College Counseling at MKA

In keeping with MKA’s commitment to strengthen each student’s intellect, character, and confidence, the goal of the College Counseling Office (CCO) is to foster self-awareness, self-reflection, and self-advocacy. The counseling staff offers programs throughout the high school years to educate students and parents and to offer valuable, grade-appropriate information and advice.

Advising only 25-30 students each, the CCO team collaborates with Upper School faculty, advisors, and administrators to support each student through an individualized search and application process. CCO arts and athletics liaisons provide additional guidance to students wishing to pursue these interests at the college level. The CCO team empowers students to take ownership of their high school experience, to feel proud of their accomplishments, and to be well-prepared for life after MKA.



Of each graduating class works with the CCO's arts and athletics liaisons


of AP exams taken by our students are scored with a 3 or higher


The average number of colleges attended by each graduating class over the past 5 years


average number of students per counselor


average number of college admission representatives visiting MKA annually

Meet the Team

Louise Maxwell

Prior to joining MKA’s College Counseling team, Louise held a variety of academic positions, including Assistant Director of Admissions at Flint Hill School in Fairfax, VA; teaching assistant at New York University; and Associate Historian at The History Channel. At MKA, Louise served as a faculty member and then Chair of the History Department before joining the CCO.


Maryanne Kesler

Prior to joining MKA’s college counseling team, Maryanne worked for many years in the college office and as an English teacher at three different independent schools--Salisbury School and The Hotchkiss School in Connecticut and Lawrence Academy in Massachusetts. Her various positions before turning to independent schools also include News Reporter for an NPR affiliate in Colorado, Assistant Editor at Good Housekeeping magazine, and Dorm Head and teacher at a Native American school in New Mexico.



Deanna Donnelly

Prior to joining MKA’s College Counseling team in 1994, Deanna served as Senior Assistant Director of Admissions at New York University. For nine years, she counseled and advised students on college admission, traveled nationally and internationally for recruitment events, and managed the admission review process for the Stern School of Business.


Amy Shapiro

Prior to joining MKA’s College Counseling team, Amy was a college counselor at Ivy Educational Services and before that, the Director of College Counseling at Newark Academy and at Little Red School House & Elisabeth Irwin High School in New York City. She also brings with her a background in curriculum development at Kaplan Test Prep. and experience as a 9th grade English teacher in East Brunswick, New Jersey.



Doreen Perna

Prior to joining MKA's College Counseling team in 2009, Doreen worked as a Systems Analyst for over 25 years with IBM, Prudential and JCPenney.