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Meet the Admission Team

Jeff Beaton

Jeffrey Beaton

Director Of Admission

Mr. Beaton joined the Choate Admission team in 2013 and has served as the Director since fall 2019. A graduate of Bates College with a Bachelor of Arts in psychology and a minor in education, he served as an Admission Counselor for Bates before joining the Choate Admission team in 2013. He credits a post-graduate year at the Loomis Chaffee School for his decision to pursue a career in boarding school education. Outside the admission office, Mr. Beaton has been an adviser in Archbold, a dorm for fourth and fifth form girls, and helps coach the Varsity Boys Tennis team. When asked what makes Choate special, Mr. Beaton says, “hands down, the students. Getting a front row seat to their growth and transformation at Choate is priceless. Seeing their energy, passion, and engagement makes me hopeful for the future as they will be our next leaders.” Mr. Beaton lives on campus with his wife, Freddi, and standard poodle, Tilly.

Joanne Bailey

Associate Director of Admission

Ms. Bailey began working in the Admission Office in 1999. She holds a degree in French literature from Wheaton College in Massachusetts. Her previous professional experiences include teaching French, advising students, and running special development projects  at The Foote School in New Haven. At Choate, Ms. Bailey began as an admission interviewer, and is now the longest standing admission officer in the department. In addition to supporting boarding applicants, Ms. Bailey chairs the day student admission committee and brings her perspective as a Choate parent--her son is a member of the class of 1999. 

Brianne Ellis

Brianne Ellis

Associate Director of Admission & Multicultural Recruitment

Ms. Ellis joins the Choate Admission office after serving as an Associate Director of Admissions at Hobart and William Smith Colleges for the last five years. An Ohio native, Ms. Ellis graduated cum laude from William Smith College with a double major in sociology/anthropology and Latin American studies, and a minor in child advocacy. After graduation, she joined Teach for America in Miami, FL., and earned a master’s degree in education and social change from the University of Miami, while participating in the program as a kindergarten teacher. Ms. Ellis spent two summers in South Africa as a mentor through Global Leadership and Adventures and as an intern at The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation. She and her husband, Graham, live on campus.

Jack Flanagan

Jack Flanagan

Admission Officer

A native of Upstate New York, Mr. Flanagan graduated cum laude from Mercersburg Academy in 2014. He is a recent cum laude graduate of Boston College, from which he earned a B.A. in history and political science and was the recipient of the Andrew Bunie Award for outstanding work in history. During his senior year at B.C. he was an Undergraduate Research Fellow in the History Department. He played for the Boston College Eagles men’s lacrosse program in the MCLA and spent a semester abroad at University College Dublin. Mr. Flanagan lives on campus and is an adviser to third form boys in Memorial House and an Assistant Boys’ Varsity Lacrosse Coach.

Ms. Courtney Given

Courtney Given

Admission Officer

Ms. Given joined the Choate Admission team in 2018 from Bryn Mawr College where she graduated magna cum laude with honors in psychology and a minor in child and family studies. While there, she conducted research in developmental psychology and has been published in an academic journal. Most recently, she worked as Special Events and Programs intern in the Bryn Mawr Admissions Office and was employed in the Residential Life Office. In the Choate Admission office, Ms. Given is one of the liaisons to the Arts Department, works with the Gold Key tour guide program, and helps manage office social media accounts.

Matthew McDonald

Director of Financial Aid & Associate Director of Admission

A native of Scituate, MA, Mr. McDonald joined Choate in 2015 from Buckingham Browne & Nichols School in Cambridge, MA. As the Upper School’s Associate Director of Admission at BB&N, Mr. McDonald was responsible for the day-to-day operations of the office, event planning and outreach, secondary school counselor communication, the tour guide program, and maintaining admission statistics for all 3 campuses. In addition, Mr. McDonald also taught History, served as an academic advisor, and assisted the boys’ varsity soccer team. Prior to his work in the independent school world, Mr. McDonald held positions with Wilson, Sonsini, Goodrich & Rosati in Palo Alto, CA, and the Robert Trent Jones Companies in Fort Lauderdale, FL. He is a graduate of The Roxbury Latin School and Dartmouth College, where he received an A.B. in government and was a member of the men’s soccer program. At Choate, Mr. McDonald is an adviser to 3rd form girls in Nichols House, works with the boys’ varsity soccer team, and lives on campus in Fischer House. He has a CAEP certificate in independent school admission and enrollment management from the Association of Independent School Admission Professionals, and is a frequent presenter at national and regional admission and financial aid conferences.

Ms. Grace McGee

Grace McGee

senior Associate Director of admission

Ms. McGee joined Choate in 2015 with a breadth of experience in education, having served most recently on the admission team at her alma mater, Washington and Lee University. A Virginia native, Ms. McGee earned a B.A. in fine art and philosophy with honors from W&L where she captained the field hockey team and was inducted into Omicron Delta Kappa. Ms. McGee also holds an M.A. in Philosophy from Virginia Tech. Her professional experiences include teaching Global Ethics at Virginia Tech, teaching English and Philosophy at Avon Old Farms School, and holding both teaching and administrative roles in Virginia Beach City Public Schools. On the Choate admission team, Ms. McGee administers the Slate system, manages staff operations, oversees digital communications, and coordinates international applications. In the broader Choate community, Ms. McGee is Head Coach of the field hockey program, serves on the community service advisory, and has taught both in lifelong wellness and Choate Summer Programs. She lives on campus with her husband Morgan, Choate’s Director of Academic Technology, and their two children, Walter and Elaine.

Ms. Helene Ramirez-Guerra

Helene Ramirez Guerra

senior associate director of admission & Director of Multicultural Recruitment

Ms. Guerra joined the Choate admission team in 2017 after serving in Loomis Chaffee’s Admission Office for six years, where she was instrumental in coordinating and managing diversity efforts for multicultural and international recruitment in Latin America and the Caribbean. In addition to her role in admission, Ms. Guerra was a counseling intern at Loomis Chafee and also co-founded and was a faculty adviser to a student mentorship program for students of color. At Choate, Ms. Guerra is also a residential adviser in Nichols House, the largest 3rd form girls dorm, and is a faculty adviser to RISE (Responsibility, Intellect, Sisterhood, Empowerment) an affinity group for young women of color. She earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology, cum laude, from Hunter College and a master’s of social work from Boston University with a concentration on adolescent development. She recently completed the Diversity & Inclusion Certificate from Cornell University. Ms. Guerra is currently co-chair of the Diversity Roundtable group for the Ten Schools Admission Organization. She lives on campus with her husband, Oscar.

Nick Skitko

Nick Skitko

Assistant Director of admission

Mr. Skitko joins the Choate Admission Office with undergraduate admission experience as an Admission Counselor at Ursinus College and an Assistant Director of Admissions at Duquesne University. He also served as Assistant Director of Graduate Admissions at Carnegie Mellon University and as a Recruiter at University of Pittsburgh. Mr. Skitko assists with the Slate database, serves as an Athletic Liaison, and assists with our Volunteer Alumni Network. A graduate of The Hill School in Pottstown, Penn., Mr. Skitko also grew up on Hill's campus and is an enthusiastic member of the boarding school community at Choate. Mr. Skitko holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in religious studies and philosophy from Gettysburg College and a Master of Liberal Arts degree from Johns Hopkins University. He and his wife Stephanie live on campus.

LJ Spinnato

LJ Spinnato

Assistant Director of Admission

A Connecticut native, Mr. Spinnato joined the Choate Rosemary Hall Admission team in the fall of 2008 after spending two years at Northfield Mount Hermon where he taught a variety of strength training and personal fitness classes and was the school’s Sports Information Director. Mr. Spinnato is a 2006 graduate of Amherst College with a Bachelor’s degree in law, jurisprudence and social thought, and also holds an M.B.A.. He was the captain of the football team at Amherst, earning four varsity letters. Now the Head Coach of the Choate Football Program, Mr. Spinnato has led the Wild Boars to five straight undefeated and New England Championship seasons. In addition to his roles in admission and on the football field, Mr. Spinnato is Coordinator of College Athletic Recruitment.

Ms. Cynthia Stahura

Cynthia Stahura

associate Director of admission

Ms. Stahura is a native of Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, Canada. After receiving her Bachelor of Science in biology and a postgraduate degree in education from Mount Allison University in New Brunswick, she held a  career as a middle school science teacher spanning more than 10 years. She also worked part-time in Choate’s  Teaching and Learning Center and coached JV volleyball. In Choate's Summer Programs, Ms. Sathura served as the Director of the Math and Science Institute for Girls (MSIG) for two summers and taught biology  for three years. Prior to joining the Admission department full time, Ms. Stahura was an admission reader and interviewer for four years. She currently coordinates the Admission Office’s Gold Key Program that oversees the School’s 200-plus admission tour guides. She lives on campus with her husband Eric, Senior Associate Director of College Counseling, and their two daughters, Isabella and Emilia.

Ryan Strange

Ryan Strange

ADMISSION OFFICER

Mr. Strange joined the Choate Admission Office in the fall of 2019. A native of East Granby, CT, he is no stranger to independent schools. A graduate of Westminster School, he was former head tour guide for the Admissions Office. He attended Bowdoin College where he majored in government and minored in education and was a residential life proctor for 20 first-year students and co-founder of Humans of Bowdoin. Mr. Strange is eager to return to boarding school life after working in Los Angeles and New York City. He is excited to immerse himself in the Choate community and share that community with prospective families. An experienced cook and movie buff, he enjoys working out and hiking in his downtime.

 

Admission Interviewers


Admission Staff

 

Beth Berestecky

Beth Berestecky

Assistant to the Director

Ms. Berestecky joined the Admission team in 2014. A graduate of Smith College, her previous work experience and background is in investment consulting, event planning, and fundraising. She has three children, Michael, Lauren, Choate, Class of 2013, and Reed. She and her husband, Mike, live in Madison.

Shannon Boni

Shannon Boni

Form Assistant/Scheduler

Ms. Boni joined the Admission team in June 2018. A graduate of Albertus Magnus College with a B.A. in Criminal Justice, she previously worked for the State of Connecticut Judicial Branch for nine years. She lives with her family in Meriden.

Ms. Anne Nations

Anne Nations

Office Manager

Ms. Nations joined the Admission team in 1997. She holds an associate’s degree from Becker College in Worcester, MA. Prior to coming to Choate, she worked as the office manager for Cheshire Academy. Ms. Nations liaises with the Gateway Consortium and has served as a Faculty/Cohort Leader for the Association for Independent School Admission Professionals Annual Institute for many years. Her daughter, Krista, is a member of Choate's Class of 2002.

Sarah O'Connell

Sarah O’Connell

Receptionist/Gold Key Coordinator

Mrs. O’Connell was born and raised in Farmington, CT. She holds a bachelor of arts in communications and minor in psychology from Colby-Sawyer College in New Hampshire. She joined the Admission team in 2014, after working for 10 years in admission at Lincoln Technical Institute. At Choate, she coordinates with all the School’s Gold Key ambassadors in scheduling tours for prospective families. She and her husband, Tim, live just off campus with their twins, Maddy and Brady. She is an avid lover of the beach and loves to bake for her colleagues!

Emma Peters

Emma Peters

Administrative Form Assistant

Ms. Peters joined the Admission team in 1995. Ms. Peters grew up in the United Kingdom and graduated with a B.A. from the University of Warwick, England. She has had extensive experience working with community-based organizations and helps families navigate the application process. She and her husband Frank, a member of Facilities Services department, live with their family in Durham.

Elizabeth Jane Salin

Elizabeth Jane Sahlin

Receptionist/Gold Key Coordinator

Ms. Sahlin joined the Admission Team in 2014. She holds a B.S. from Southern Connecticut State University and pursued a successful career in the insurance industry in a variety of underwriting positions. Married with two sons, both Choate grads, Class of 2001 and 2003, she lives on campus with her husband, Brian, who serves as the Sally Hart Lodge Innkeeper.

Kim Wiedenmann

Kim Wiedenmann

Form Assistant/Financial Aid Support Staff

Ms. Wiedenmann has worked in the Admission Office for six years. She works closely with the Financial Aid Director assisting prospective families with all aspects of admission and financial aid questions. Prior to working in Admission, Kim worked in Choate’s Human Resource Department for three years. She lives with her husband and daughters in Wallingford.

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Jeff Beaton

Jeffrey Beaton

Director Of Admission

Mr. Beaton begins his seventh year in the Choate Admission Office. A graduate of Bates College with a Bachelor of Arts in psychology and a minor in education, he served as an Admission Counselor for Bates before joining the Choate Admission team in 2013. He credits a post-graduate year at the Loomis Chaffee School for his decision to pursue a career in boarding school education. At Choate, he has overseen travel and recruitment for the West Coast since 2014. A two-year varsity tennis captain at Bates, he continues to coach tennis at Choate and is an adviser in Archbold.