Meet the Team
Joan Casey, President
Joan helps students develop the mindsets that allow them to create the life they want–for high school, college and beyond. She founded Educational Advocates College Consulting in 2004, and works with a wide range of high school and transfer students who are considering colleges at all levels of selectivity throughout the USA, Canada and Western Europe. She also provides services for prospective college athletes and visual and performing artists. Joan is committed to her students and her priority is to help them achieve their goals through a supportive and thoughtful approach.
Joan also has expertise in working with adolescents with Attention Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), learning differences and those with therapeutic needs. She has completed an advocacy-training program sponsored by the Federation for Children with Special Needs and is trained in AD/HD coaching through the American Coaching Association.
Joan is a certified educational planner, signifying that she has achieved the highest level of professional standards in the field of educational consulting, a distinction held by only 25 percent of consultants. She is a professional member of the Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA) where she previously chaired the learning disability committee, the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC), and the Higher Education Consultants Association (HECA). She serves on the undergraduate economics advisory board for the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and the advisory board at Landmark College. Joan, along with a group of colleagues, won the IECA Katz award in recognition of pro bono work for The Possibility Project. She earned a master of education degree in Mind, Brain and Education from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education, and holds a BA in economics from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
Joan has visited more than 250 college campuses to meet with admissions officers, student activities directors and academic deans and spends time informally talking with students for an insider’s view of campus life. She also draws upon the expertise of a network of colleagues across the country. Prior to founding Educational Advocates, Joan had a 20-year career as a marketing and public relations consultant, working for a national public relations firm and managing her own consulting practice. She has received several marketing and writing awards, and applies the creative-thinking strategies used in her marketing career in advising students on their essays, overall presentation, and interviewing skills. Joan resides in Brookline, Massachusetts and is the mother of two now grown sons who attended both independent and public schools before college. When not meeting with students and families, you might find her cooking, reading, running or meditating.
Liz Young, College Consultant
Liz Young is an admissions consultant, writer and educator with over twenty years of experience working with students at both the high school and college level. She has been working in college admissions consulting for the past four years, following a career in academia.
Liz graduated Phi Beta Kappa and Summa Cum Laude from Columbia University with a BA in Classics and earned a PhD in Comparative Literature from UC Berkeley. Before moving into admissions work, she spent a decade as a college professor, holding positions as Knafel Assistant Professor of Humanities at Wellesley College and Blegen Research Fellow in Greek and Roman Studies at Vassar College. In these roles she taught Latin and Greek as well as numerous literature courses on topics spanning Roman epic poetry to literary cognition. During this time she also served as a first year faculty advisor and guided numerous students through the graduate school application process.
Her involvement in college admissions began while at Wellesley, where she served as a faculty member of the college’s admissions committee, which she co-chaired for a year. In this capacity, she conducted a reevaluation of the college’s admissions criteria, vetted applications from across the country and helped shape a number of stand-out classes.
Before teaching college, Liz taught 9th-12th grade English and Latin at Washington Irving High School in Manhattan where she also served as a guidance counselor. Over her two decades as an educator, she has taught and mentored many hundreds of students with a wide range of backgrounds, strengths and needs – including students with mental and physical health challenges and learning differences.
Liz’s writing has been published broadly in both academic and literary venues. Poems have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies and her first poetry collection was selected as a National Poetry Series finalist. Scholarly articles on Ovid, Vergil, Sappho and others have appeared in top peer-reviewed journals and her book on translation and the ancient Roman understanding of literary creativity was published by the University of Chicago Press.
Her admissions experience alongside her insider’s knowledge of the landscape of higher education and life-long commitment to student-centered teaching have led her naturally into her current role. She finds it immensely gratifying to support families as they navigate the college admissions process and help students craft stand-out applications while cultivating new confidence and skills that allow them to thrive in high school, college, and beyond.
Rebecca Kenney, College Consultant
Rebecca cares deeply about getting to know the students and families with whom she works. While she is experienced and talented in supporting students to present their very best selves in their college applications, she believes identifying schools where that particular student will thrive is equally, if not more, important.
Rebecca earned a master’s degree in social work from The Catholic University of America. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa and Summa Cum Laude from Duke University earning a Bachelor’s with Distinction in Psychology. She conducted alumni interviews of undergraduate applicants to Duke University for ten years. Rebecca successfully completed the Independent Educational Consultant Certificate Program at the University of California-Irvine, representing 150 hours of evaluated learning. She is a Professional Member of the Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA), as well as a member of both the Higher Education Consultants Association (HECA) and the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC). Rebecca was a presenter at both IECA’s May 2016 national conference and at NACAC’s September 2017 national conference.
Before joining Educational Advocates, Rebecca Kenney was a guidance counselor in the Quincy (MA) Public Schools. In that role, Rebecca served as a consultant to teachers and parents in support of students with special needs. She also supported students directly by providing individual and group counseling. Rebecca has also worked as a therapist in both outpatient and residential settings with an emphasis on children and families.
Rebecca resides in Milton, MA with her family. She is the mother of four children and has been actively involved in their public, parochial and independent schools though all are off to college and beyond now. She has served as a board member, parent liaison, fundraiser and volunteer. Rebecca’s educational, professional and personal experiences create an excellent platform for supporting students and their families as they seek the best-fit college.
Page Kolligian, College Consultant
Page Munford Kolligian is an educational consultant, teacher, and advocate who has been advising families on schools and colleges for 15 years. She excels in developing strong relationships with her students and their families while providing structure, support, and guidance throughout the college process. Page connects well with students of varied interests and personalities as she assists them in presenting a well-rounded, genuine depiction of themselves in their college applications.
She joins Educational Advocates College Consulting after honing her skills at a college consulting firm in Medfield, MA. Prior to working as a college consultant, Page started “SchoolFit,” a consulting firm helping families navigate the challenges of finding the best secondary schools for their children. She completed intensive training at the Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA) Summer Training Institute and was recently certified as a coach through the Parent Coaching Trainers Academy.
Working at the Carroll School in Lincoln, Massachusetts, Page taught children with language-based learning disabilities. Her responsibilities included coaching students, managing relationships with parents, and researching and presenting case studies on neuropsychological testing.
Page developed her interest in learning differences when both of her boys struggled to succeed in school. She became passionate about educating herself on all aspects of their learning challenges as well as understanding both the school-sanctioned IEP and the 504 processes. To further her education, Page attended advocacy training at the Federation For Children with Special Needs and multiple International Dyslexia Association conferences. She was the director and member of the Dover Sherborn Special Education Parent’s Advisory Council for ten years. Page earned earned a bachelor’s degree from Mount Vernon College (now George Washington University).
Page identifies academic institutions that offer educational opportunities designed to develop and accentuate each student’s individual strengths. She is experienced and excels in guiding both traditional learners as well as those with learning differences. Choosing an appropriate list of colleges and universities for each student is imperative in allowing them the opportunity to thrive and grow. Finding the right college fit for each student is her top priority.
Rachel Schneider, College Consultant
Rachel Schneider is an admissions consultant, school counselor, and educator who has worked extensively in a variety of school settings. Her passion is fostering academic and social-emotional growth, as well as college and career readiness in all of her students.
Rachel graduated Phi Alpha Theta from Boston College with a BA in History and Summa Cum Laude from Boston University with a Masters of Education in Counseling Psychology, specializing in School Counseling. While at BU, she was a member of two research teams exploring college and career readiness programs in elementary and middle school students, and the impacts of childhood trauma.
Prior to joining Educational Advocates, Rachel was selected as one of 250 corps members from 1200 candidates for 10 months of national service through City Year AmeriCorps in Dorchester, MA. She worked in Special Education in the Wellesley Public School system, where she developed her passion for school counseling. During her Master’s Program, she interned at her alma mater Brookline High School. She holds both Elementary Education 1-6 and School Counseling PreK-8 and 5-12 Licensures through DESE.
Rachel has experience working as a school and college counselor at a private Catholic school and finds great joy in accompanying students and families through the college admissions process. She also teaches a Positive Psychology course, engaging her students in both the science and practice of mindfulness. She believes deeply in the mind-body connection, incorporating meditation and yoga practices in both her professional and personal life. Rachel is a member of several professional organizations including NEACAC, NACAC, and MASCA. She continues to reside in Brookline with her fiancé.
Emily Freeman, College Consultant
Emily has worked as both a counselor and teacher in pre-kindergarten to 12th grade and has experience with students from a variety of backgrounds, school settings, interests, and abilities. Her interest in college counseling began during high school when her own college counselor helped her to understand that there were dozens of schools at which she could be happy. This led her to discover Davidson College where she earned an Honors B.A. in Sociology and an Education concentration. After two years of teaching, Emily earned an M.Ed. in School Counseling from Vanderbilt University, becoming a licensed professional school counselor and National Certified Counselor. At Vanderbilt, Emily served as a graduate teaching assistant for undergraduate students in the Human and Organizational Development. She also served as a college counseling intern at the University School of Nashville, where she was mentored by phenomenal college counselors, furthering her interest in this path.
Upon graduating from Vanderbilt, Emily spent four years at the Marist School in Atlanta as both associate director of college counseling and a personal/academic counselor, and, in the past year, as a social emotional school counselor and independent college consultant. In addition to her work at Educational Advocates College Counseling, she is also a part-time school counselor at an independent elementary school in Boston.
In Emily’s view, college counseling is more than just helping students get into college. She believes in taking a developmental approach through the college search by helping students to more fully understand themselves, what they want out of the college experience, and what they hope to accomplish in the future. She sees learning how to make important decisions and set goals as a key part of the process.
Emily resides in Roslindale, MA with her husband and Goldendoodle. She loves to run, play tennis, sing, travel, and cook.
Katie Bacon, Writing Specialist
Katie Bacon is an experienced writer, editor, and interviewer who worked for The Atlantic in Boston for ten years before the magazine moved to Washington, DC. She has written everything from profiles to personal essays to reviews to scientific critiques, and her work has appeared in The Atlantic, The Boston Globe, The New York Times, and Harvard’s Ed. magazine, among other places. As an editor, she specializes in helping writers express themselves clearly, logically, and eloquently—whether the writers are established professionals or students looking to find their voice. As an interviewer, she loves talking to people and listening to their stories and ideas, and then figuring out how to shape them into a coherent narrative. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Amherst College, where she majored in American studies
Katie lives in Brookline with her husband and two children, who are in high school. She is on the Board of Overseers of the Brookline Education Foundation, where she supervised their grants and programs for four years. She volunteers for Beacon Academy, coaching students through the application process for independent schools; and for 826 Boston, helping students in the Boston public schools craft their college essays. She loves reading both fiction and nonfiction, playing tennis, and hiking with her family and their dog.
David Cataruzolo, Athletic Consultant
David Cataruzolo, a native of Watertown, Massachusetts, brings over 20 years of experience helping students navigate the athletic recruiting process. Dave served as an assistant professor of physical education at Trinity College for over 13 years where he spent time as the head men’s ice hockey coach and assistant coach/recruiting coordinator for the Bantam Baseball team. In his time at Trinity, the hockey team won 2 NESCAC Championships and reached the NCAA Final Four in 2003, while the baseball team won three league titles earning two trips to the Division 3 World Series. Dave has also worked in the athletic department at Harvard University as director of hockey operations directing the day-to-day operations of the Crimson men’s and women’s Division 1 ice hockey programs.
Dave graduated from Bowdoin College, class of 1998, with a degree in government and legal studies, and earned a master’s degree in public policy from Trinity College in 2001. While at Bowdoin, he captained both the hockey and baseball teams. He is a member of both Bowdoin’s 100-point club on the ice (126) and 100-hit club (128) on the diamond.
April Penn, Office Manager
April Penn joined Educational Advocates College Consulting in May 2016 as a part-time office manager and communications coordinator. She helps the office run smoothly behind the scenes and is a resource to clients related to administrative needs. April is coordinating publications such as the blog and newsletter and posting college information to social media.
In addition to her work at Educational Advocates, April is also an extended day teacher at the John D. Runkle School in Brookline. Previously, she managed the office at the Boston Common Frog Pond and, prior to that, served in Americorps as a site-coordinator for Leaps in Literacy at the Raymond Elementary School in Brockton.
April received a BA in English from Hood College in Frederick, Maryland. She is passionate about writing poetry and has performed at the Cantab Poetry Lounge, Out of the Blue Gallery, and UMass Amherst. She has poems published or forthcoming in The Fem, The Offing, Provocateur, and other literary journals.