Why me? I help families complete the process of applying to schools and school programs, and I encourage families to make solid, reasonable decisions about their children’s schooling. Rather than telling families what they should do, I help families develop questions that will help them understand their preferences in education, and the ways particular schools do or do not align with those preferences. In general, I don’t believe there are “good schools” and “bad schools” — instead, there are good choices and bad choices for each particular family.
Success in placement. I have worked with about 400 students on school placement. Just under 90 percent of those students have matriculated at their first-choice schools; a bit over 90 percent have matriculated at first- or second-choice schools.
Both sides of the table. I have served on admission committees that have reviewed hundreds of applicant files. I have also helped hundreds of students find placement at independent, parochial, and public school programs in the Washington area, and at various boarding schools around the US. Nobody else has such extensive experience on both sides of the table in the school application process.
All kinds of schools. I worked at independent schools near Chicago and Washington, DC for 23 years. I have experience at PK–12 schools, a PK–8 school, and a 9–12 school; at day schools and a boarding school. I have helped applicants gain admission to day schools, boarding schools, parochial schools, and public magnet schools. There are very few kinds of schools with which I do not have direct, specific experience.
Established relationships. I have spent over 15 years understanding the nuances of schools and their admission processes, and I have established relationships with scores of admission officers in the DC area. (Alas, despite this experience, it should go without saying that none of this means I can “get somebody in.”) I know how to help your family represent your children at their best, and I know the questions to ask during the process to help families apply to schools effectively. It may help to think of my services as similar to an attorney’s: A good lawyer can help you present your best case through knowledge of the legal system, but she cannot guarantee that a court will rule in your favor.)
Last school position My last position in a school was Middle School Head (i.e., principal) at Green Acres School in Rockville, Maryland, where I served from 2003 to 2014. I stayed an extra year, through 2015, as Director of High School Placement, at the request of the Head of School.
Other school roles In addition to Middle School Head and Director of High School Placement, my formal titles have included Upper School Head; Middle School Teacher; Director of Communications. Other previous roles include: yearbook advisor, newspaper advisor, varsity baseball coach, dormitory master, student advisor, and Middle School soccer coach at my very first school. (I am approximately 110 percent unqualified to be a soccer coach.)
Education I earned my masters degree in education at Harvard. It was my first choice, but it turned out not to be the right program for me. I earned my bachelors degree at Wesleyan because I didn’t get into my top two choices. I loved it. I’m living proof that first choices don’t always turn out best, that there’s nothing special about the Ivy League, and that people survive rejection!
Other stuff A school application is a multi-faceted exchange of information between an applicant family and a school. I’ve always been intrigued by the ways people present and consume information — words, images, music, other arts, even video. To that end I’ve been an editor in every job I’ve ever held, whether nominally that of “editor” or not. I’ve written on music and sound, and my career took two brief digressions into graphic design, which is essentially the study of how people interact with visual information. The lines between professional obligation and personal interest are sometimes blurry. I’m also a photographer (sometimes professionally), a pretty good cook, an amateur woodworker, a terrible guitar player, and a music collector. I have about 3000 LPs. I understand vinyl is hip again. My children remind me that I am not.
“When I was 14, I couldn’t believe what a fool my father was. When I was 21, I couldn’t believe how much the old man had learned in seven short years.” (Mark Twain)
“Believe those who seek the truth. Doubt those who find it.” (André Gide)
“Not all who wander are lost.” (unknown)
Michael or LeBron? Michael. (I’m a Chicagoan.)
Beatles or Stones? Grateful Dead. Sorry, yeah, I was one of those people.
Oxford comma? In favor. Adamantly.
Real life I live in the Maryland suburbs of Washington with my wife, our high schooler, our college student (when she’s home), and Stella, a neurotic but sweet lab/hound rescue dog.
Affiliations and memberships I hold active memberships in IECA (the Independent Educational Consultants Association) and WISER (Washington Independent Services for Educational Resources).
Reviews To see what others say about my work, visit the Reviews page.
FAMILIARITY WITH Schools
Strong placement counseling depends on familiarity with many schools. Here are many of the DC–area schools I’ve visited over the course of my work counseling students and families:
Langley School (McLean, VA)
Lowell School (Washington, DC)
Madeira School (McLean, VA)
Maret School (Washington, DC)
McLean School of Maryland (Potomac, MD)
National Cathedral School (Washington, DC)
National Presbyterian School (Washington, DC)
Nora School (Silver Spring, MD)
Potomac School (McLean, VA)
Sheridan School (Washington, DC)
Sidwell Friends School (Washington, DC)
St. Andrew’s Episcopal School (Potomac, MD)
St. Anselm’s Abbey School (Washington, DC)
St. Patrick’s Episcopal Day School (Washington, DC)
St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes School (Alexandria, VA)
Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart (Bethesda, MD)
Washington Episcopal School (Bethesda, MD)
Washington International School (Washington, DC)
Washington Waldorf School (Bethesda, MD)
Westminster School (Annandale, VA)
Basis Independent (McLean, VA)
Bullis School (Potomac, MD)
Burgundy Farm Country Day School (Alexandria, VA)
Christ Episcopal School (Chevy Chase, MD)
Concord Hill School (Chevy Chase, MD)
Connelly School of the Holy Child (Potomac, MD)
Edmund Burke School (Washington, DC)
Episcopal High School (Alexandria, VA)
Evergreen School (Silver Spring, MD)
The Field School (Washington, DC)
Fusion Academy (Washington, DC)
Georgetown Day School (Washington, DC)
Georgetown Preparatory School (Bethesda, MD)
Georgetown Visitation School (Washington, DC)
Grace Episcopal Day School (Kensington, MD)
Green Acres School (Rockville, MD)
Green Hedges School (Vienna, VA)
Harbor School (Bethesda, MD)
The Heights School (Bethesda, MD)
Holton-Arms School (Bethesda, MD)
Landon School (Bethesda, MD)