Meet the Admission Team
We in the Andover Admission Office are eager to assist you as you search for an independent high school. Please feel free to contact any of us if you have specific questions about the application process, financial aid scholarships, a specific extracurricular program, or residential life. Each admission counselor wears a number of hats in the Andover community. In addition to our daily responsibilities in the Andover Admission Office, we are coaches, advisors, Andover alumni, house counselors and club leaders.
We look forward to hearing from you!
Phillips Academy Admission Office
(978) 749-4050 tel
(978) 749-4068 fax
Dean of Admission and Financial Aid
Jim Ventre, class of 1979, received an A.B. degree from Dartmouth College in 1983. He then joined the Phillips Academy faculty as a teaching fellow in English and later became an admission officer. In 1990, he was appointed director of financial aid. He was named Educator of the Year by the Albert G. Oliver Foundation in New York for his work with underprivileged families. He has dedicated his professional career to working with students and their families with financial aid and is particularly proud of the 2007 Board decision to adopt a need-blind admission policy. In addition to his responsibilities in the Office of Admission & Financial Aid, Ventre has served as an advisor, coach, and house counselor.
William D. Leahy
Director of Admission
Bill Leahy has spent the past 25 years working as an admission professional at both the collegiate and secondary level. "What I love most about admissions is that at the very core of our business, we serve as counselors, helping families make the best educational choices for their children," Leahy says.
Leahy graduated from Boston University with a B.A. in psychology and later with a M.Ed. with a focus on educational policy, planning, and administration. After graduating from Boston University, he served as an assistant director of admission at BU from 1989 to 1991, then joined the Andover admission team in 1991 as an associate dean of admission. In 1999, he left PA to become the director of financial aid and senior associate dean of admission at St. Paul's School in New Hampshire. In 2001, he became dean of admission and financial aid at The Hotchkiss School. Though he loved his years at SPS and Hotchkiss, he was thrilled to return to the Andover admission office in the fall of 2007 where he now serves as director of admission.
Leahy and his wife, Bethany, live on campus with their three children: Kyle '10, Helen '14 and Jack. In addition to his roles in the admission office and as a current PA parent, he serves as a house conselor in Flagg House dormitory and as an academic advisor. "Not a day goes by when I am not impressed by the extraordinary talents of our students," says Leahy. "Even more importantly, their talents are matched by their natural humility and humor, making Andover a truly fun place to be."
Senior Associate Dean of Admission
Vivien Valenzuela Mallick grew up in Princeton Junction, New Jersey, and joined the admission team in 1999 after graduating from Tufts University with a B.A. in English. As senior associate dean of admission, Mallick oversees the day student applicant pool and coordinates on-campus events for the admission office. "My favorite part of the job is selection," she says. "I especially enjoy reading the applicants' essays and figuring out how each student would not only benefit from the Phillips Academy experience, but also contribute to the school community in different and exciting ways." She is the administrator for the Andover admission office’s Facebook fanpage and Talkabout blog. You can also follow Vivien on Twitter.
Mallick lives on campus with her husband (who works for PA's Office of Information Technology) and their two daughters. The Mallick family enjoys cooking traditional Filipino food, attending Guster concerts, and cheering on Boston sports teams. In addition to her responsibilities in the admission office, she is an advisor to 11 day students, a complementary house counselor in Double Brick House (a ninth grade girls’ dorm), and an assistant coach on the girls’ JV2 lacrosse team.
Pictured: Vivien Mallick poses with Andover’s mascot, Gunga.
Senior Associate Dean of Admission &
Assistant Director of Financial Aid Programs
Jill Thompson joined the Andover faculty in 2004 and the admission team in 2005. Originally from a small town in northern Vermont, Thompson went to a large public high school before attending Bowdoin College, where she double majored in English and French. During her four years at Bowdoin, Thompson filled a number of different roles in their undergraduate admission office, serving as a host to prospective students, a tour guide, the leader of a student volunteer organization, and a senior interviewer. Thompson spent the 2009-2010 academic year away from Andover in order to complete her Master's degree at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. While at HGSE, she also volunteered with their Student Admissions Ambassador Program. During her time off campus, Thompson had the opportunity to reflect about what makes the Andover community so special, in her mind. She explains, "It is wonderful to be a part of a community where students, faculty, and staff can feel comfortable being who they are, find opportunities that pique their own interests—however uncommon they may be—and continue to discover new interests throughout their PA experience."
As associate dean of admission, Thompson oversees the ninth-grade boarding girls’ applicant pool. In addition to her responsibilities in the admission office, she is a complementary house counselor and academic advisor in Nathan Hale House, a large ninth-grade girls' dormitory. She lives on campus with her husband, Webb, their daughter, Ellie, and their dog, Grouper.
Assistant Dean of Admission
A native of nearby Reading, Mass., Peter Dignard ’07 is a recent graduate of Vanderbilt University, where he majored in mathematics and physics, minored in financial economics, conducted senior-year research in theoretical nanophysics, and played ice hockey at the club level. He attended Phillips Academy as a day student – as did his brother Tom ’06 – and served as head tour guide in the office of admission. “I first became interested in a career in admissions as a student at Andover,” Dignard remembers. “The opportunity to help prospective students learn more about the Andover experience was inspiring.”
Dignard oversees the tour guide program and serves as the class officer for the 10th and 11th grade boarding boys' applicant pools. In addition to his admission duties, Dignard serves as a house counselor in Foxcroft Hall, an upperclassmen boys’ dormitory, and coaches junior varsity baseball. He especially enjoys interviewing prospective students and spending time with families considering Phillips Academy. “Applying to Andover can be a completely new experience,” he says. “I look forward to guiding students through the process and hopefully seeing them on campus one day.”
Associate Dean of Admission
Formerly a professional baseball player, professional and collegiate baseball coach and scout, director of alumni and parent programs at Amherst College, and residence director at UMass Amherst, Kevin Graber joined the Andover admission team in the fall of 2008. As an associate dean of admission, he reads and evaluates ninth grade boarding boys' applications. In addition to working in admissions, Graber serves as head coach of the Central New England Champion varsity baseball team; complementary house counselor in Pease House, a small boys’ dorm; academic advisor to a group of 11th grade boys; and an elected member of the Academy's athletics council. He enjoys the challenge of wearing several different hats in a boarding school environment. "The opportunity to help students navigate the admission process and then continue to work with them after they arrive is perhaps my favorite part of the job," he says. Graber attended Winthrop University and The College of Saint Rose as an undergraduate before earning a Master's degree in education at UMass Amherst. He lives on campus with his wife, Tina, and their three young children—Katie '16, Kyle, and Kelly.
Assistant Dean of Admission
A native of Charlotte, North Carolina, Terrell Ivory ’00 returned to Andover in July 2012. He brings significant recruiting experience as a member of the men’s basketball coaching staff at Colgate University and previously as director of basketball operations at Davidson College. Prior to that, Ivory served as a math teacher, dorm parent, and coach at Blair Academy in New Jersey and on the faculty of Andover’s (MS)2 (Math and Science for Minority Students) summer program.
After completing a postgraduate year at PA in 1999-2000, Ivory attended Davidson College, where he majored in sociology and played Division I basketball. “I fell in love with Andover as a student,” Ivory says. “I met so many amazing people, and the experiences I had changed my life forever. Coming back to be part of the admission team was an easy decision. I look forward to helping students and their families learn more about all of the wonderful things that Andover has to offer.”
In addition to his responsibilities in the admission office, he is a house counselor in Bartlett Hall, a dorm for 10th-12th grade boys, and head coach of the Andover boys’ varsity basketball team.
Associate Director of Financial Aid
Heidi Jamieson is a native of Nebraska who came to New England to attend Boston College, earning a BA in 1988. Prior to joining our team, she was the Special Needs Scouting Executive with the Greater Boston Council, Boy Scouts of America. Jamieson also served as a member of the boards of the Andover Soccer Association and the Andover chapter of A Better Chance (ABC). She joined Andover’s Office of Financial Aid in 2009. Her primary responsibility is to manage and maintain the comprehensive support extended to financial aid students and their families. Jamieson also assists prospective families with the financial aid application process.
“The best part of my job is having the opportunity to speak with both students and their families, not only about financial aid, but about themselves,” Jamieson says. “I have met some really interesting people with great stories to share!”
She lives in Andover with her husband, Scott, and their three daughters, Kelsey ’12, Haley, and Amanda.
If you have questions about financial aid at Andover, please call her at (978) 749-4059.
Associate Dean of Admission
During her two decades at Andover, arriving shortly after graduating from Amherst College in 1993, there isn’t much Associate Dean of Admission Lisa Joel hasn’t done on campus. “I have the awesome opportunity to come to know students and their families in so many different capacities as a coach, house counselor, and advisor,” she explains. “The student-faculty relationships are what make a residential school setting so unique and rewarding.”
Returning this fall after a yearlong sabbatical, during which she earned a master’s degree in education from Boston University, Joel coaches girls’ varsity soccer and serves as an academic advisor; member of the academy’s Strategic Planning Team; faculty advisor to the Campuses Against Cancer student club; and Personal & Community Education (PACE) instructor, providing students with constructive opportunities to learn about themselves and others through reflection on social issues and skills that help maintain wellness. Joel served as dean of Abbot Cluster from 2005-2012 and is a veteran of house counselor appointments in large ninth grade and upperclass girls’ dormitories as well as small boys’ dorms. Currently she oversees the 12th and postgraduate applicant pool.
Lisa and her husband Chris have three daughters – 12-year-old twins Hope and Emma and 11-year-old Mariel – who love living in West Quad South, playing basketball and soccer and riding bikes around campus. The Joel family loves cheering on any Big Blue team as well as the New England Patriots and Boston Breakers. During the summer months they enjoy spending time at their New Hampshire home, swimming in Newfound Lake, and cooking.
Assistant Dean of Admission
Life has come full circle for Natalie Wombwell ’01, growing up on campus as the daughter of theatre and dance instructor Judy Wombwell, graduating from Andover as a day student, and now returning to the academy as an assistant dean in the office of admission, where she serves as class officer for 10th and 11th grade boarding girl applicants. “Attending Andover was one of the most inspiring, life-changing, and life-shaping experiences I’ve had,” she says. “Everything about my new career in admissions is exciting!”
Wombwell studied dance in the conservatory program at Purchase College, State University of New York, before pursuing a career in arts administration, first in the Suffolk University theatre department and more recently as assistant manager of the summer dance program at Boston Ballet School. A dancer since the age of 3, she taught modern dance at Boston Ballet while continuing to dance and choreograph. Wombwell relishes the opportunity to bundle her passions for education and the arts here at Andover. “I’m excited to return to the classroom to teach modern dance and help with choreography,” she says. “Graduating from college and working with students, I discovered a deep passion for helping shape people’s lives.”
Wombwell is an advisor to a group of tenth-grade day students and a complementary house counselor in Morton House, a small upperclassmen girls’ dorm
Associate Dean of Admission & Director of Student of Color Recruitment
Marisa Zepeda joined the Andover admission team in the fall of 2008, after two years as an assistant director of admission at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “Education is extraordinarily important to me because of my personal experience coming from an underserved community and then having the opportunity to attend a selective college,” Zepeda says. In addition to her responsibilities in the admission office, Zepeda is a complementary house counselor in Smith House, a small girls’ dormitory and an academic advisor. She graduated from MIT with a degree in electrical engineering and computer science.
La Srta. Zepeda contestará con gusto sus preguntas sobre el proceso de solicitar admisión a Andover. La puede llamar al (978) 749-4425.
Sarah Boylan ’09 returns to Andover as a teaching fellow in chemistry, house counselor in girls’ dorm Paul Revere Hall, assistant softball coach, and admission interviewer. “I think I have a unique perspective, having navigated the Andover admission process as a student not so long ago,” Boylan says. “I understand the opportunities, challenges, and rewards Andover has to offer and hope to share my insight with prospective students and parents.” A 2013 graduate of Middlebury College, Boylan majored in molecular biology and biochemistry and captained the Panther softball team to a 26-11 record during her senior season. She spent five weeks this summer teaching chemistry to rising 10th graders at the Colorado Rocky Mountain School in Carbondale, CO as part of Andover’s Accelerate, Challenge, Enrich (ACE) Scholars Program.
Jennie Gaiss grew up in Dodge, Nebraska and graduated from Doane College (Crete, NE) with a degree in communications and political science. While a student there, she founded their student tour guide organization and worked in the admission office as a tour guide, greeter, interviewer, revisit day assistant, and college fair representative. Upon graduation, she moved to Minnesota where she was a promotions manager for West Educational Publishing. She and her husband, Michael (a Michigan native), lived in the metro areas of Minneapolis, Christchurch (New Zealand), Philadelphia, and Atlanta before moving to Massachusetts 14 years ago.
Gaiss is the proud parent of two PA graduates and one current student. “As an Andover parent, one thing has really struck me about the students here,” she says. “Not only are they extremely talented and driven, they are supportive as well. Andover students encourage and applaud one another. In doing so, they help to create a community that appreciates and respects the talents and contributions of each and every individual.”
A former board member of the Parents of Students of Phillips Academy (PSPA), Gaiss served as both Director of Finance and First Vice-President. Her other volunteer experience includes working with the Greater Lawrence Educational Collaborative, North Andover Youth Center, and North Andover Public Schools. She lives in North Andover with her husband and their three children, Kaitlin '09, Ryan '11, and Austin '14.
Admission associate and varsity field hockey assistant coach Carolyn Polley brings a wealth of experience as an educator, coach, administrator, and dorm counselor, having served most recently as director of athletics and varsity field hockey coach at Miss Porter’s School in Farmington, Conn. After graduating from Villanova University, where she majored in finance and anchored the Wildcats’ Division I field hockey team, Polley taught mathematics and coached a variety of sports at The Rumsey Hall School in Washington Depot, Conn., before hiring on at Westover School in Middlebury, Conn. There she served in a variety of capacities, including assistant director of athletics, sports information director, admission associate, dorm parent, and head coach of Westover’s varsity field hockey and lacrosse teams. Polley lives in nearby Wilmington, Mass., with her husband Ryan, who heads the men’s lacrosse program at Boston University.
In addition to his role as admission interviewer, Jason York is a versatile member of the Phillips Academy athletic department, coaching Gunga FIT (Fundamentals in Training) in the fall, wrestling in the winter, and outdoor track in the spring. Also a professional commercial producer and videographer, he earned a 2010 Emmy nomination for his work with Nova, the longest running science series on television, which airs on WGBH. A graduate of Boston University, Jason twice captained the Terriers’ Division I wrestling team. He was the head wrestling coach at Bridgewater State University from 2008-2012 and has coached at the high school and collegiate levels since 1997. He lives in the town of Andover with his wife – Phillips Academy Medical Director Amy Patel – and their two young children.