We are grateful to our Counselor Advisory Board for their input as we navigate the constantly changing profession of college admissions. Each member serves a two-year term on the board and members come from across the nation.
Sinead Crews is currently the Director of School Counseling Services for Livingston Public Schools, where she has been for the last year. Prior to her position as director, Sinead served as a school counselor at Livingston High School and has worked in counseling for six years.
Over the years, Sinead has held memberships with NJSCA, NACAC, and NJPSA.
Sinead attended the University of Pittsburgh where she received her Bachelor of Arts in English Literature, English Writing, and Art History. She is a graduate of the College of New Jersey where she received her Master of Arts in School Counseling. Sinead received Supervisor and Director of School Counseling certificates from Montclair State University.
Sinead is a proud Pitt alumna. She and her husband had their engagement pictures taken at the Cathedral of Learning. They currently live in Jersey City, where her husband opened his own CrossFit gym in October 2017. She enjoys spending time with her husband, friends, family and her golden retriever Hawley.
One of her favorite inspirational quotes is “the journey is the destination” from the book titled The Journey is the Destination by Dan Eldon. It is a piece of creative nonfiction literature Sinead studied at Pitt as an undergraduate. She has used it in her district’s summer reading program to talk with students about the power of being mindful, of being proud, of being an individual, and of learning from the journey they are taking through high school and while they will be in college.
Loren Gordon is currently the Associate Director of College Counseling at Winchester Thurston School. Before joining Winchester Thurston, Loren was the Director of College Counseling at Central Catholic School in Pittsburgh for four years. Prior to her position as director, Loren served as Associate Director of Admission at Albright College and has worked in this sector for 12 years.
Over the years, Loren has held memberships with PACAC and served as Director of Communications and Co-Director of Camp College West.
Loren attended Albright College where she received her Bachelor of Arts in English and French. She also is a graduate of Kutztown University of Pennsylvania where she received her Master of Education in Student Affairs Administration.
She and her husband, Ben, have 2 morkies (Maltese Yorkies) who are brother and sister—both 11 years old. They are their “fur babies.” Loren loves to garden, bake, and enjoys mixology as well. Loren and Ben DVR Jeopardy and watch it religiously. They love to travel and are looking forward to going to Montana and Wyoming this summer.
Jasmine Berena is currently a College and Career Coordinator at Seneca Valley, where she has been for the last two years. Prior to her position as coordinator, Jasmine served as school counselor in Township High School District 211 and has spent six years in the profession.
Over the years, Jasmine has held memberships with NACAC, PACAC, and Western PA College Roundtable.
Jasmine attended Eastern Illinois University where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. She also is a graduate of Roosevelt University where she received her Master of Arts in School Counseling.
Jasmine is originally from the Chicagoland area, but has lived in Pittsburgh for almost three years with her husband and their dog. She enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, and is a fan of baseball and watching movies.
Jeff Knox is currently an Educational Counselor and Director of Educational Planning Services at PrepMatters in Bethesda, Maryland, where he has worked since 2011. Prior to his position as counselor/director, Jeff served as an English teacher at Arlington Public Schools. He’s worked in education for more than a decade.
Jeff attended the University of Pittsburgh where he received a Bachelor of Arts in English Writing and Bachelor of Science in Public Health, both in 2006. Jeff also attended Pitt’s School of Education to receive his Master of the Art of Teaching. He earned an Endorsement in Gifted Education from the University of Virginia in 2012. Jeff currently holds memberships with NACAC, IECA, and HECA.
Jeff loves living in Washington, DC,but still feels nostalgic about his time in Pittsburgh. In DC, Jeff is into the thriving theater scene (as an enthusiastic audience member). He is a board member for a local arts non-profit called Story District—helping people create and present stories in front of a live audience.
One of his favorite quotes is “What you appreciate appreciates.”
Amy Balcer is currently a Director of Counseling at Mount St. Joseph Academy, where she has been for the last five years. Prior to her position as director, Amy served as a college counselor at Mount St. Joseph. She has worked in counseling for 10 years.
Over the years, Amy has held memberships with NACAC, PACAC, and ASCA.
Amy attended Chestnut Hill College where she received her Bachelor of Arts and Master of Sciences in Clinical Counseling Psychology.
Amy has three children, Isabella, 21, Jesse Jr., 17, and Angelina, 13. She enjoys being outdoors and lives outside of Philadelphia.
One of her favorite quotes, by Saint Francis de Sales, is “be who you are and be that well.”
Stacy Olitsky is currently a School Counselor at Methacton School in Pennsylvania, where she has been for the last 10 years. Prior to her current position, Stacy served as school counselor at Thomas W. Pyle Middle School in Bethesda, Maryland, long-term substitute school counselor at Tamanend Middle School in Warrington, Pennsylvania, Pennwood Middle School in Yardley, Pennsylvania, and Wissahickon High School in Ambler, Pennsylvania, as well as Academic Intervention Specialist at North Penn High School in Lansdale, Pennsylvania. Stacy has spent 16 years in the profession.
Over the years, Stacy has held membership with the National Board Certification in Counseling.
Stacy attended George Washington University where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Master of Arts in Counseling and Human Development. She also is a graduate of American University where she received her Master of Arts in Teaching Secondary English.
Stacy lives in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania with her identical twin boys who are 17. They are just beginning the exciting and overwhelming college application process: “it’s very eye-opening to see the process from a parent’s point of view.” When she is not working or running around trying to keep up with her boys’ water polo, baseball, basketball and tennis schedules, you can find her in South Jersey with her significant other and his three children, or on the sofa curled up with a good book—she is always looking for recommendations!
Erica King is currently a School Counselor at Northwest PA Collegiate, where she has been for the last seven years. Prior to her position as school counselor, Erica served as school counselor in the student parenting program in the Erie city school district. She has worked in the profession for 17 years.
Erica attended Gannon University where she received her Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology. She also is a graduate of Edinboro University where she received her Master of Arts in Educational Leadership.
Jon Mamula is currently a School Counselor at Highland Park High School in Dallas, Texas, where he has been for the last 21 years. He also serves as the NCAA Coordinator and Military Liaison. Prior to his current position, Jon served as a special education teacher and a middle school teacher. He has worked in the profession for 27 years. Before joining the educational sector, he worked as a corporate recruiter and a professional soccer coach.
Over the years, Jon has held memberships with NACAC and Texas ACAC. He is also a nationally licensed soccer coach.
Jon is a graduate of SMU where he received his Bachelor of Arts in 1983 and a graduate of SMU with his Master of Arts in 2003. Jon also is a graduate of Texas A&M-Commerce where he received his Master of Sciences in 2005.
Jon’s wife, CJ, is an RN with numerous certifications in Trauma Education, ER, and PICC Line. His daughter, Emily, is a 2015 graduate of Olin College and his daughter, Alice is a 2018 graduate of SMU. Jon continues his soccer career as a professional soccer coach—currently working for FC Dallas Youth, MLS.
Jon is proud to work in the “kid business” and cannot think of a more fulfilling career than this.
Rob Becker is currently a College Resource Center Coordinator at Highland Park High School in Highland Park, Illinois, where he has been for the last six years. Prior to his current position, Rob served as admissions representative at Barat College until 2001, assistant director of admission at DePaul University until 2007, and Midwest regional director of admission at Northeastern University until 2012. Rob has worked in the profession for 18 years, including 12 years in admissions.
Over the years, Rob has held membership with IACAC.
Rob attended Northern Illinois University where he received his Bachelor of Arts in English. He also is a graduate of DePaul University where he received his Master of Sciences in Public Service Management with a concentration in Higher Education Administration.
Rob is a life-long Cubs fan, enjoys hiking, biking, and spending time outdoors with his family.
Chris Sharp is currently an Associate Director of College Counseling at Brentwood School in Los Angeles, California where he has been for the last year. Prior to serving as Associate Director, Chris served as college counselor at Quarry Lane School, college counselor at International High School of the French American International School, assistant director of admission at Carnegie Mellon University, senior college counselor at Bethany College, and enrollment manager at Robert Morris University. Chris has worked in the profession for 13 years.
Over the years, Chris has held memberships with NACAC, WACAC, ACCIS, and CIS.
Chris attended Bethany College where he received his Bachelor of Arts. Chris also is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University, Heinz College where he received his Master of Public Management.
Chris was born and raised in South Hills and attended Canon-McMillan, class of 2001. He now resides in western Los Angeles in Playa Vista, California. His California hobbies include meditation, yoga, cycling, and hiking. He still supports the Pittsburgh Penguins, Steelers, and Pirates. Chris is a proud dog dad of a 1-year-old Scottish Terrier.
Nicole Bent is currently a Guidance Counselor at Brookline School in Massachusetts, where she has been for the last 17 years. She has been in the profession 17 years.
Over the years, Nicole has held memberships with Massachusetts School Counselors Association (MASCA), New England Association of College Admissions Counselors (NEACAC), and Greater Boston Guidance Association from 2001-2006. Nicole also served on the Conference Planning Committee in 2002 and 2003.
Nicole attended Mary Washington College where she received her Bachelor of Arts in English in 1998. She also is a graduate of Suffolk University where she received her Master of Education in School Counseling in 2002 and a graduate of Endicott College where she received her Master of Education in Organizational Management in 2008.
Nicole’s parents worked as guidance counselors, and so the tradition continues. When not guiding and counseling, Nicole devotes her time “to coaching Varsity Girl’s Golf, keeping up with pop culture and the Kardashians, and raising her two super-cute redheaded kids with her super-handsome husband, Matthew Bent, UPitt ’98.”
Jane Mathias is currently the Director of Guidance at Nardin Academy in Buffalo, New York, where she has been for the last 23 years. Prior to her current position, Jane served as a Spanish and French teacher and curriculum coordinator at Nardin, and a Spanish and French teacher for Buffalo Public Schools. Jane has worked in the profession for 38 years.
Over the years, Jane has held memberships with High School Counselors Association of Western New York (1998-present), New York State Counselors Association (2016-present), SUNY Enrollment Management Advisory Board (2003-17), Ithaca College Advisory Board (2013-16), Ohio University Advisory Board (2013-present), and Canisius College Advisory Board (2005-12). Jane is active in the Western New York Private High School Counselors Association, as a member since 1995 and serving as President (2016-present). She is also a long-standing member of the NYSACAC, where she has served as a member since 1995, Secretary (2011-13), President-Elect (2013-14), President (2014-15), Past President (2015-16), New York State Delegate (2008-2011), with numerous committee chairmanships and NYSACAC Summer Institute Presenter and Mentor—presenting at many state conferences.
Jane attended the University of Pennslyvania where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Spanish. She also is a graduate of Canisius College where she received her Master of Sciences in School Administration.
Jane and her husband live in Buffalo, NY, and they are lucky to have three sons, three wonderful daughters-in-law, and eight awesome grandchildren, all of whom live in the state of Connecticut. Jane has sung with the Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus for many years, which nourishes her soul, and has been involved on its board of directors, as well as served as its president.
Jane adds: “I love working with my students and helping them discover themselves as they navigate high school and the college process. It isn’t easy but giving them ongoing support and encouragement while asking for responsibility, accountability, and personal integrity as they grow is the ideal I strive for.”
Tim McLister is currently a School Counselor at Fox Chapel Area High School and the Varsity Track and Field Coach. Tim has served in his current position for the last 10 years. Prior to his current position, he served as a social studies teacher at Butler Area High School as well as school counselor at Laurel Junior/Senior High School. Tim has worked in the profession for 21 years.
Over the years, Tim has held membership with FCAHS School Counseling program, the 2012 recipient of Middles States Association School Counseling Program of Distinction.
Tim attended Grove City College where he received his Bachelor of Arts in Social Sciences and Secondary Education in 1996. Tim also is a graduate of Westminster College where he received his Master of Education in School Counseling in 2004.
Tim is married to Shawna and the couple has three children: Henry, 10, Ryan, 14, and Kendall, 15. His family resides in Butler, Pennsylvania. Tim enjoys spending time with family and friends, coaching youth baseball, and playing golf. One of his favorite quotes is by Theodore Roosevelt: “Believe you can and you’re halfway there.”
Dennis Reynolds is currently a School Counselor in Bethesda, Maryland where he has been for the last 16 years. Prior to his current position, Dennis served as the Director of School Counseling at Walter Johnson High School, school counselor at Watkins Mill High School, social studies teacher at Burke Middle School in Fairfax County, Virginia. Dennis has worked in education for 20 years.
Over the years, Dennis has held memberships with the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) and the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC).
Dennis attended the University of Alabama where he received his Bachelor of Arts. He also is a graduate of George Washington University where he received his Master of Arts in Education.
Dennis is happily married to his beautiful wife, Larissa, after 22 years of marriage. The couple has two kids, Alex and Emily, and one awesome dog, Chief. His hobbies include CrossFit, mountain biking, and snowboarding. His words to live by: “Each day is a blessing, so make the most of it.”
Dr. Nelissa Domínguez-Dávila
Nelissa Domínguez-Dávila is currently a Career and College Counselor (iCounseling), a College Counselor at Academia Bautista in Puerto Nuevo, Puerto Rico, and a College Counselor at St. Mary’s School in Cupey, Puerto Rico where she has been for the last five years, three years, and two years respectively. Prior to her current positions, Nelissa served as a school counselor, college counselor, licensed professional counselor, and academic counselor. In addition to her career in counseling, Nelissa has worked in academia, serving as an adjunct faculty member at Albizu University, Universidad Metropolitana, and ICPR Junior College. Nelissa has spent 16 years working in these professions.
Over the years, Nelissa has held memberships with American Counselors Association (ACA), National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC), Caribbean Counselors Association (CCA), Asociación Puertorriqueña de Consejería Profesional (APCP), Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA), and Southern Association for College Admission Counseling (SACAC).
Nelissa attended Universidad de Puerto Rico en Carolina where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Communications with a concentration in Marketing. Nelissa also is a graduate of Universidad Interamericana de Puerto Rico where she received her Master of Arts in Counseling. She received her Doctorate in Education, specializing in Educational Leadership at Universidad del Turabo. Her doctoral dissertation is titled “La Generación Millennials en la Universidad: nuevas realidades para el Consejero Profesional” (The Millennial Generation in College: New realities for the Counseling Profession).
Nelissa’s hometown is in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico—it is in the metropolitan area of her beautiful island and she loves the city. In her free time, Nelissa practices photography and reads books about leadership and entrepreneurship. She collaborates with some radio and local television shows, presenting her book, ACEPTAD@, and speaking to the audience about the importance of planning the college admission process.
Nelissa’s words to live by: “God First. Believe. Happiness. Discipline. Confidence.”
Marjorie Ireland is currently the Associate Director of College Counseling at Westtown School in Pennsylvania where she has been for the last five years. Prior to her current position, Marjorie served as the associate director of college counseling at Pennington School in Pennington, New Jersey. Marjorie has spent over 25 years working in the profession.
Over the years, Marjorie has held memberships with NACAC, NACAC Philadelphia National College Fair, ABAFAOILSS and served on the College Board Forum Planning Committee, the College Board Middle States Regional Council, Guidance and Admission Assembly Council for the Middle States Regional Assembly of The College Board, College Board Middle States Regional Council, Counselors Advisory Board for both Villanova University and Drexel University, ACT PA State Organization Committee, and NACAC Fund Development Board.
Marjorie was a Martin Luther King full-tuition scholarship recipient at Providence College where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Social Sciences with a concentration in Political Science in 1991. She also is a graduate of Villanova University where she received her Master of Sciences in Human Service Administration in 1998 and attended a three-week Spanish program in San José, Costa Rica in 2002. In 2016, Marjorie received her Doctorate of Education in Educational Leadership at Saint Joseph’s University.
Marjorie is married to Michael Ireland and the couple has a seven-year-old son as well as a “diva cat’” Mimi. The family lives in Philadelphia and Marjorie loves the city. She enjoys attending museums, walking to historic sites, and outdoor activities. Reading and walking are her two favorite activities. She also loves to travel.
Marjorie’s words to live by: Bob Marley’s “Don’t worry about a thing.” Her favorite quote depends on the day.
Michael Griffin is currently the President and CEO of DVS Diversity and Education Solutions in Ohio where he has been for the last eight years. Prior to his current position, Michael served as an academic adviser, University of Cincinnati Department of Athletics Community Center director with Over The Rhine Community Center in Cincinnati, Ohio, race relations researcher/public programs manager at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati, Ohio, director of Intercultural Affairs Policy Development at Albion College in Albion, Michigan, and director of African American Student Affairs at Northern Kentucky University in Highland Heights, Kentucky. He has spent 17 years in the profession.
Michael attended Adrian College where he received his Bachelor of Arts in Human Services and Psychology. He also is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati where he received his Master of Education and Master of Social Work.
Michael is a die-hard Michigan Wolverines, Detroit Tigers, and Detroit Pistons fan. He adds, “I broke up with the Detroit Lions about two years ago!” He is also an avid history buff and has visited over 76 history museums throughout the world. Also, Michael has watched a game in every NFL stadium and NBA arena.
One of his favorite quotes is by President Harry Truman: “Imperfect action is better than perfect inaction.”
Kashif Henderson is currently a K-12, Pittsburgh Public Schools Gifted and Talented Coordinator in Pennsylvania where he has been for the last three years. Prior to his current position, Kashif served as a Social Studies instructional teacher leader. He has spent eight years in the profession.
Over the years, Kashif has held membership with Cultivating Resilient Youth (C.R.Y) and served on the board of directors of the South Side Bears Youth Football Organization. While in his position as a Social Studies teacher at University Prep and Brashear High School, Kashif served as faulty advisor for the Brashear regional Jefferson Awards winners, received a “Certificate of Appreciation” from Jake Wheatley for educating youth of the Hill Top communities, was the recipient of the United Way “Be There Award”, as well as the Hill District’s Education Council’s “Student’s First” award.
Kashif attended the University of Pittsburgh where he received his Bachelor of Arts in Social Sciences and his Master of Arts in the Art of Teaching Social Studies.
Kashif enjoys engaging youth in educational opportunities. In addition, he coaches youth football for 11- and 12-year-old children living in the southern neighborhoods in the city of Pittsburgh. He enjoys travelling and exploring new countries with his friends and family.
One of his favorite quotes: “To achieve you must endure.”
2017-2018 Counselor Advisory Board Members
Rick Grychowski, Cathedral Preparatory School, Erie, PA
Cristina Rabayda, Council Rock High School North, Council Rock, PA
Julie Sitko, Moon Area High School, Moon Township, PA
Tom Shorrock, New Trier High School, Winnetka, IL
Janet Kobosky, The Shipley School, Bryn Mawr, PA
Crystal Fatyol, Chambersburg High School, Chambersburg, PA
Christine Zona, Penn-Trafford School District, Harrison City, PA
Randy Mills, Greenhill School, Addison, TX
Jillian Shadis, Bernards Township School District, Basking Ridge, New Jersey
Art Mandel, Roslyn Public Schools and Schechter School of Long Island, Long Island, NY
Branden Ballard, We Promise – Office of Equity with Pittsburgh Public Schools, Pittsburgh, PA
Eric Roberts, Parkland High School, Allentown, PA
Kevin Thompson, North Allegheny Senior High School, Wexford, PA
Jean Whalen, Pine Richland High School, Gibsonia, PA
Edward L. Walker, Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, Cambridge, MA
Beth Schneider, Mt. Lebanon School District, Mt. Lebanon, PA
Lyndel Niles, Dunbar High School, Washington, DC.