About Us Who We Are Our Services Contact Us Directions Payment








Founder

Phyllis Steinbrecher


Partners

Diederik van Renesse

Richard Avitabile

Meghan Lahey


Consultant

Nicholas Everdell
Phyllis S. Steinbrecher

Phyllis Steinbrecher was an educational consultant for individuals and public and private school systems for over thirty-five years. In 1977 she founded our practice and guided our work until her retirement.

She was the author of Getting Into the College of Your Choice and co-authored, with Edward B. Fiske, Get Organized! She also co-authored You CAN Say No to Your Teenager - and Other Strategies for Effective Parenting. Before retirement, Phyllis spoke frequently to parent groups and professionals about the college admissions process and trained college counselors both in the United States and overseas.

Phyllis taught in the New York City and Connecticut school systems. She held an undergraduate degree from the New York University School of Education and a Masters Degree in counseling from Fairfield University’s Graduate School of Education. She was a certified counselor in the State of Connecticut and a member and officer of many national and international professional associations. As a Director of the Educational Policy Council, Phyllis served as a faculty member for the Council’s internationally recognized Educational Advising seminar series.


Diederik van Renesse
email

Diederik’s twenty-four years as a teacher, admission director and private school college counselor have continued to serve him and his clients well as a Senior Partner at Steinbrecher & Partners. In addition to advising national and international families on relocation, day, boarding school and college placements, he has extensive experience working with youngsters who require special needs and alternative schools, or interventions and therapeutic settings. This intensive, time-sensitive work has earned him the respect of hundreds of therapists, school counselors, clients, programs and schools.

After each original placement, Diederik follows up in person, by phone, mail, and email to monitor the progress of his students, assuring the appropriateness of the placement and helping the family and student prepare for the next step. Because this process usually includes multiple stages (boarding school and college), Diederik develops and nurtures ongoing relationships with his clients.

Diederik has lived and studied abroad and also specializes in helping international families find appropriate school and college settings for their children.

Diederik has been and is a frequent presenter and participant at professional conferences and his memberships include NATSAP, SSATB, NACAC and other professional organizations.


Richard Avitabile
email

Richard Avitabile brings 30 years of college admission experience and over a decade of college counseling to his work with college-bound students and their families. He directed college admissions offices in the New York metropolitan area and served as Assistant Vice President for Enrollment at New York University from 1991 to 2002, helping NYU strengthen both its national reputation and the academic quality of its students. Since 2002 he has guided hundreds of students through the college process at Steinbrecher & Partners, a leading educational consulting practice in Connecticut and New York. Rich also works with international students seeking admission to US colleges, and chaired the College Committee of the Council of International Schools.

Rich’s strength is working with families to “demystify” the college process. He helps students target colleges, finding those that best meet individual learning styles, curricular goals and career aspirations. He stresses the importance of college selection as a family decision, with extensive support for the student who is often making an important adult decision for the first time. Parents are welcome to participate actively in the process of developing college lists and evaluating college experiences. Rich also works closely with students to develop themes for college essays and interviews. He evaluates all college applications and essays to be sure each student makes the best presentation possible. His unlimited support continues until a final college choice is confirmed in the spring of senior year.

Rich earned graduate degrees in counseling at Fordham University, where he received certification as a secondary school counselor. At professional meetings he frequently speaks about the student experience in the transition from high school to college. His insights on higher education have been reported in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. He has also contributed to books on college admission and served on advisory committees for College Board and the National Association of College Admission Counseling, and as a trustee of the Loyola School in Manhattan.

Rich is a member of the National Association of College Admission Counseling, and the regional organizations for New England and New York.


Meghan Lahey
email

Meghan Lahey joined Steinbrecher & Partners after nine years at Mamaroneck High School where she worked successfully with students and their families as a school counselor.

During her tenure at Mamaroneck, Meghan designed a multi-session program and handbook for college-bound students and their parents. She also gave numerous presentations on navigating high school successfully, college readiness and finding the right fit. In addition, Meghan ran two comprehensive school leadership programs – Caprice Advisors and Peer Leaders – helping scores of students develop their talents and abilities. Meghan’s day didn’t end with the bell; she put in extra hours getting to know her students by coaching lacrosse, soccer, cross country and indoor track.

As a longtime member of Screen Actors Guild and a classically trained dancer Meghan is also particularly attuned to the needs of the student-artist.

Her holistic approach to the student and the school selection process has enabled her to successfully place hundreds with diverse talents. From athletes to artists to adolescents with learning differences, Meghan connects with students, works with them to reach their scholastic and leadership potential, then helps them select the appropriate placement whether day school, boarding school, post graduate year or college.

Meghan is a certified school counselor. She holds an EdM and MA in counseling psychology from Teachers College, Columbia University, and an AB in psychology from Smith College. She also holds certificates in conflict resolution and peer mediation. Meghan has appeared as an educational expert on both radio shows and financial planning webinars, and has been a featured presenter at professional conferences.


Nicholas Everdell
email

Nicholas Everdell comes to Steinbrecher & Partners from Yale Law School, where he served as Director of Recruitment in their admissions office. Prior to that, he was Associate Director of Admissions at Columbia Law School. Deeply knowledgeable about the graduate school admissions process, Nick works with Steinbrecher clients to select an appropriate list of schools and craft the best possible applications. He also advises on appropriate undergraduate courses of study, and helps students lay out a plan during their undergrad years which will be most attractive to potential graduate schools.

Nick also brings knowledge of boarding schools, having grown up as the child of boarding school teachers in Maryland and as a graduate of the Lawrenceville School. He began his admissions career at Vermont Academy, and received his B.A. from Cornell University, where he majored in Russian. Nick went on to earn an M.A. from the Klingenstein Program at Teachers College, Columbia University, which focuses on developing leaders in independent education.

In his time as an Admissions Officer, Nick developed a clear understanding of what schools look for when they build a class. He also had the pleasure of meeting with thousands of applicants. As not all of them were the right match with the schools that he represented, Nick took special enjoyment in counseling many of them on how to craft their applications and find appropriate schools for their abilities and interests. Nick loves getting to know applicants, learning their strengths and interests, and developing the best way to showcase those talents in their applications.

In all his counseling work he is deeply passionate about helping his clients find and achieve the educational path that leads to the greatest personal and professional success. He works closely with students and their families to determine what programs and environments are best suited for their interests and learning styles.


top