Colleges That Change Lives

Changing Lives. One Student at a Time.

Counselors That Change Lives

As a non-profit organization, CTCL is dedicated to the advancement and support of a student-centered college search process. Our mission is to help students frame their search beyond the ratings and rankings and to find a college that cultivates a lifelong love of learning and provides the foundation for a successful and fulfilling life beyond college.

The "Counselors That Change Lives" award recognizes those whose dedication to the college counseling profession reflects the mission of CTCL. Their tireless work does not go unrecognized and this program is our way of acknowledging all that they do to help students and families on a daily basis.

2014 Counselors That Change Lives
Alice Kleeman, Menlo-Atherton High School, CA
Alice Kleeman

This statement from the nomination process was used to describe Alice:

"While still on this earth, Alice is in keeping with the work of Mother Teresa. She is totally selfless in advocating on behalf of socially and economically disadvantaged students across the nation, and is a fierce lioness in representing (and defending) the students at Menlo-Atherton High School. She embraces a daunting work ethic and is literally tireless; she has a relentless 'can do' and 'why not' attitude.

"Additionally, she is fearless in protesting inequity and arguing her point, which in the common vernacular is invariably 'spot on' and 'keeps it real.'

"Nationally recognized and admired and considered the gold standard in California college counseling, Alice has continually served on behalf of students through the Western ACAC as well as the Western Regional Assembly of the College Board. I cannot think of a college counseling professional more deserving of this recognition than Alice. She is self-effacing, she works on the side of angels, and her efforts have changed countless lives for the better."

Carolyn Laurenza, Uncommon Charter High School, NY
Carolyn Laurenza

The nomination included these statements on behalf of Carolyn:

"I am so impressed by her advocacy for her students and the college-going climate she has created at Uncommon Charter. Trust me when I say that no one in Brooklyn who attends this school has ever heard of my college or probably ever thought of going to college in my state.

"Yet, Carolyn has created a sense of curiosity among all the students (and not just seniors) that was evident during my visit. Several students attended my session because they wanted to learn as much about different colleges as possible. They are eager to explore their options and they genuinely feel that these opportunities are open to them.

"This is not an easy culture to create with the demographic that attends Uncommon Charter, and Carolyn has created one that fits perfectly with the CTCL philosophy of finding the right fit and knowing that the college search process can and will have a happy ending as long as students are thoughtful throughout."

 Kathy Ortman, American International School of Guangzhou, China
Kathy Ortman

The nomination praised Kathy as a college counselor who meets the challenge of rankings and brand recognition head-on:

"Kathy encourages her students to focus on finding the best match in higher education by looking at schools that sing to their personalities, their ambitions, the people that they are. When you speak to one of Kathy’s students and ask about 'the list,' you can see what careful work she has done to discover the essence of those individuals and what places will help them meet their potential.

"Likewise, Kathy is a true advocate for small liberal arts colleges and spends countless hours promoting the mission of a liberal art education, not only with her students and their families, but also with her counseling colleagues in China, local community leaders, and national schools. Her passion for our schools and the type of education we believe in is boundless."

Stephanie Shandra, MMI Preparatory School, PA

Stephanie Shandra

Stephanie was endorsed as a natural in college counseling with this nomination:

"After having worked with Stephanie for a short time, it was no surprise to learn that she is a CTCL school alumna. She embodies the CTCL philosophy in everything she does by going above and beyond the basics of college counseling.

"From arranging bus trips that enable students to visit colleges to organizing workshops and guest speakers at school to teaching a college search class, Stephanie ensures that all MMI Prep's students, including first-generation students, are given access to valuable tool and resources, exposed to a rich variety of information, and fully engaged in a process to find the right college. And, she doesn't stop with the acceptance letters: Stephanie works with families to explain the financial aid process and stays in contact with students as they continue their college careers.

"Perhaps most admirable of all, she still finds the time to play an active role in Pennsylvania ACAC, working to help educate guidance counselors in a region where going on to a four-year institution is not necessarily typical. As such, Stephanie is making a difference in the lives of students across the state."

Gisela Terner, Independent Consultantt, WI
Gisela Terner

Gisela's nomination included the following words of praise:

"Gise Terner embodies all the very best qualities of an outstanding independent educational consultant. She is knowledgeable, patient, discrete and enthusiastic.

"Most importantly, though, she is focused on student-centered counseling. Gise has referred many students to my school over the years, and each time she calls to tell me about one of them I always leave the conversation feeling like she's made a great match for the student, and for us.

"Gise is also actively involved in various professional organizations that keep her abreast of important issues her clients will encounter.

"On a more personal level, what I appreciate most about Gise is the enthusiasm and care that are evident in her work. Recently, she brought one of her clients to visit campus, and it was clear not only that she loves her work but also that she was excited to help this young woman find a school that was an excellent fit for her."

Bob Turba, Stanton College Preparatory School, FL
Bob Turba

In writing about Bob, the nomination commended him not only for his years of service to students and parents but also for his contributions to the greater college counseling community:

"Bob is a great role model for both his students and fellow counselors. He has a wealth of knowledge and a great sense of humor, which he generously shares.

"His Facebook group is a terrific resource for high school and college counselors nationwide. As a whole, the profession is made better and stronger thanks to Bob."

Susan Zarwell, University School of Milwaukee, WI
Susan Zarwell

Susan was emphatically endorsed in this nomination:

"In a hypercompetitive, brand-aware culture on Milwaukee's north shore, Susan has—since 2009—been a smart, steady, sane voice guiding students to look beyond the usual suspects of the Ivies and other so-called 'elite' colleges to find schools that fit well with their talents and aspirations.

"Proof point: over a two-day period, she brought her entire junior class to our campus to get 'the small school experience.' That, itself, is not so remarkable.

"What is remarkable, however, is found in her follow-up email to me, where she hits all the right CTCL notes while describing the aftermath of her visit where she guided her students through reflections that led to students asking questions that were, as she describes it: 'Internally driven in a quest for knowledge (e.g., to what kind of person does this sort of [college/program] appeal) rather than externally driven by fear (e.g., what does it take to get in?).'

"She is also one of the most empathetic school counselors I've had the pleasure of working with, offering incredibly well-written words of encouragement to college admission counselors in our most stress-filled times."

2013 Counselors That Change Lives

Jennifer FitzPatrick, Columbus Academy, OH

Timothy Gibson, St. George's Independent School, TN

Kelly Herrington, University Prep, WA

Elisabeth Marksteiner, International School of Zug and Luzern, Switzerland

Gretchen Parks, Academy of the Sacred Heart, MI

Robert Zapotocky, The Galloway School, GA

2012 Counselors That Change Lives

Helen Berger, Houston Preparatory Academy, TX

Anne Cochran, Charter High School of the Arts--Multimedia and Performing, CA

Emily Colman, Brooklyn Latin School, NY

Melanie Drake, Whitfield School, MO

Janet Glovinsky, Denver Center for International Studies, CO

Donald Kamentz, Direct of College Initiatives, YES Prep, TX

Crys Latham, Washington Latin Public Charter School, DC

Emmanuel Manu, W.E.B. Dubois High School/CollegeBound Foundation of Baltimore, MD

Diana Olivarez, Camino Nuevo Charter High School, CA

Terry Ullram, Watkinson School, CT

2011 Counselors That Change Lives

Emily Berty, Kirkwood High School, MO

Steffanie Gentile, Clark Montessori (public magnet), OH

Daniel Gin, Niles West High School, IL

Adam Kendis, North Star Academy Charter School of Newark, NJ

Stacy Lightfoot, Chattanooga School for Creative Arts, TN

Jim Montague, Boston Latin School, MA

Ginger Patron, Patapsco High School, MD

Margaret Smith, Chattanooga School of the Arts and Sciences, TN

Jeff Stahlman, New Albany High School, OH

Karen Tcheyan, CollegeTracks at Wheaton High School, MD

Jean Whalen, Pine Richland High School, PA

2010 Counselors That Change Lives

Robert Andrews, Director of College Counseling, Schuler Scholar Program, IL

John Boshoven, Counselor for Continuing Education, Community High School, Michigan

Brendan Diffley, Director of Guidance, Pinewood Preparatory School, SC

Nora Dowley, Dean of Enrichment, Codman Academy Charter Public School, MA

John Fanning, Director of Counseling and College Counseling, Jones College Prep, IL

Bridget Herrera, Counselor, Escola American de Campinas, Brazil

Lauren Hoyt, Director of College Counseling, Oakwood Friends School, NY

Rebecca (Becki) Rutsky, College and Career Advisor, Alabama School of Fine Arts, AL

2009 Counselors That Change Lives

Erin Duffy, Upper School Head, from Seacrest Country Day School, FL

Dr. Jim Fadely, Director of College Counseling, University High School of Indiana, IN

Debbie Greenberg, Director of College Counseling, College Bound, MO

Dr. Whitney Laughlin, College Horizons, Founder and Assistant Director, NM

Ms. Cynthia Markoch, Eastside High School, IB Counselor, FL

Lynda McGee, College Counselor & AVID Counselor, Downtown Magnets High School, CA

Carl Peterson, Counseling Department Chair (Retired) Forest Hills Eastern High School, MI