About College Guidance Network



Our mission is to empower school counselors to better support their college and career-bound students--along with their families--to confidently navigate the college admissions process to make good, financially responsible decisions. Our goal is to provide all students and parents access to top experts and unbiased information to achieve the best possible outcomes and greatest long term success.

The college admissions process is complex and can often feel overwhelming. School counseling departments are stretched to their limits, yet are expected to address a myriad of vital needs, with the typical counselor supporting over four hundred students. Only a small slice of families can afford hours of individualized guidance from an expensive college consultant. Those who can’t are on their own. The playing field is anything but level for the majority of students and their parents.


That’s why we started College Guidance Network. We use virtual technology and high-quality audio-visual production to bring the best experts into the living room of every college-bound student. We give students and their families the tools they need to navigate the college selection and admissions process.



Our backgrounds are diverse. We are entrepreneurs, CEOs, and educators. But most importantly, we are parents. We have experienced the challenges of the college admissions process with our own children, and are concerned that this often highly stressful and confusing experience results in less than optimal outcomes.

Our team is supported by the experts--admissions leaders, financial aid professionals, counselors, authors, professors, and more--who join our live events to give timely and practical advice to our audience.

View Our Experts


Jon Carson

Founder & CEO

Multi-exit entrepreneur in education space with thirty years of experience starting and scaling education-related organizations:

  • Scaled first national college admissions advisory brand in U.S. to over 500 advisors while striking large strategic partnerships with Fidelity, US News, NPR, and Care.com (CollegeVine)

  • Built largest event management and fundraising platform for school/charity fundraisers with half a billion dollars raised (BiddingForGood)

  • Built largest K-12 education website with 25% of all U.S. school districts building their first website (FamilyEducation Network)

  • Recognition:

    • Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of Year finalist (2x)

    • Initial inductee into Babson Alumni Entrepreneur Hall of Fame

    • Yale Insights: Reflections from 101 of Yale's Most Successful Entrepreneurs



Bob Block 

  • Parent of one student entering college and another who is a rising junior. 

  • Former VP of Corporate Development for ACT

  • CEO of Professional Examination Service (acquired by ACT)

  • Built and managed partner ecosystem for Family Education Network (acquired by Pearson in 2000)

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Product & Programming

Karen Nathan

  • Parent of one high school student and one college student

  • Over 20 years of experience in educational programming and instructional design; Account Manager and National Education Consultant for FamilyEducation Network (acquired by Pearson)

  • Practice area expertise in educational technology, social-emotional learning, health promotion

  • Community Fellow, Princeton University 


Content Manager

Melina Prentakis

  • 5 years of experience as a college admissions counselor at multiple institutions

  • Traveled to and worked with students in 29+ states on their college application process

  • Presenter at Southern Association of College Admissions Counseling's conference for new counselors

  • Master's Degree in Higher Education Administration from Vanderbilt University


Executive Producer

James Donald

  • Parent of two middle-schoolers

  • Seventeen years of documentary filmmaking

  • One Peabody Award, six Emmy nominations, two wins. 15+ other awards.

  • Spent five years at edX.org, where he learned the core principles of successful e-learning

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Application Curriculum

Heather Ayers

  • College advisor, Ayers Education

  • Director of Admissions, Wellesley College

  • Senior K-12 educational Mgr, The College Board

  • Assistant Dean Arts & Science, The College of William and Mary

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Head of Product

Lesley Vossenkemper

  • Parent of two high school students

  • 20 years of building Ed Tech businesses

  • SVP Enrollment Management at Ruffalo Noel Levitz leading growth from $1M revenue to $70M

  • Developed strategy as Head of Product Innovation at ACT resulting in the acquisition of NRCCUA, the largest investment in ACT's history


Executive Producer

Mike Leber

  • Father with college up ahead

  • Senior Coordinating Producer ESPN

  • Led production for 10 Super Bowls and 6 Olympics

  • Coordinated content production across TV, radio, print, digital, and social

  • Nominated and winner of multiple Emmy awards


School Relations Manager

August Stover

  • Several years of experience in urban secondary education at traditional and charter public schools, including classroom teaching and SEL curriculum development

  • Former low-income college student with a passion for equity in education

  • Master's Degree in Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education


Senior Editorial Advisor

Rob Lippincott

  • Parent of two college graduates

  • SVP of Education for PBS

  • SVP Product Development for Discovery Education

  • SVP & GM of Programming for FamilyEducation Network (acquired by Pearson)

  • Member of College Guidance Network advisory board



We know we don’t have all the answers so we have built a world-class advisory board that can give us guidance, tell us the hard truths, and provide input as we develop our programming and technology platform.

Executive Director, Mass School Counseling Association

Bob Bardwell

  • Former member - Board of Directors of the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC)

  • Board Director, Secondary Level VP and Assembly Delegate of the American School Counselor Association (ASCA). 

  • Past-President of the New England Association for College Admission Counseling (NEACAC)

Executive Director, Emeritus

Anne L. Bryant

  • Executive Director, National School Boards Association

  • Executive Director,
    American Association of University Women

  • Trustee and Board Chair, Simmons College

  • Trustee, National Teachers Hall of Fame

Chancellor, Louisiana State University Eunice

Nancee Sorenson

  • Former President Brandon Campus, Hillsborough Community College and 

  • Hillsborough Community College District

  • Former Acting President, East Campus, Pima Community College and 

  • Pima County Community College District

  • Colvert Scholar and Gleazer Scholar at University of Texas at Austin

  • Completed Community College Leadership Program

Senior Advisor at New Markets Venture Partners

Marten Roorda

  • CEO of ACT

  • CEO of Cito

  • Publishing Director, Reed Business Information

  • Editor-in-Chief, Scripta Media B.V.

Founder, Naviance

Stephen Smith

  • Founder and CEO of Intellispark

  • Founder of Naviance

  • VP Digital Product Development, Peterson’s

Professor, Boston University School of Education

Hardin Coleman

  • Dean, BU/Wheelock School of Education and Human Development

  • Professor of Counseling and Applied Human Development

  • Associate Dean, University of Wisconsin School of Education

  • Ph.D., Counseling Psychology, Stanford University

Former Chief Officer, Center of Equity in Learning, ACT

Jim Larimore

  • Dean of Students,
    Amherst College

  • Deputy Director, Post-Secondary Success, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

  • Dean of Students, Swarthmore College

  • B.S. Texas A&M University, MA Education, Stanford University

Former Admissions Officer

Mike Sexton

  • Former VP Enrollment, Santa Clara University

  • Former Dean of Admissions, Lewis & Clark

  • Former Director of Admissions, Rhodes College

Strategic Advisor

Jonell Sanchez

  • Jonell emigrated from Cuba as a child and was an ESL student who grew up in an underserved community in New Jersey. His personal learning journey fuels his professional commitment and lifelong passion for educational opportunity, access and impact at scale. 

  • Jonell is an internationally recognized leader in education and business, who was formerly a senior executive with ACT, the National Student Clearinghouse. Pearson Global, and the College Board   

Founder/CEO, Road Trip Nation

Mike Marriner

  • Executive Producer, PBS series Road Trip Nation

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