Meet the Admission Team
Mr. Beaton joined the Choate Admission team in 2013 and has led the office since the fall of 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 his alma mater before joining the team at Choate. He credits a post-graduate year for his decision to pursue a career in boarding school education. 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.” Mr. Beaton lives on campus with his wife, Freddi, and their dog, Tilly.
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 loves connecting with students and families in the admission process, and has experienced Choate from the parent perspective--her daughter, Lauren ‘13 was a four-year day student. She lives in Madison with her husband Mike and their two black labs, Maya and Molly.
Ms. Ellis joined the Admission team after serving as an Associate Director of Admissions at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. An Ohio native, Ms. Ellis graduated 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. She and her husband, Graham, live on campus.
Mr. Flanagan joined the Admission team in 2018. He recently relocated to Los Angeles to facilitate recruitment for the western United States. Originally from upstate New York, Mr. Flanagan was a boarding student at Mercersburg Academy, an experience which inspired him to pursue a career in boarding school admission. A graduate of Boston College, Jack 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.
Ms. Given joined the Admission team in 2018 after graduating from Bryn Mawr College with a degree in psychology with honors and a minor in child and family studies. While there, she conducted research in developmental psychology and has been published in an academic journal. She also worked as a Special Events and Programs intern in the Bryn Mawr Admissions Office and was employed in the Residential Life Office. In the Choate Admission Department, Ms. Given is one of the liaisons to the Arts Department, works with the Gold Key tour guide program, and manages office social media accounts.
Ms. McGee joined Choate in 2015. A Virginia native, Ms. McGee earned a B.A. in fine art and philosophy with honors from Washington and Lee University where she captained the field hockey team and was inducted into Omicron Delta Kappa. She also holds an M.A. in Philosophy with honors from Virginia Tech. Prior to coming to Choate, she worked in the admission office at Washington and Lee and taught at a boarding school. In the broader Choate community, Ms. McGee is Head Coach of the Field Hockey Program, serves on the community service advisory, and lives on campus with her partner Morgan, Choate’s Director of Academic Technology, and their two children.
Helene Ramirez Guerra
Ms. Guerra joined the Choate Admission team in 2017. Prior to her arrival at Choate, Ms. Guerra worked as Associate Director of Admission and Financial Aid at a peer school, where she was instrumental in coordinating and managing diversity efforts for multicultural and international recruitment in Latin America and the Caribbean. At Choate, Ms. Guerra is a residential adviser in Nichols House, and is a faculty adviser to RISE an affinity group for young women of color. She earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology 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. She lives on campus with her husband, Oscar.
A Connecticut native, Mr. Rodriguez recently joined the Choate Admission team after serving as the Bilingual Job Coach at New Haven Works. A graduate of Pomfret School, Mr. Rodriguez understands the value of a boarding school community. He is also a graduate of Connecticut College where he earned a B.A. in Sociology with a minor in Economics. During his time at Connecticut College, Mr. Rodriguez captained the Men’s Squash Team and held internships at the Squash and Education Alliance, Yale University, and US Squash. He has worked extensively with the Squash Haven organization as a scholar athlete, intern, and board member, and brings a wealth of experience in community building to his role at Choate, where he also lives on campus.
Mr. Skitko joined the Choate Admission team following undergraduate admission roles at Ursinus College and Duquesne University, as well as a graduate admission role at Carnegie Mellon University and a recruitment role at University of Pittsburgh. A proud native of the Philadelphia area and a graduate of The Hill School, Mr. Skitko also 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.
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 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. from Southern Connecticut State University. He was the captain of the football team at Amherst and is the Head Coach of the Choate Football Program. In addition to his roles in admission and on the football field, Mr. Spinnato is Coordinator of College Athletic Recruitment, advises in Memorial House, and lives on campus with his wife Alexandra, daughter Samantha, and puppy Zilla.
Ms. Stahura is originally from 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 for more than 10 years. Prior to joining the Choate Admission team in 2015, Ms. Stahura participated in several programs at Choate, including coaching JV Volleyball and teaching Science in Choate Summer Programs. In addition to her various responsibilities within the Admission Department, Ms. Stahura is also an adviser to day students. She currently resides on campus with her husband Eric, Senior Associate Director of College Counseling, and their two daughters, Isabella and Emilia.
Mr. Strange joined the Choate Admission Office in the fall of 2019. A native of East Granby, CT, he is a graduate of Westminster School, where he was head tour guide for the Admissions Office. He attended Bowdoin College where he majored in government and minored in education. While at Bowdoin, he served as a residential life proctor for 20 first-year students and co-founded 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.
Amy recently joined the Admission team at Choate after twenty-one years of teaching Latin in independent schools in Southern New England. She currently oversees the day student admission process. A graduate of Emory University and the University of Georgia, Amy holds degrees in Political Science and Latin. Amy lives in Farmington, CT with her husband and daughter. When not in the Admission Office, you can find Amy running the area trails or designing and making knitwear for her sustainable fashion wardrobe.
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. 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 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.
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 the School’s Gold Key ambassadors in scheduling campus visits 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!
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 admission process. She and her husband Frank, a member of Facilities Services department, live with their family in Durham.
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. 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.
Interviews are conducted between June and January. Prospective applicants will meet with one of our interviewers that include admission officers, Choate faculty, and volunteer alumni. All interviews will be weighed equally in your Choate application, regardless of your interviewer.
Francie Irvine retired from New Canaan Country School in 2012, where she was Assistant Head for 13 years. She began her career as a French teacher at the Foote School, where she was also Director of Admissions. She was head of Ecole Bilingue in Boston and director of Secondary School Placement at Shady Hill School in Cambridge. Francie received her B.A. from Smith College and her M.A. from Middlebury College.
Edrik Lopez teaches in the English Department and is the head coach of the varsity softball program. He was born in Puerto Rico, moved to Florida at the age of ten, speaks Spanglish, and is a loyal but suffering fan of the New York Metropolitans. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley and has taught for twenty years at various institutions across the US. He loves Choate for its warmth, its intensity in its inquiry of knowledge, and its attention to a student’s overall well-being while in pursuit of excellence, in the classroom, the studio, the recital halls, or on the fields.
Selena Gell joined Choate in 2016 where she is a biology teacher and Co-Director of the Choate Science Research Program (SRP). Before joining the faculty at Choate, Selena was a post-doctoral research fellow in the Genetics Department at Harvard Medical School and adjunct faculty at Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (MCPHS). She received her Ph.D. in Cell Biology, Molecular Biology and Biochemistry (MCB) from Brown University and a BS in Biology from Brandeis University. She is also an alumna of Teach for America.
Rachel joined Choate Rosemary Hall in 2019 as a member of the History, Philosophy, Religion, and Social Science department, where she teaches U.S. History, Government, and Contemporary Issues. Rachel is originally from Flagstaff, AZ, and moved to the east coast to attend Dartmouth College. She graduated with honors from Dartmouth with a B.A. in History and Native American Studies. Though she is new to the boarding school world, she is excited to live on campus with her partner Brad.
Smita Sen is a multimedia visual artist and interaction designer. Sen serves as a Visual Arts Teacher at Choate Rosemary Hall, where she is teaching and designing the Emerging Media program. As a designer, Sen has worked for Discovery Communications, Ralph Appelbaum Associates, and the Urban Design Lab at Columbia University. She was the founding Creative Director of Sen Studio, a studio collective of artists and engineers. In her spare time, Sen enjoys poetry, dance, and travel. She holds a B.A. in Visual Arts from Columbia University.
Ian Wollman joined Choate Rosemary Hall as a Chinese teacher in 2017 after working as a musical artist manager in Beijing and a Teaching Fellow at Phillips Academy Andover. Ian also coaches kayaking, teaches lifelong wellness, and is an adviser to the Student Council. He received his B.A. from Lewis & Clark College and his M.A. from Middlebury College.
Dan began her Choate career in June 2010, as a Chinese teacher and residential adviser. Prior to Choate, Dan had 8 years teaching experience in secondary and high schools in the U.S. and in China. Dan earned her B.A. degree in English in China and her M.Ed. from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania in 2007.
Sam Jonynas began work at Choate Rosemary Hall in 2016 when he joined the Math & Computer Science Faculty. Currently, he teaches honors and advanced calculus. In the past, Mr. Jonynas has taught honors precalculus, Algebra II, and statistics. When not teaching, he is also a dorm adviser, a boys’ soccer coach, and a track & field coach for distance jumps. He received his B.A. from Williams College and is currently pursuing his master’s degree.
Kolina joined the Choate community in 2013. She is a teaching faculty member in the Math and Computer Science department. When not teaching, Kolina is a dorm adviser in West Wing and has helped with our debate, math, and rock climbing teams. Before Choate, Kolina started her teaching career at project-based High Tech High School in San Diego, CA. Kolina is a graduate of San Diego State and was born and raised in Bulgaria.
Joseph Lampe came to Choate after beginning his teaching career at Avon Old Farms School in Avon, CT. He has been in the classroom since 2008. At Choate, Mr. Lampe teaches in the English department and coaches rowing. He graduated from Wesleyan University with a bachelor’s degree in Film Studies in 2001 and later earned a master’s in liberal studies from Wesleyan in 2012.
Victoria Pierotti grew up in Newport Beach, California. At eighteen, she moved to the East Coast to pursue her dream of playing Division I Women’s Water Polo at Brown University. Although she seriously considered retreating to the West Coast after her first winter, Victoria has now lived in the Northeast for eight years and has fallen in love with the vibrant and ever-changing seasons. In addition to her new role as English 100 section head, Victoria enjoys teaching lifelong wellness, advising UNICEF and The Baking Club, coaching Boys’ Varsity Water Polo, and working as a residential adviser and Head of House in the Library dorm. Victoria received her B.A. in Literary Arts (‘16) and her Master of the Arts in Teaching Secondary Education in English (’17) from Brown University.