At ACA, we pride ourselves on our exceptional team of highly trained, experienced academic coaches who all hold Master’s degrees in education or related field
Susan V. Schaefer, M.Ed., M.A.T, Founder & Owner, Academic Coaching Associates and Launch Career Coaching
Susan Schaefer holds a Master of Arts degree (M.A.T.) in Teaching and a Master of Education degree (M.Ed) and has completed the Career Coaching Mastery Certification Program through C.T.A. (Coach Training Alliance). With a proven record of improving academic success for students both nationally and internationally, Sue is a pioneer in the field of Academic Coaching and is committed to helping students realize their potential and reach their goals through her successful companies, Academic Coaching Associates (ACA), and Launch Career Coaching. Sue’s expertise is focused on teaching students better study skills based on individual learning styles and strengthening executive function skills including organization, time management, pre-planning, and self-advocacy. One of the reasons for Sue’s success is her gift for forming positive, lasting connections with her students.
Sue is also a sought-after speaker who trains education, psychology, and life coaching professionals to become successful academic coaches. She has been a featured speaker on numerous educational subjects and speaks each year at the SpEd CT (Special Ed Connecticut) Annual Conference, was Keynote Speaker at the commencement at Lincoln College, and speaks regularly at schools and various venues across Connecticut including the Connecticut Guidance Counselor Symposium, King Philip Middle School, Bristow Middle School, Farmington CT Library, and many more. She has published many articles on education, wrote a weekly education column for Patch.com that was nationally distributed, appeared on Huffington Post Live and the WXLM radio show. Sue was recently featured in Innovation Destination Hartford as an entrepreneurial success story. Prior to opening ACA, Sue was a classroom teacher and holds teaching certificates in both Connecticut and Illinois.
Sue is a volunteer mentor for Untapped Potential, a non-profit organization that helps women who have opted out of the workforce for a period of time to raise their children to opt back in and make a smooth re-entry. She also gives her time mentoring women who dream of owning a business in the field of education and trains individuals to become successful academic coaches.
For more information about academic coach training or to book Sue to speak at your event, please email her at email@example.com.
Academic Coaches-College Students
Andrea Marshall, M.Ed., C.T.A. (Certified Life Coach), Director of College Coaching
“Andrea is doing a super job keeping Ryan on track, and most importantly, acting as the liaison between Ryan and us in terms of his academic experience. I feel much better knowing that Andrea is coaching Ryan and reminding him of deadlines, encouraging him to use his time more wisely and basically keeping him on track. I am very pleased with Andrea’s work with Ryan and having her as Team Leader for Team Ryan.”
Andrea holds a Master’s in Education (M.Ed.) in General and Athletic Counseling and is a certified life coach. Andrea has been helping students at the University of Hartford for 21 years in the areas of Academic and Personal Counseling. For the past 5 years, Andrea has been Associate Director of the Student Success Center and Orientation where she meets individually with students who are struggling academically or personally. She also teaches a course each semester for students who are undecided about their majors and career path.
Andrea is the director of our College Program including the Career Exploration Program and is certified in Typefocus, a cutting-edge assessment tool that helps students chose a viable college major and career path. As an Academic Coach with ACA, Andrea uses her wealth of experience to help college students focus on the process of learning including examining their learning style, organization abilities, self-advocacy, problem-solving strategies, and life skills that will lead them to academic success.
Andrea lives in beautiful West Hartford, Connecticut. She is the “outdoorsy” type and enjoys cross-country skiing, hiking, and iPhone photography. Her puppy, Baily, is a little bundle of energy who keeps Andrea on a short leash.
Irwin Nussbaum, M.S., College Academic Coach & Educational Consultant
Irwin earned his Masters Degree in Counseling and Higher Education Administration from SUNY – Albany. Most recently, he was the Vice President for Student Life and Assistant Dean of Students at the University of Hartford for the past 25 years where he directed the Student Success Center, established the Center for Community Service, oversaw the Office of Residential Life, was responsible for the Orientation Program, and supervised the offices of Judicial Affairs, Student Activities, Student Union, Greek Life, and Parent Relations. Prior to that, he was Assistant Dean of Students at Amherst College where he was the sophomore class dean and directed the housing and student activities programs.
In addition to his administrative duties, Irwin established a nationally-recognized concert series at both the University of Hartford and Amherst College in which all proceeds were donated to local non-profit agencies. His concert series generated almost half a million dollars that was gifted to area charities and organizations. Helping students to become confident, successful self-advocates has always been a cornerstone of Irwin’s professional career and seeing students thrive and enjoy their time at school is what gives him the greatest satisfaction.
Dave Woolever, M.A., Ed.D., College Academic Coach
Shayne Koplowitz, M.A., College Academic Coach
Shayne has worked in higher educations in several public universities over the past six years, including CCSU, Stony Brook University and Fitchburg State University. She holds a Master of Science Degree in counseling with a focus on student development in higher education from Central Connecticut State University. Her experiences are primarily working with students who have executive function weaknesses in learning assistance programs, as well as working with student-athletes.
In her current role, Shayne is working as an Academic and Career Coach. She provides individual and small group academic support to undergraduate and graduate students from diverse academic backgrounds. As a coach, Shayne takes pride in supporting students to achieve their academic and life goals. She is enthusiastic about providing a transformative experience for students who may be struggling and hopes that the students she works with feel their thoughts and ideas are heard and validated. When she is not coaching she is day-tripping around New England, baking, crafting or hanging out with her English bull dog.
Christine Riley, M.A., College Academic Coach & Career Coach
Chrissy holds a Master’s degree in Clinical Counseling and a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and is currently an adjunct psychology professor and Assistant Director of Admissions at the University of Hartford. She was also an Academic Coach in the Student Success Center where she provided academic, emotional and social assistance to struggling students.
Chrissy has been a senior counselor for a therapeutic social skills summer program where she implemented clinical interventions to assist individuals with Autism, Asperger’s Disorder, and PDD-NOS. Her belief is that by providing a positive and supportive environment, she can create a culture that brings out the best in her students; cultivating their strengths and empowering them to improve holistically. She is passionate about people and her goal is to be a catalyst for her students to succeed in school and in life.
Nick Delaney, M.Ed., College Academic Coach
Nick, I would like to tell you how happy I am with your help. Angel is so much more focused than he was before working with you. I am so proud of him! -Ana
Nick earned a Masters of Education in Elementary and Special Education from Westfield State University, and a Post-Masters Certificate in Post-Secondary Education and Disability Services from the University of Connecticut. He is currently completing his doctorate in educational leadership (Ed.D.) with a focus on higher education at the University of Hartford. Nick worked in K-12 in special education before transitioning to higher education in 2013. He currently works as an Academic Advisor at the University of Connecticut and has worked in academic administration, mentoring and academic coaching both at the School of Fine Arts and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences in Storrs.
In his free time, Nick loves watching and playing basketball, going to concerts, and playing guitar and bass. He is a diehard fan of all New England sports and wishes the Hartford Whalers were still a team. Nick also plays in a rock band called GreenHouse that frequently plays shows throughout the Northeast. GreenHouse won “Best of Hartford” for bands this year. Congratulations Nick!
Amanda MacTaggart, B.S. (2), M.S, College Academic Coach
“Amanda, I just wanted to thank you again for working with Sam this Spring. He just got his final grades and they are high enough to allow him to keep the merit scholarship. I’m sure that his grades would have been much lower without your help (and he probably would have lost the scholarship). Thanks again and Sam will see you at the start of next semester.” -Ben
Amanda has worked and taught in higher education across private and public universities and colleges for over 10 years. After training in the International Coaching Federation model, Amanda worked for the last 7 years as an Academic Coach at the University of Connecticut and Southern New Hampshire University. To further support her work in academic coaching, she has completed advanced training in motivation, emotional intelligence, supporting students on the autism spectrum, and transitional resilience. Additionally, Amanda has presented at both regional and national conferences focusing on students in transition and academic success models. As a coach, Amanda strives to help every student recognize the unique strengths and skills they each possess, leveraging them in support of achieving personal and academic goals.
Shoshana Armington, B.S., M.S, College & High School Academic Coach
Shoshana holds a Master’s degree in Educational Psychology from the University of Connecticut and earned her Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Family Studies with a minor in Psychology, also from the University of Connecticut. Over the course of her 11 years of experience, she has helped high school and college students in a variety of education settings serving high school, and college students improve academic performance and develop life skills.
Shoshana was recently promoted to the Assistant Director of Advising for Student Transitions for the School of Engineering at the University of Connecticut. Previously, Shoshana worked as an academic advisor at UConn where she advised engineering students with course selection, degree planning, and career enhancement. She worked one-on-one with first- and second-year students to develop positive academic habits, learn about campus resources, and transition successfully to college. In her role as an advisor, she assists students in making academic decisions and teaching them strategies to improve executive functions such as problem-solving, self-advocacy, study and test-taking strategies, and time management.
Shoshana is fiercely committed to helping her students reach their academic goals by tailoring coaching strategies to meet her students’ individual needs. In her spare time, Shoshana enjoys dancing, Zumba, DIY crafting, and plays a mean round of golf.
Lauren Eddy, B.S., M.S., College Academic Coach
“Lauren, I am very thrilled with your coaching with Sydney! You are extraordinary!!” -Lynn
Lauren earned her Master’s of Science degree in Counseling with a focus in Student Development in Higher Education and her Bachelor’s degree in History and English from Central Connecticut State University. She is currently the Tutoring Resource Center Coordinator at Western Connecticut State University where she hires, trains, and supervises a staff of 20 undergraduate peer tutors, primarily in the Arts & Sciences, as well as run study skills workshops, and is coordinating a pilot peer academic coaching program for students on academic probation.
As an academic coach in the CCSU Learning Center, she used a holistic, strengths-based approach to coach at-risk and first-year students one-on-one and in small groups. She is passionate about helping students successfully navigate college life and become independent, strategic learners. Lauren has also worked in academic advising, academic counseling for Division I student-athletes, and has taught a number of first-year introduction courses and study skills workshops.
Most weekends, you can find Lauren out hiking with her dog Ash, doing yoga, gardening, or reading. She loves all things Harry Potter and playing strategy and tabletop board games.
Marissa Frangione, B.A., M.S. College Academic Coach
Marissa, I just wanted to say how positive we all feel about Emily working with you for academic coaching. The lesson notes are fantastic! We know it is going to take some time for her to develop new strategies and habits, but the things you have worked on so far seem to be exactly what Emily needs. We are very grateful to have found Academic Coaching Associates and already referred two friends to you! -Tanya
Marissa earned her Master of Science in Human Performance from the University of Florida and her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from the University of West Florida. During her time in graduate school, Marissa worked in the Career Resource Center where she helped students with career planning, organization, and time management skills.
In addition to her academic coaching position at ACA, Marissa works as a Mental Performance Coach specializing in student and athletic development. She teaches skills to help students boost their academic performance. Previously, Marissa worked with the United States Army where she taught soldiers academic performance training skills such as time and stress management, study techniques, and test-taking skills. These skills helped soldiers successfully complete coursework throughout their rigorous flight school training and during their trainings as a soldier on the range and as a pilot in the cockpit.
Marissa’s specialty is helping students increase their motivation and confidence by harnessing their mindset. She believes that with hard work and effort, anyone is capable of learning the skills they need to be successful in the classroom and in life.
When she is not working, you can find Marissa sweating it out in the gym, binge-watching her favorite shows, or relaxing on the beautiful Florida beaches.
Academic Coaches-High School and Middle School Students
Ashley Cassello, B.A., M.S., M.A., Academic Coach
“Ashley is the difference between being able to keep Zach in public school, and having to send him to private school. We are so grateful for all she has done for him.” -Kim
Ashley holds a Master’s degree in special education from the University of Saint Joseph, and a second Master’s degree in educational technology at Central Connecticut State University. She has been a high school special education teacher for the past 4 years and works to teach her students how to manage their time, improve their study skills, and become independent learners. She is dedicated to teaching these skills to her academic coaching students to help them reach their academic potential. In the summers, she switches gears and teaches kindergarten for an extended school year program. Ashley likes to say she gets the best of both worlds; teaching teens who will be heading to college and her “little guys” just beginning their educational journey.
In her free time, Ashley loves spending her time with her ‘fur babies’ and telling stories of their adventures. Summer is her happy place and in the rare moments when she is not teaching or going to classes she can be found at the beach with a good book. Ashley’s boundless energy and humor make her a favorite among ACA students
Kaprece Smith, M.ED., B.A., Academic Coach
Hilary Ben-Ami, M.S., Certified Life Coach and Academic Coach
“The teachers said a lot of great things about her and how much she has grown and taking the initiative to communicate with them. They’re excited to see so much personal growth and confidence.You have worked miricles with Rhyka, and for that I am forever grateful” -Jen
Hilary holds a Master’s degree in Education and a Bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education and Speech from Hunter College in New York City. She has a myriad of teaching and academic coaching experience with students aged middle school through college. She was a holistic learning specialist in the private sector where she worked with students and adults on goal setting, accountability, and motivational tools, as well as academic coaching. Hillary has also developed many workshops and seminars including Student Coaching and Simple Pleasures intended for positive empowerment and goal attainment.
Currently, Hilary is the lead literacy teacher at a middle school, in addition to an inspiring, motivating academic coach. She has two grown children and lives with her artist husband and sweet spaniel, Maya and is a certified yoga instructor.
Emily Waniewski, M.A., Academic Coach
Emily Wanieski holds a Master of Arts in Education from New York University. She is a certified teacher in Connecticut and has taught theater and arts integration for over 10 years. Emily is the Programming Director at Hartford Performs, a nonprofit organization that brings arts education to students, as well as professional learning enrichment training to educators.
Emily’s years of experience in teaching and the arts contributes to her approach to academic coaching, creative, and tailored to meet the academic needs of each individual student. Positive, motivated, and friendly, Emily believes that personal connections and being consistent and accountable will create the best possible outcomes for students’ success.
When she’s not at work, Emily can be found hiking, supporting local artists and restaurants, and taking pictures of her adventures. She recently bought her first home and is the process of doing an “HGTV makeover.
Beverly Yirigian, M.S.W., M.B.A, Academic Coach
“Beverly is covering a lot of ground and doing a fantastic job. Love her style. Her therapist is thrilled with Beverly’s work with Tarryn and said so yesterday. We are grateful to have Beverly in Tarryn’s life.” -Stacy
Beverly is a Connecticut Certified Professional Educator and Licensed Clinical Social Worker with over 20 years of experience working with youth in school and clinical settings. She holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Psychology from Trinity College; a Master’s of Business Administration from The University of Connecticut and a Master’s of Social Work degree from The University of Connecticut. Beverly works with high school students in the West Hartford Public Schools as a Teacher, School Social Worker, and Home-to-School-Liaison; specifically working with struggling students to improve their school performance and develop lifelong strategies for success.
Bev’s happy place is Cape Cod where she spends her summers with her husband, son, and daughter, along with extended family.
Heather Toyen, M.S., Academic Coach
” I just wanted to drop a note and tell you how grateful we are that we found you and your team! Charlie is thriving in school. Heather is an amazing coach and he is taking great pride in his work. As we battle the school to get him the help and accommodations he needs, we are so thankful that he is working with Heather.” -Suzy
Heather is a Connecticut certified high school counselor with over 20 years experience working with middle and high school students. She holds a Master’s and 6th Year degree in counseling from the University of Hartford. Heather takes pride in boosting students self-esteem and confidence by helping them overcome academic obstacles such as organization, time management, pre-planning, accountability, and follow-through.
Jillian Berube B.A, M.S., Academic Coach
“The coaching sessions Jill has had with Ryan have been incredibly beneficial and I can’t say enough wonderful things about her.
Thank you all so much for all of the help and confidence you’ve given to Ryan this year.” -Erin
Jillian holds a Bachelor’s degree in Spanish from Southern Connecticut State University and a Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Connecticut. She has been a high school Spanish teacher for the past 7 years. Jillian not only strives to teach her students to become proficient in the Spanish language but also the benefits of organization, time management, and study skills. Many of her students are underclassman and thrive in a structured environment.
In her free time, Jillian loves spending time with her son a.k.a. her dog Mac. They love to go everywhere together! She also loves to travel. Jillian has traveled all over Europe and even lived in Spain for a period of time. She is also an avid cruiser and particularly enjoys the Caribbean. Jillian also spends time at Cape Cod every other summer with her family.
Paul Henning, M.A.T., Math Tutor
Paul holds a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from Brown University and a Master’s of Arts in Teaching in Secondary Mathematics Education from Rhode Island College. In addition, he passed a rigorous series of exams to become an Associate of the Casualty Actuarial Society and has worked as an actuary for many years.
As a Math Tutor For ACA, Paul guides his students to focus on the fundamentals: arithmetic, numerical fluency, and logical thought. By building a strong foundation, his students become more confident and are better prepared for the challenges of the high school and college years. Paul has the ability to build confidence and strengthen skills in even the most “math challenged” students
When he’s not tutoring, Paul likes to relax with a crossword puzzle or a history book. In the warmer months, he can often be found on a bicycle, exploring the scenic back roads of the Nutmeg State.
Corinne Byrne, M.S., Academic Coach, Math Coach
“What wonderful information and feedback Corinne, thank you—you have been so helpful to Maya” -Leslie
Corinne holds a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from the University of Saint Joseph, and a Master’s degree in Mathematics from Central Connecticut State University. She has 10 years of experience in the classroom in both a traditional high school and currently in an alternative high school where she works with at-risk students. As the Vice President of the Connecticut Association of Alternative Schools and Programs, Corinne expands her dedication to her students from the classroom to the state level.
When she is not working, Corinne enjoys trying new DIY projects, playing volleyball and basketball and exploring all the interesting and diverse areas of Connecticut with friends.
Carter Caldwell, M.A., Academic & Writing Coach
“We are in love . . .. . . with Carter Caldwell, the best writing coach ever! Garrett felt very comfortable and loved the way he explained things (great analogies). Can’t wait to work with him again!” -Susan
Carter holds a Bachelor’s degree in English (cum laude) from Yale University, and a Master’s degree, also in English, from the University of California at Berkeley. For the past eight years, he has taught composition and literature at the college level. He has extensive professional writing and experience in print journalism, public relations, and for various sites on the Internet as well.
As ACA’s Writing Coach, Carter emphasizes the fundamentals of grammar, sentence structure, paragraph organization, research, and logical argument. By helping his students master these essential skills, his students are well prepared for the demands of high school and college. Carter’s gift of patience, as well as his ability to effectively teach students at all levels of the writing process, make him a perfect fit at Academic Coaching Associates.
When he’s not teaching and coaching writing or working on his own projects, Carter can be found in the stands at minor league baseball and college basketball games, and in the audience at movies and plays across the Greater Hartford area, and beyond.
Brenda Barrows, B.S., Office Manager
“Just do whatever Brenda says, we all know she’s in charge.” -Sue Schaefer, Owner of ACA
Brenda holds a Bachelor of Science degree (BS) in Finance from Lehigh University.
If there were an award for “Most Organized Person on the Planet,” Brenda would win it. She takes care of all the behind-the-scenes work to make sure everything runs smoothly and efficiently.
Brenda spends her free time hanging out with her husband and two children. She enjoys watching her son’s basketball and baseball games, attending her children’s concerts, and volunteering her time in their schools. When not at the ACA office or watching her kid’s games or concerts, Brenda can be found reading on the beach where nobody can ask her to drive them to the mall or do the monthly student scheduling.
Tootsie, Official Mascot
Although Tootsie did not graduate from puppy kindergarten (she failed “stay”), with the proper coaching, patience, and love from Sue’s family and students, Tootsie has become an integral part of the Academic Coaching Associates team.
Her duties have included making even the most stressed out, reluctant student relax and feel at home immediately upon entering Academic Coaching Associates by crying with excitement and enthusiasm, and, if the student is especially lucky that day, giving one of her dazzling smiles. Tootsie shows her support to each student by laying at their feet and either snoozing or protecting them from squirrels outside or giving them a turn with her ball, should the student feel the desire to throw something.
Although she is not especially fond of cats, Tootsie is ﬁne with “cat people.” Her three favorite activities include chasing balls, chasing balls, and chasing balls, followed by a long nap. At almost 14, Tootsie is no longer able to be at the ACA office but loves hearing stories about the progress and antics of our ACA students.