Meet the Admission Team

Mr. Amin Gonzalez

Amin Abdul-Malik Gonzalez

Director of Admission 

Mr. Gonzalez joined the Choate Admission team in 2016 after eight years as Yale University’s Associate Director of Undergraduate Admissions and Co-Director of Multicultural Recruitment. An Albert G. Oliver Scholar at the Loomis Chaffee School from which he graduated in 1992, he attended Wesleyan University in Middletown, Conn., where he earned a B.A. in History as a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow. Prior to his Yale experience, Mr. Gonzalez served as Associate Dean of Admission at Wesleyan University and Swarthmore College. At the secondary school level, he was Co-Director of College Counseling at McDonogh School in Owings Mills, Md., and taught history and coached football and wrestling at George School in Newtown, Penn., and Northfield Mount Hermon School in Northfield, Mass. He lives on campus with his wife, Khadija, and four children: Ismael, Zayd, Choate Class of 2022, Noor, and Safiya. 

Ms. Joanne Bailey

Joanne Bailey

Associate Director

Ms. Bailey began working in the Admission Office in 1999. She holds a degree in French literature from Wheaton College in Massachusetts. She began her career as a French teacher at the Foote School in New Haven. After raising three children (Ted, her youngest, is Choate Class of 1999), she came to Choate to work in Admission. Ms. Bailey has served as the day student committee chair and oversees the day student applicant pool. She lives in New Haven with her husband, Paul, an architect.

Mr. Jeff Beaton

Jeffrey Beaton

Senior Associate Director

Mr. Beaton begins his sixth 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.

Ms. Dana Brown

Dana Brown

Assistant Director

Ms. Brown joined the Choate Admission team in 2014. A graduate of Smith College with a Bachelor of Arts in education and child study and a minor in biology, she came to Wallingford from Lakeville, Conn., where she held a Senior Associate of Admission position at the Hotchkiss School. Prior to that she was Assistant Director of Admission and Coordinator of Multicultural Recruitment at the Peddie School in Hightstown, N.J. She has traveled extensively through Asia for the Foundations Global Education Program and was previously co-chair of the Diversity Roundtable Group for the Ten Schools Admission Organization. Ms. Brown is a dean for the Class of 2021.

Mr. Jack Flanagan

Jack Flanagan

Admission Officer

A native of Delmar, N.Y., Mr. Flanagan graduated cum laude from Mercersburg Academy in 2014. He is a recent cum laude graduate of Boston College, earning a bachelor of arts in history and political science. The recipient of the Andrew Bunie Award for outstanding work in history, Jack was an undergraduate research fellow in the history department during his senior year. At BC he competed on the nationally-ranked club lacrosse team in the Men’s Collegiate Lacrosse Association. Jack is a house adviser in Hill House.

Ms. Courtney Given

Courtney Given

Admission Officer

A native of Maine, Ms. Given joins the Choate Admission team from Bryn Mawr College where she graduated magna cum laude with honors in psychology and a minor in child and family studies. Most recently, she worked as Special Events and Programs intern in the Bryn Mawr Admissions Office. She was also a Residence Council Co-Head, mentoring first years as they adjusted to college life. She participated in varsity volleyball, crew, and track in high school and college. Courtney is a house adviser in Squire Stanley.

Mr. Matt McDonald

Matthew McDonald

Director of Financial Aid & Associate Director of Admission

Mr. McDonald joined the Choate Admission team in 2015 after more than 11 years at Buckingham Browne & Nichols School, in Cambridge, Mass. In addition to his role as the Upper School Associate Director of Admission, Mr. McDonald was a member of the history department, served as an academic advisor, and was a coach for the boys varsity soccer team. 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. An avid golfer, he also enjoys spending as much time as possible in, on, or around the ocean. He lives on campus with his wife, Sarah, and their two daughters, Molly and Anne.

Ms. Grace Mcgee

Grace McGee

Associate Director

Ms. McGee joined the Choate Admission team in 2015 after serving as an admission counselor and coordinator of international applications at her alma mater, Washington and Lee University. A Virginia native, Ms. McGee earned her bachelor of arts from W&L with a double-major in fine art and philosophy, and earned her M.A. in philosophy from Virginia Tech. Her professional experiences in education include a faculty appointment at Avon Old Farms School, an online instructorship at Virginia Tech and teaching and administrative roles in Virginia Beach City Public Schools. Ms. McGee is a committee chair, athletic liaison, and Spring Visit coordinator for Admission. At Choate, she also coaches varsity field hockey, teaches in the lifelong wellness program, and serves on the community service advisory. She lives on campus with her husband Morgan, Choate’s Academic Technologist, and their son, Walt.

Ms. Helene Ramirez Guerra

Helene Ramirez Guerra

Associate Director and Director of Multicultural Recruitment

Ms. Ramirez 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. Ramirez 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. She earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology, cum laude, from Hunter College and a master’s of social work degree from Boston University with a concentration on adolescent development. Ms. Ramirez Guerra is currently co-chair of the Diversity Roundtable group for the Ten Schools Admission Organization. She lives on campus with her husband, Oscar.

Mr. Thomas Serino

Thomas Serino

Assistant Director

A Fairfield native, Mr. Serino earned a Bachelor of Arts in environmental studies from Bard College and a Master of Public Administration in non-profit management from Fairfield University. He completed two professional internships with the Walt Disney Company at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. He served as Admission Counselor for Bard for two years before joining Fairfield University as an Assistant Director of Undergraduate Admission. He has also worked as a Campus Recruiter for Ernst & Young LLP before returning to admission work as an Assistant Director of law admissions at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Mr. LJ Spinnato

LJ Spinnato

Assistant Director

Mr. Spinnato joined the Choate Rosemary Hall admission team in the fall of 2008 and serves as the office’s Athletic Liaison. He came to Choate after a two-year stint at Northfield Mount Hermon where he taught a variety of strength training and personal fitness classes and was the school’s Sports Information Director. LJ is a 2006 graduate of Amherst College with a bachelor’s degree in law, jurisprudence and social thought. He was the captain of the football team, earning four varsity letters. Now the head coach of the Choate Wild Boars, Spinnato has led his team to four straight undefeated and New England Championship seasons. He serves as the head of house in Quantrell advising fourth and fifth form boys.

Ms. Cynthia Stahura

Cynthia Stahura

Assistant Director

Ms. Stahura is a native of Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, Canada. After receiving her bachelor of science degree in biology, and a postgraduate degree in education from Mount Allison University in New Brunswick, her career as a middle school science teacher spanned more than 10 years. She worked part time in Choate’s Teaching and Learning Center and coached JV Volleyball. She also taught science in Choate's Summer Programs for three years. Prior to joining the Admission Office full time in 2015, Ms. Stahura was a part-time admission reader and interviewer for four years. She coordinates the Admission Office’s Gold Key Program that oversees the School’s 200-plus admission tour guides. She joined the Choate community in 2008 and lives on campus with her husband Eric, Senior Associate Director of College Counseling, and their two daughters, Isabella and Emilia.

Admission Staff

Ms. 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.

Ms. 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

Admission Office Manager

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

Ms. Sarah O'Connell

Sarah O’Connell

Receptionist/Gold Key Coordinator

Ms. O’Connell was born and raised in Farmington, Conn. 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 the New Britain campus of Lincoln Technical Institute. At Choate, she coordinates with all of the School’s Gold Key ambassadors in scheduling tours for prospective families. She and her husband Tim live in Wallingford with their 7 ½ year-old-twins, Maddy and Brady. She is an avid lover of the beach!

Ms. Emma Peters

Emma Peters

Administrative Form Assistant

Ms. Peters joined the Admission team in 1995. Ms. Peters grew up in the 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 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.

Ms. 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.