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.
Rick Grychowski is currently the Guidance Director at Cathedral Preparatory School, in Erie, PA, where he has been in the position for 30 years. Previously, he was a Supervisor at Harborcreek Youth Services from 1974-1976 and the Varsity Football Defensive Coordinator for Cathedral Prep from 1980-2000. He has spent 42 years in the profession.
Rick has been the NW Pennsylvania Regional Representative for the Pennsylvania School Counselors Association, a member of the College Board Advocacy Group, PACAC and NACAC, among various other organizations. Rick received a Bachelor of Science in Mental Health Counseling and a Master of Science in Guidance and Counseling (Elementary through Secondary School) from Gannon University. He has also earned his Master of Education from Duquesne University.
Rick is married with five children and eight grandchildren. He resides in Erie, PA and enjoys playing sports, coaching, and spectating. Rick’s professional advice to others is to remember that it is all about relationships.
Cristina Rabayda is currently the Department Coordinator, Counseling, for Council Rock High School North, Council Rock, PA, where she has been in the position for the past 15 years. Previously Cristina was a Special Education Teacher for Council Rock North, Holland Junior High, and Van Sciver Elementary School in Haddon Township, New Jersey. She has spent a total of 25 years in the profession.
Cristina is a member off NACAC, PACAC, and the ASCA. She has earned her bachelor’s in psychology from the University of Pennsylvania, as well as her master’s in education.
Cristina is originally from Rhode Island, and now lives in Bucks County, Pennsylvania with her husband and two children, who are both in high school. They live in an old stone farmhouse, complete with a large open hearth fireplace and stone sink. They enjoy playing music and their favorite sport is baseball.
Julie Sitko is the College and Career Counselor at Moon Area High School. Although she has only been at Moon for two years, she has 17 years of experience as a school counselor, and worked in college admissions prior to jumping to the ‘other side of the desk.’
Julie is a member of PACAC and NACAC. She is currently a member of the Secondary School Counselors Committee in PACAC. This group is working with graduate counselor education programs in Pennsylvania, helping prepare school counseling graduate students to understand the college application process when they become school counselors. Julie is also on the Pittsburgh NACAC PNF committee.
She received her undergraduate degree in English, as well as her Master of Education degree, from Westminster College in PA. She also has a certification in college counseling from UCLA.
Tom Shorrock is currently a Post High School Counselor at New Trier High School in Illinois and has been in this position for the past 11 years. Previously he was the Director of College Counseling and College Counselor at St. Ignatius College Prep from 2003-06, the Associate Director of Annual Giving and Major Gifts at Northwestern University from 2000-03, and an Admissions Counselor and Coordinator of First-Year Recruitment at the University of Illinois at Chicago from 1996-2000. He has been in the profession for 20 years.
Tom is a member of numerous organizations including NACAC and the Illinois Association for College Admissions Counseling. He has been a Chair and Member of the Admissions Practices Committee for IACAC and Faculty for The Academy for College Admissions Counseling.
He earned his Bachelor of Arts in history from Miami University before moving to the University of Illinois at Chicago to earn a Masters of Public Administration. He also earned a Masters of Education from Loyola University Chicago.
Tom lives in the western suburbs of Chicago, has three daughters, and his wife is a social worker. They love staying busy between dance schedules; traveling to Northwoods, Wisconsin for vacation; and spending time with their extended family.
Janet Kobosky is currently the Director of College Counseling at The Shipley School, Bryn Mawr, PA, where she has held the position for the past 17 years. Previously she was the Director of College Counseling at Kent Place School in New Jersey, the Associate Dean of Undergraduate Admissions at the University of Pennsylvania, and the Assistant Director of Admissions at Franklin & Marshall College. She has been in the profession for 32 years.
Janet is a PACAC At-Large Delegate to NACAC and Co-Director of the PACAC Summer Institute. She is a member of ACCIS, PACAC, NACAC, and College Board. Janet is a proud Chatham College alum where she received the bachelor’s degree with honors. She later received her master’s in Education from University of Pennsylvania.
Janet is a native of Pittsburgh who hails from a proud, loyal Pitt family. Her father began his long career at Pitt in 1966 as the Director of Admissions.
Crystal Fatyol is currently a school counselor at Chambersburg High School, Chambersburg, PA, and has been in her current position for one-and-a-half years. She previously was a school counselor at Bryson Middle School.
Crystal is a member of PACAC. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Social Work from Western Carolina University and her M.Ed in School Counseling from Clemson University.
She currently resides in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania with her husband Eric and two children, Ella and Ethan. She enjoys exercising, traveling, spending time with family, and reading. One of her favorite inspirational quotes is from Sean Junkins: “So often you find out that the students you are trying to inspire are the ones that end up inspiring you.”
Christine Zona is currently a School Counselor for the Penn-Trafford School District, Harrison City, PA, where she has spent the past 23 years. Christine’s past positions include spending 10 years as an Elementary School Teacher and 13 years as a Secondary School Counselor at Penn Trafford High School as well, spending a total of 27 years in the profession.
Christine attended Carlow University to earn her Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education and is a proud Pitt alum where she earned her Master of Education in School Counseling. She has lived in the Pittsburgh area, specifically, Irwin, PA, her entire life. Christine has two children, a daughter who is currently a sophomore at Pitt, and a son who is a sophomore in high school. Her words to live by… “Always work to do your best and know that you tried your best, the rest will follow. Hail to Pitt!”
Randy Mills is currently the Director of College Counseling at the Greenhill School in Texas. He is a proud member of the Green Hill School team after serving 12 years in College Counseling at Trinity Valley School in Fort Worth.
Randy attended Roger Williams University, situated along the Rhode Island coast, where he earned his Bachelor of Science in Marketing and later, began a 19-year career in college admissions and counseling. After six years in college admissions, he made Dallas his new home as he transitioned to “the other side of the desk.”
Since then, he has presented at regional and state conferences. He served an eight-year term as a committee chair for the DFW NACAC College Fair and currently, Randy serves as the Membership and Organizational Advancement Committee Chair for the Association of College Counselors in Independent Schools and is a member of The University of Georgia High School Advisory Council. He has also served a two-year term on the University of Arizona’s High School Advisory Board. Randy is a member of NACAC, The Texas Association of College Admissions Counselors, and the Associations of College Counselors for Independent Schools.
In addition to touring over 200 college campuses throughout the U.S., he has visited many of the top 100 universities in the world, including those in Abu Dhabi, Canada, England, Ireland, Italy, Paris, Scotland, and Switzerland.
Jillian Shadis is the Director of School Counseling for the Bernards Township School District in Basking Ridge, New Jersey. She has served various roles in that district for the past eight years, including Head Counselor and Supervisor of Counseling. Overall, she has been in the profession for 13 years, previously working as a Guidance Counselor at Millburn High School and Highland Regional High School. Jillian earned her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Master of Arts in Counseling, both from The College of New Jersey.
Jillian has just finished her two-year term as President of the Somerset County School Counselor Association, an organization she co-founded to provide professional development and networking opportunities to counselors in the county. She looks forward to taking on a larger role on the New Jersey School Counselor Association Executive Board during the 2017-18 school year.
Jillian resides in Parsippany, New Jersey, with Tom, her husband of 10 years, and their goldfish. In their spare time they love to travel; some of their favorite spots include Walt Disney World and Hawaii. Her favorite quote is: “All of our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.” – Walt Disney
Art Mandel is currently the Facilitator for Special Projects for the Roslyn Public Schools and a College Counselor for Schechter School of Long Island. He also president of College Advisory Services, Inc., a college advising company with offices in New York, Florida, and California. Art has been a counselor/director for 30 years, spending a total of 41 years in education.
He is a member of NACAC, NYACAC, and HECA. He has received his Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from UCLA, a Masters of Arts in Special Education from California State University, Los Angeles, and a certificate of Advanced Study in Counseling from Hofstra. He holds credentials in elementary education, special education, counseling, and administration.
He lives in Plainview, NY with his wife and has two adult children. He also has a home in Boynton Beach, Florida. Although Art is technically retired, he continues to work due to his love of the profession. He also loves to travel, as he has visited four continents and is working to get to them all!
Branden Ballard is currently the Project Manager for We Promise – Office of Equity, with the Pittsburgh Public Schools, where he has held the position for the last two years. Previously, he was the Recruitment Manager for Coro Pittsburgh. He has spent a total of 10 years in the profession.
Branden is a President, Parliamentarian, Membership Chair, Civic Engagement Chair, and Community Service Chair for the Urban League Young Professionals. He is a proud University of Pittsburgh alum where he received his Bachelor of Arts in Social Sciences. He later received his Masters of Arts in Organizational Leadership from Gonzaga University.
Branden is originally from Detroit, MI but has lived in Pittsburgh for 15 years. He is into sports and still plays recreationally, loves music and movies, and is a foodie. His word to live by: “It is better to be prepared for an opportunity and not have one, than to have one and not be prepared.” – Whitney M. Young Jr.
Eric Roberts is currently a School Counselor at Parkland High School, Allentown, PA. He has held his current position for the past 21 years, while spending a total of 23 in the profession. Prior to his current position, Eric was an English Teacher at Forest Hills High School and School Counselor at Freedom High School.
Eric is a member of the PSCA and ASCA. He is a proud University of Pittsburgh alumni where he received his Bachelor of Arts in Secondary School English. He received his Master of Education in Secondary School Counseling from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Eric’s final degree came from Eastern University where he received his Masters of Arts in School Psychology.
He currently resides in Allentown, PA with his wife and daughter. Eric enjoys spending time with family, working out, and rooting for his favorite sports teams (Pittsburgh Steelers and Pitt Panthers). Eric’s advice to others: Life is short, play hard!
Kevin Thompson is currently a School Counselor/Transition Coordinator for Students with Special Needs at North Allegheny Senior High School in Wexford, PA. He has held his current position for 12 years. He was previously a School Counselor at Dubois Area High School.
Kevin is a member of the Pennsylvania School Counselors Association, the Allegheny County School Counselors Association, and is a National Certified Counselor. He has earned a Bachelor of Arts and Masters of Science in Education for School Psychology from Duquesne University, as well as a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies in K-12 School Counseling.
Kevin enjoys spending time with his wife, Cary, their three children – Chase, Tanner, and Sidney – and their boxer Laila. Kevin is a Varsity Football Coach for the North Allegheny Tigers. One of his favorite inspirational quotes is from Thomas Edison, “The man who believes he can do anything is probably right and so is the man who believes he can’t.”
Jean Whalen is currently the Director of College and Career Counseling at Pine Richland High School, in Gibsonia, PA. She has been in her current position for 10 years and has also worked in Special Education and the PRHS Library.
Her professional memberships include PACAC, NACAC, and the Western PA College Success Roundtable. Jean has earned her Bachelor of Arts in English from William Paterson University, a Certificate in College Counseling from the University of California San Diego, and has attended the Harvard Summer Institute on College Admissions at Harvard University.
In 2011 Jean was recognized as one of the “Counselors That Change Lives” by Colleges That Change Lives. She enjoys reading, traveling, and spending time with her family and has been a PRHS Student Government sponsor for many years. Her favorite quote is “Dwell in possibility” from Emily Dickinson.
Edward L. Walker
Edward L. Walker is currently a Guidance Counselor at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, Cambridge, MA, where he has been for the last three years. He is also the Founder/President at Independent Consultants of Education in Boston, MA. Prior to joining CRLS, Edward served as the Associate Director of College Counseling and the Director of Alumni Relations at Prospect Hill Academy Charter School. Before joining the secondary sector, he worked in higher education, first at Bates College as an Assistant Dean in Admission and acting Director of Multicultural Recruitment. He has also served as a Senior Assistant Director in Admission at Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts. He has worked in the education for 15 years.
Over the years he has held memberships with NACAC, the New England Association for College Admission Counseling, Massachusetts School Counseling Association, and the American School Counselor Association. Edward is a long-standing member of the Alray Scholars Program, where he serves on the Board of Directors as the Chair of the Applications Committee. He also serves as an Advisory Board Member for The Wily Network.
Edward attended Bates College in Lewiston, ME where he received his Bachelor of Arts in African American Studies and English. He also is a graduate of Cambridge College in Cambridge, MA where he received his Master of Education in School Psychology and Counseling/Licensed Guidance Counselor.
Above all things, Ed is a man of God. Ed is the husband to Bonnie J. Walker and father to Tiauna D. Walker, Takiyah L. Walker, Kristine M. Walker, and Edward J. Walker. He has made a name for himself as an inspirational speaker, known as Ed “Inspire for Higher” Walker, and has inspired thousands of middle school, high school, and college students, covering various topics. Ed’s favorite quote is “You can always DO more, HAVE more, BE more, because you can always LEARN more.” – T. Harv Eker
Beth Schneider is currently a High School Counselor in the Mt. Lebanon School District where she has been for the last seven years. Over her career she has spent a total of 21 years in Western Pennsylvania schools. The first 13 were as a school teacher in the Pine Richland and then Mt. Lebanon School Districts. Beth is a member of the ASCA. She attended California University of Pennsylvania where she earned both a Bachelor and Master of Science in Education.
Family is the most important thing in her life. She has three children and three grandchildren who all live on the same street as her and her husband. She also enjoys doing anything outside. As a teacher, Beth fell in love with the words of Haim Ginott:
“I’ve come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element in the classroom. My personal approach creates the climate. My daily mood makes the weather. As a teacher/counselor, I possess a tremendous power to make a child’s life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration. I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis will be escalated or de-escalated and a child humanized or de-humanized.”