Meet the CCO
Director of College Counseling. Committed to the field of education for over thirty years, Betsy′s career is one of service to young people and their mentors. Betsy began her profession as a secondary school teacher and a coach at R.L. Thomas High School, in New York. She then completed her Masters degree in Clinical Psychological Counseling from Tufts University, in Massachusetts, while earning a position on the United States Field Hockey squad. During graduate school, Betsy coached the university′s field hockey and lacrosse team and acted as an athletic liaison to the admissions office. At the time, her clinical research, which focused on stress management for adolescents and young adults, became her hallmark as a therapist. Combining a variety of skills, Betsy then committed herself to college admissions at Tufts, where she remained for ten years. Becoming one of their senior associate directors, she was responsible for the development and implementation of policy, enrollment management and financial aid for their undergraduate admissions office. Now in her eighteenth year at Phillips Exeter Academy, Betsy directs the College Counseling Office and is using her diverse experiences to make a difference at the independent school level. Beyond advising students, parents, faculty, alumni, and college admissions colleagues about the journey associated with the college admissions process, Betsy is one of the co-founders of the national organization ACCIS - Association of College Counselors in Independent Schools. Whether conducting workshops or panels on the college admissions process at the national and local level, or participating in discussions about the developmental issues associated with adolescents, Betsy has established herself as an active participant in the lives of young people and their mentors.
Associate Director of College Counseling. Pam was appointed to the Exeter faculty in 1997 after working for eight years on the Board of Admission at Wellesley College. While at Wellesley, Pam was the leader of recruitment and evaluation for the third largest Board of Admission region and was the campus liaison to the Consortium of Educational Excellence through Partnerships. In addition, Pam was the Chair of the 1996 Annual Meeting for the New England Association of College Admission Counselors (NEACAC). From 2009-2011, Pam served as a faculty member to both NEACAC’s Summer Institute and The Advanced Secondary School Counselors Summer Institute, two professional mentoring programs which bring together new and seasoned professionals to learn and collaborate on issues of adolescent development and higher education. Today, Pam is an Assembly Delegate for the New England region to the National Association of College Admission Counselors. Pam holds a B.A. from University of New Hampshire and a M.Ed. from Boston College. In addition to her work as a college counselor, Pam advises day students, serves on the admissions committee, and assists with Exeter Social Service Organization efforts. Pam and her husband, Kevin, reside off campus with their two sons, Will and Tom’16. Pam is a member of NACAC, NEACAC, ACCIS and EISSCAP.
Associate Director of College Counseling. Originally from Massachusetts, in 2005 Gretchen joined the College Counseling Office from the Sage Ridge School in Reno, NV, where she held positions of Director of College Counseling, Registrar and Director of Admissions and Financial Aid. Gretchen began her career in college admissions immediately upon graduation from Colby College, where she worked as an Assistant Dean of Admissions and later as a part-time reader and interviewer while enrolled in a graduate program in New England Studies at the University of Southern Maine. A double major at Colby, Gretchen graduated with Distinction in American Studies and spent her junior year studying at the Université de Caen, France. At Exeter, Gretchen is interested in issues of diversity, equity and inclusion and environmental awareness. She is a member of the Climate Change Committee and helped to plan PEA’s first Climate Action Day in February 2015. She also serves as Adviser to the Ski Club and has been an academic advisor to both boarding and day students. Interested in national college counseling issues, Gretchen currently holds the position of Founding Schools Chair for ACCIS, the Association of College Counselors in Independent Schools. In August 2010 she served as Director of the first-ever ACCIS Summer Colloquium; she also helped to plan the first two ACCIS Summer Institutes. Gretchen's family includes her husband Stefan, their two children, Niklas '14 and Ingrid ’19, and Mac the rough collie, a frequent and enthusiastic PEA visitor. The Bergills live off-campus.
Associate Director of College Counseling. Karen is a graduate of Mount Holyoke College (B.A.) and Boston College (M.A.). She came to the Academy after thirteen years of college counseling in both private and public schools. A certified guidance counselor and an English teacher, Karen has taught and counseled students ranging in age from sixth graders to adults both in the U.S. and in Germany. She taught English at Boston College for six years and at Northern Essex Community College for four years. She has free-lanced, writing and working on various topics related to college admissions, for both The College Board and Simon and Schuster. Karen has enjoyed becoming a part of Exeter′s diverse and enriching community; each year she sits on the admissions committee and reviews prospective students′ applications for admission. Karen lives in Newburyport, MA.
Associate Director of College Counseling. A member of Exeter′s College Counseling team since 1997, Cary was previously the Senior Assistant Director of Admission at The George Washington University, where he coordinated visit programs for prospective students. While reading New England applications as a member of GW′s admissions committee, he also served as a freshman academic advisor. At GW, Cary earned a B.A. in Chinese and Russian Studies and completed graduate work in Russian and East European history. While at the Academy, he earned a M.A. in English from Middlebury College, and studied early 20th century British literature at Oxford University′s Lincoln College. During his time on the Academy′s faculty, Cary has taught English 220, served as the dormitory head of Browning North and a dorm team member in Abbot Hall and Webster North, worked on several faculty committees, advised student clubs, hosted a radio program on WPEA-FM, and coached ultimate frisbee. During the summer, he teaches writing at Exeter′s summer school. He and his spouse Jim Mills live off-campus in Exeter.
Associate Director of College Counseling. Born and raised in Manila, Philippines, Sherry at age 9 and her family emigrated to the U.S. After living in NJ and DC, Sherry moved to the NH Seacoast, and enrolled at the University of New Hampshire where she received her B.A. in Communication and Spanish in 2004. During college, Sherry completed a year abroad at La Universidad de Granada, Spain. After volunteering as a Student Admissions Representative, Sherry knew that she wanted to help students and families through the college application process. At UNH, Sherry worked in Financial Aid, Undergraduate Admissions and Development. In Undergraduate Admissions, she grew her career from Admissions Counselor to Senior Assistant Director overseeing on-campus visits for over 25,000 visitors per year and became a member of the Admissions Management Team as Associate Director. In her most recent role, she was the lead on Admissions Communication including print, web, email, social media, and phone calling campaigns. The common thread that weaves throughout her experiences is her commitment to students, access and affordability. Sherry is a member of NEACAC and was a two-time Faculty member for the Advanced Secondary School Counselor Summer Institute both in 2011 and 2012. Sherry received her M.Ed. in School Counseling with a focus on Higher Education from the University of New Hampshire. Sherry and her spouse live in Exeter. When they are not enjoying all that the NH Seacoast has to offer, they love to travel and experience different cuisines. They later try to recreate these dishes at home with family and friends.
Associate Director of College Counseling. Mark Hoven joined the College Counseling Office from the Casady School in Oklahoma City, OK, where he was the Associate Director of College Counseling. His other responsibilities at Casady included teaching English and serving as Head Coach of the Boys’ and Girls’ Tennis Program. Mark began his career in college counseling at the Darlington School, a co-educational boarding school in Rome, GA. Mark is a graduate of the College of Charleston, Charleston, SC, where he was a member of the NCAA Division I tennis program. He also holds a M.A. from Middlebury College, and conducted an extensive study of the poetry of William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge at Oxford University’s Lincoln College. Interested in national college counseling issues, Mark is involved with ACCIS, the Association of College Counselors in Independent Schools, and NACAC, the National Association for College Admission Counseling. He has presented sessions on the college writing process at the Great Plains Association for College Admissions Counseling. Mark’s family incudes his wife Abby, their three children George, Amelia, and Porter, and their two dogs Roger and Buster. They live off-campus and can be found enjoying many outdoor activities in the seacoast region.
Associate Director of College Counseling. Michelle joins the College Counseling Office with an extensive background in higher education and has spent most of her career teaching and counseling students. She worked at University of Rochester (NY) for nearly a decade in the Office of Admissions & Financial Aid and, most recently, in the Office of the Dean of Students as the inaugural Director of the Intercultural Center. In this leadership role, Michelle coordinated diversity and multicultural efforts across the institution and she served on several committees addressing topics related to race, ethnicity, gender and other cultural markers. A native of Kingston, Jamaica, Michelle received a bachelor’s degree from the University of West Indies, and a master’s degree in strategic leadership from Roberts Wesleyan College. In her free time, Michelle volunteers extensively and enjoys reading, exercising and listening to music. Michelle lives with her family off-campus in Exeter.
Administrative Manager. Laurie is originally from Danvers, Massachusetts. After graduating from Danvers High School, she continued her education by taking courses in Accounting at Salem State University in Salem, Massachusetts. Laurie joined Phillips Exeter Academy in the Fall of 2002 as the Assistant to the Campaign Director within the department of Institutional Advancement. Laurie has been with the College Counseling Office since the Fall of 2009 and is responsible for managing the day-to-day operations of the office. Her previous work experiences include marketing, customer service, office management and human resources. She currently lives in Kingston, NH with her husband Steve and their two sons.
Program & Operations Manager. Sarah joined the College Counseling Office in 2004 after receiving a master′s degree in Higher Education Administration from Boston College. She did her undergraduate work at Providence College, where she was highly involved in student events and academic affairs. Before coming to Exeter, Sarah worked at Clear Channel/Live Nation as a booking agent in the College Music Division. At Exeter, Sarah oversees all college counseling programs and operations, and supervises standardized testing efforts both on- and off-campus. She works closely with college admission representatives to arrange campus visits and interview opportunities for students. In addition, she maintains the college counseling website and is involved in several technology and social media initiatives. Outside of the CCO, Sarah is a member of the Community Well-being Committee and was recently nominated to serve on the IT Governance Committee. Sarah lives in Brentwood with her husband and their two children.
Staff Assistant / Standardized Testing Coordinator. After graduating from Endicott College and Bentley University, Cori worked for Addison-Wesley Publishing in their College Marketing Division, working specifically with their Business and Economics textbooks. At Addison-Wesley, she also worked as a Convention Coordinator and in the School Division as a Secondary Sales Representative. Taking time off to spend with her family, Cori did some consulting work for Addison-Wesley and IBM and worked as a substitute teacher in the local school system. Cori has been with the College Counseling Office since 2003 helping support students, parents and the college counselors through the college admissions process. In her role as standardized testing coordinator, she works diligently to streamline AP, ACT, PSAT and SAT testing for students. Cori lives in Exeter with her husband Mark, and their two sons.