Funding and Retirement Planning.  L & M was nominated for Small Business of the Year for 2015 & 2016 by the Hoffman Estates Chamber of Commerce.

Lisa is here to answer any questions you might have about the financial aspects of getting into a great college program.

Sara Strickland, Student Support Specialist

Sara Strickland

Student Support Specialist

Sara Strickland has over ten years of experience working with students and families toward high school graduation and college matriculation. Her years of experience range from the high school classroom to college orientation offices, all of which contribute to a greater understanding of students’ college-going and academic needs.

During her time as a College Counselor in a private California high school Sara was a member of the Western and National Associations for College Admission Counseling (WACAC and NACAC, respectively). After her move to the Rocky Mountains Sara joined RMACAC and continued in NACAC where she most recently earned a Professional Certificate in College Admission Counseling for Emerging Leaders. Sara also holds a College Admissions Specialist certificate from the American School Counseling Association (ASCA) and a College and Career Readiness Credential from Southern Utah University.

In addition to her current role as a College Counselor, Sara coordinates Advanced Placement Exams and College Entrance Exams for her high school students alongside moderating the National Honor Society.

Eve Przadka, Financial Advisor

Eva Przadka

Financial Advisor

Eve has been helping families for over 20 years to protect their assets, manage their financial affairs, and secure their financial future. She has successfully founded and operated her own financial services company for over 11 years.

Since earning her Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management, Eve became a lifelong learner and has now chosen to develop an in-depth knowledge of financial strategies that can be used to help families lower their college costs.

Eve is an avid member of Chicago’s Polish Community and is fluent in her native language.  After noticing very little information available to the Polish/American community with regards to college financial planning, Eve developed a fervent desire to help. With her unique skill set and experience, she helps take advantage of financial strategies for all who work with her.

As a mother of two college age boys, Eve knows first-hand the challenges that families face finding the best possible aid and solutions to pay for college.

During her time off, Eve enjoys traveling, networking, and spending time with her kids.

Lisa Urbina, Student Support Specialist

Lisa Urbina

Student Support Specialist

Lisa is a high school counselor with over 10 years experience in public and private high schools in Northern New Jersey, where she was raised. While Lisa enjoys all aspects of the school counseling role, assisting students and families through the college planning process is the most meaningful to her. For most students, selecting a college is the first time they are “in the driver’s seat” with regard to where they go next in their education. Lisa has always found guiding families through those decisions to be the most exciting and rewarding.

Lisa graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a Master’s degree in School Counseling from Villanova University. She lives in Northern New Jersey with her husband and two young children. With her limited free time, Lisa’s idea of self-care includes going for walks, reading, and rewatching episodes of Friends.

Nicole Hall, Student Support Specialist

Nichole Hall

Student Support Specialist

Nicole has been working as a school counselor for the last eight years at a public high school on Long Island. Growing up on Long Island herself, Nicole is used to the demanding, competitive, and fast paced environment of New York.

Nicole works with her students from 9th grade through 12th grade. She finds it extremely rewarding being able to watch her students grow and assist them in navigating these important four years.

Her favorite part of being a school counselor is creating connections with students and their families. She breaks down the college admissions process for students, from start to finish, so the process is not overwhelming. She collaborates closely with families to ensure the students find their “perfect fit”.  Nicole has been through the college transfer process herself and realizes how crucial it is to find a college that compliments students’ values.

Nicole has had students get accepted into very prestigious programs including Ivy Leagues such as Cornell University, Princeton University and Yale University.

Nicole graduated with her bachelor’s degree from SUNY Stony Brook and her master’s degree in school counseling from Long Island University. Every year, she returns back to Long Island University to speak to graduate students about the school counseling profession. Nicole also teaches courses online for educators on Effective Communication with Families and Creating Effective Mentoring Programs.

Nicole currently resides in a town on Long Island which ensures that she is always near a beach and the best pizza around.

Tesha McMillon, Government Loan Specialist

Tesha McMillon

Government Loan Specialist

Tesha McMillon is a Higher Education professional. She has been in the education industry for more than 18 years. Currently, Tesha is the Assistant Director of Financial Aid/Default Manager for an H.B.C.U. in Raleigh, North Carolina. She is also the owner of McMillon and Associates and a financial literacy business she calls “The H.E.L.P.,” an acronym for Higher Education Literacy Provider.

Under the H.E.L.P., Tesha provides higher education literacy to federal loan borrowers related to FAFSA, student loan repayment, forgiveness, cancellation, discharge, and default. Title IV funding (student loans) is her area of expertise. She provides literacy through counseling, consulting, and advising federal loan borrowers on their student loan repayment options. Tesha specializes in student loan repayment options, forgiveness, consolidation, cancellation, discharge, and default. For new borrowers, she offers financial aid literacy and advising, which focuses primarily on FAFSA completion, the awarding of aid, grants, and scholarships. She partners and collaborates with different organizations and industries and assists their clientele with the issues surrounding their student loan indebtedness.

Her business “McMillon & Associates Consulting firm” focuses on assisting institutions of higher learning or outside stakeholders who offer products or services related to higher education. Tesha assists with innovation, performance improvement, strategy implementation, and operating efficiency on Title IV compliance and enrollment management. She offers financial aid consulting and strategy development, operational assessments, product development and testing, and assistance with default management. Her goal is to help student loan borrowers successfully repay their student loans.

Tesha has a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration w/minor in Government contracts and Acquisitions and will complete her Master’s in Public Administration in December 2021, graduating from both programs’ summa cum laude. Both degrees are from Strayer University. Tesha lives in Clayton, NC, with her five-year-old son. She enjoys reading, giving back to the community, and spending time with her son in her spare time.

Jonelle Carty, Student Support Services

Jonelle Carty

Student Support Services

Jonelle has been a high school counselor for over 10 years. She loves being a school counselor because there are never 2 days that are the same. She loves being able to connect with students and their families. Jonelle looks forward to working with you to help get you to where you want to be. She was born in New York but raised in Central Florida. She lives in Lake Hamilton which is in Central Florida. Jonelle loves the fall and winter, but doesn’t think she could live in the cold weather. 

She graduated from the University of North Carolina at Pembroke with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology, and went on to graduate from Stetson University with a Master’s Degree in School Counseling.  She loves traveling, cooking, art, decorating, going to the beach, and spending time with family and friends. Jonelle also loves volunteering with Habitat for Humanity and Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida.

Jaimie Barksdale, Student Support Specialist

Jaimie Barksdale

Student Support Specialist

Jaimie is a licensed K-12 School Counselor. She has experience working with students across the state of Michigan both in person and virtually. Jaimie is a passionate and charismatic educator who prioritizes student success as the center of her work.

She loves following and coaching students through their educational journey as a strong advocate and support system as they embark on their postsecondary plans. It is very rewarding when students graduate and look back on their academic career with pride, and feel prepared to step out into the “real world” with preparedness and necessary skills to be successful in college and beyond! Jaimie’s belief that every student has potential to achieve their college and career goals is what drives her to help students and families at My College Planning Team.

Jaimie received her Bachelor’s degree in Health and Human Services from the University at Buffalo, and her Master’s degree in School Counseling from Canisius College.

Becky Martin, Student Support Specialist

Becky Martin

Student Support Speciaist

Becky Martin is a high school counselor in southeastern Minnesota. With almost 20 years of high school counseling experience, she has helped thousands of students and families navigate the college planning process from start to finish.

Becky received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Wisconsin, LaCrosse, her Master’s degree in Counseling and Psychological Services from St. Mary’s University of Minnesota and her School Counseling Licensure credentials at Minnesota State University, Mankato.

In her first decade of high school counseling, she worked with a diverse population of mostly first generation college students, helping students and families navigate each step of the college search, selection and admission process. She was named Southeastern Minnesota School Counselor of the Year in 2009 and was instrumental in securing the University of Minnesota’s Ramp Up to Readiness Grant for Triton High School.

Since 2014, she has served the students and families of Byron High School. As Lead High School Counselor, she plays a crucial role in ensuring students have the knowledge and resources needed to become college, career, and life ready. She also offers numerous parent presentations to ensure families understand the key role they play in supporting their student’s post secondary journeys. With 80% of her graduates pursuing post secondary education, she devotes much of her time to individual meetings with students, exploring their interests, identifying their strengths, helping with college and major exploration, college applications, scholarships, and recommendations. She also strives to incorporate authentic learning opportunities for all students to explore their passions and identify their life’s path beyond high school.

Becky is excited to be part of My College Planning Team where she can utilize her expertise to assist students and families in navigating the post secondary planning process.

Larissa Jerke, Student Support Specialist

Larissa Jerke

Student Support Specialist

Larissa graduated from Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana in 2000 with a degree in Elementary Education.  While at IU, she was a member of the National Dean’s List and the U.S. Achievement Academy.  She was an All-American Scholar and a recipient of the National Collegiate Education Award.  Larissa started her career in education teaching 6th grade, soon returning to IU to obtain a Master’s Degree in School Counseling.  She began counseling at the middle school level for many years and later moved to Floyd Central High School in Southern Indiana where she is the Counseling Department Coach.  Larissa provides college and career counseling, mental health counseling, and guidance lessons for grades 9-12.  She oversees the Mentor Mii Program, is a member of the District’s Bullying Policy Team, plans the school’s College and Career Fair,  is a member of the FC Cabinet, is certified in Mental Health First Aid, and is the sponsor for the school’s National Honor Society.  While remaining active in the educational setting, Larissa has also found time to be successful as an entrepreneur starting her own online boutique and has gained experience as a social media manager for both a large school district and a pediatrician’s office.  Larissa and her husband are the proud parents of three daughters who are involved in many extracurricular activities.  She enjoys spending time with her family and friends.  Larissa is dedicated to meet the needs of all those around her and is excited to be a part of the MCPT team, looking forward to the opportunity to advance professionally in leadership and education.

Be part of Our Success.

Loading...