Preparation for success in college and beyond begins before you set foot on campus. Our college guidance team works year-round to establish and maintain relationships with colleges and universities worldwide through participation in professional organizations, college visits, and individual outreach to our colleagues. Additionally, our team is integrated into the Upper School: our curriculum, course counseling, and college counseling process are harmonized to ensure that students have choices that they are excited about.
- Michael Pina, Director of College Guidance
- David Olins, Associate Director of College Guidance
- Rachel Boyer, Associate Director of College Guidance
- Jennifer Shairer, Office Manager and Testing Coordinator
Michael Pina has more than 15 years of experience in the world of college admissions. He joined GFA as Director of College Guidance in 2011 after serving as Co-Director of College Counseling at The Bishop’s School in La Jolla, CA and, before that, Director of College Counseling at Worcester Academy in Worcester, MA and Associate Director of College Counseling at The Rivers School in Weston, MA. Prior to his work in independent schools, Michael served as Assistant Director of Admission and Coordinator of Multicultural Recruitment at his alma mater, Trinity College (CT). Throughout his career, Michael has held multiple leadership roles, including two stints as a NACAC Assembly Delegate, chair of multiple committees, and most recently, five years as a member of the Common Application Board of Directors. Michael holds a B.A. in Philosophy from Trinity College (CT) and a J.D. from Boston College Law School.
At my core, I seek to be the strongest advocate for a young person to pursue his or her dreams. For many seniors, deciding which colleges to apply to, and where to enroll is the first major decision that they lead their family in making. I am happy to be a partner and resource for the students and families.Michael Pina
David has more than 20 years of experience in college admissions and college guidance at both the university and independent school levels. David came to GFA in 2008 after seven years at Choate Rosemary Hall, where he had served as the Senior Associate Director of College Guidance. Prior to that, David worked in the admissions office at Tufts University, his alma mater. In his role as Assistant Director of Admissions, David also oversaw the campus overnight hosting program and was an academic adviser for groups of first-year students. At GFA, David coordinates the junior seminar program and is the junior class academic dean. He also coaches Varsity Girls Basketball and Junior Varsity Boys Tennis. David holds a B.A. from Tufts University and an M.A. from Wesleyan University.
Knowing each student individually helps me to find what inspires them, whether it is in academics, athletics, the arts, or outside activities. Forming this connection allows me to make college suggestions that truly fit their goals and will make sure that the transition from high school to college is successful.David Olins
Rachel joined GFA in 2017 after eleven years as the Director of College Guidance at Convent of the Sacred Heart in Greenwich. Prior to Sacred Heart, Rachel was a Senior Admissions Coordinator at her alma mater, Boston University, where she also worked during her undergraduate years. Rachel holds a B.A. in English and Art History and an Ed.M. in Policy, Planning, and Administration, both from Boston University.
The reward isn’t the acceptance letter — though of course those are nice. It is 10 years down the road when a student is doing work that they find meaningful and living their best possible life — whatever that might mean for them.Rachel Boyer
Jen joined the GFA community from the corporate world in 2006 and serves as Office Manager and Testing Coordinator in the GFA College Guidance Office. In her roles, Jen helps students to manage the nuances of the college application process and oversees the timely sending of student transcripts and recommendations to colleges. As Testing Coordinator, Jen manages the administration of the PSAT test each fall and AP exams each spring. Additionally, Jen serves as the point person for scheduling student and family meetings. Jen holds a B.A. from Albertus Magnus College and an M.S. from Southern Connecticut State University.
My favorite part is being able to interact with the students, get to know them individually and be a participant in each of their college processes. There are a lot of ups and downs throughout senior year and I am there to support them with advice, candy, and lots of confetti!Jen Shairer