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Meet the Team

Jennifer Tabbush

Founded Headed For College to help families in need of expert educational consulting, college and graduate school counseling, and academic planning. Ms. Tabbush received a B.A. in Economics/Business from UCLA in 1987, graduating Phi Beta Kappa and Magna Cum Laude. After graduating from UCLA, Jennifer worked as a Financial Analyst for Merrill Lynch Capital Markets Investment Banking Division in New York and Los Angeles. Jennifer earned her M.B.A. from the UCLA Anderson Graduate School of Management in 1991, graduating Summa Cum Laude. Ms. Tabbush worked for Walt Disney Television during business school in International Television Marketing. After graduating, Jennifer joined Nissan North America as a Senior Financial Analyst working in the strategy group.

Ms. Tabbush began her admissions career in 1990 as a volunteer student reader of applications to
the MBA program at UCLA Anderson. From 1990-2008, Ms. Tabbush worked in graduate admissions
for the UCLA Anderson Graduate School of Management where she was Associate Director of MBA
Admissions. She read thousands of essays, interviewed hundreds of candidates, and represented
UCLA Anderson at events in the U.S. and abroad. Jennifer was also a member of the UCLA Undergraduate Admissions and Relations with Schools admissions read team and read applications for UCLA’s freshman class for three years.

Jennifer earned the Certified Educational Planner designation and holds a certificate in College Counseling from UCLA. She has advised high school and college students in the U.S. and abroad regarding academic planning and successful college and graduate program search and application strategies since 1994, and has helped hundreds of students on a volunteer basis. She relies on her extensive admissions experience and knowledge of the admissions and academic landscape, as well as her ability to connect with teens, to help students navigate high school and find colleges that are a great fit. Ms. Tabbush loves every minute spent working with students. She and her husband Victor have two sons. Ben graduated from UCLA Phi Beta Kappa and Summa Cum Laude with College Honors. Zach graduated from Vanderbilt University Phi Beta Kappa. Jennifer served a three-year term on the Board of Directors of the Independent Educational Consultants Association from 2016-2019, where she also was a member of the Finance Committee from 2013-2019. She is a member of the following professional organizations:

Kimberly Byron

She has worked in college counseling for the past 10 years. She has helped hundreds of students find, and attend, their dream college. She works with all types of students from all types of backgrounds. Kimberly has the added expertise of working with performing arts students. She counsels her students, strategizing on college selection and the audition process. In addition, Kimberly works with students who have learning differences, ensuring that they receive all the support they need when preparing for college.

Kimberly Byron brings a unique and varied skill set to Headed for College. As a 25-year veteran of the corporate world, she has a distinct perspective and global vision for what it takes to be successful in today’s business environment. Working for global and multi-national conglomerates such as Toyota Motor Corporation and Wickes Companies Inc., Kimberly served as Public Relations Manager and Advertising Manager for both companies. She created media campaigns, authored speeches and oversaw corporate imaging. It was in this capacity that she developed her expertise in both corporate and creative writing. Now, as a seasoned professional writer, she brings her knowledge, guidance, and insights into working with high school students as they find their authentic voice in their college essays.

Kimberly was also a principal partner in her own public relations company, KB Associates, where she represented clients in such diverse industries as entertainment, food services, healthcare, retail, and education. It was in this capacity that she began to nurture her interest in the education field and working with kids. She began assisting with essay writing and ultimately merged into counseling. After personally counseling her two daughters through the college process, she realized her true calling.

Kimberly received her Certification in College Counseling from UCLA. In addition, she is a UCLA volunteer alumni representative at college fairs, educating high school students, and their families, about UCLA. Kimberly is a UCLA graduate with a dual bachelors degree in Communications and Sociology. Kimberly is a member of the following professional organizations:

Chelsea Harder

Chelsea Harder has been advising students for the past ten years through her roles at the UCLA Anderson School of Management, and joined the Headed to College team to assist students and families through high school and the college admissions process. Chelsea graduated with a B.A. in Sociology and minor in Communications from UC San Diego in 2006, and spent three years working in the music industry. Chelsea mentored students throughout her time at UCSD and decided to pursue her passion for student affairs, transitioning to a role at the UCLA Ziman Center for Real Estate in 2009. Serving as Assistant Director of Student & Alumni Programming, Chelsea worked closely with MBA, Law and undergraduate students to provide career coaching, mentorship opportunities and academic guidance. After four years in the role, Chelsea decided to pursue an M.Ed in Higher Education Administration and Student Affairs, earning her degree in 2013. Later that year, she became the Director of the UCLA Anderson Applied Management Research Program – a 6-month consulting project that serves as the MBA Capstone Project required of all UCLA Anderson MBA students.

Chelsea brings not only her expertise in college counseling but also her passion for education and working with teens to Headed For College. Chelsea earned a Certificate of General Management from the UCLA Anderson Executive Education Program and has taken classes in the College Counseling Certificate Program at UCLA.

Marissa Matthew Leitner

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Marissa Leitner is passionate about helping students reach their academic potential. As a college consultant and licensed educational psychologist, she helps students and their families navigate high school, and find and apply to colleges that are the best fit for her student’s unique goals. Marissa enjoys helping students appreciate their accomplishments and supporting them through what can otherwise feel like a daunting process. Marissa has worked as a school psychologist for seven years, both at public and private schools. More recently she has served as the Director of Student Support Services at a private school in Los Angeles. Marissa is an effective communicator who brings enthusiasm and compassion to her work with families. As an Alumni Scholar, Marissa serves as a Cal Alumni Association essay reader and evaluator for scholarships awarded to UC Berkeley undergraduate students. She has extensive experience supporting students with learning differences and provides testing to evaluate and assess each student’s unique learning styles, using psychoeducational assessment tools such as the WISC, Woodcock Johnson, BRIEF, Conners, BASC, etc. She advises families regarding Individualized Education Programs and 504 Plans, and serves as an advisor and advocate for families pursuing accommodations both in schools and in standardized testing.

Marissa earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, a Master’s Degree in School Counseling from California State University, Northridge, and an Independent Educational Consultant Certificate from the University of California, Irvine. In addition, she reads and scores essays for the UC Berkeley Alumni Scholarship program

Marissa and her husband Andy live in Los Angeles with their three children. She is a member of the following professional organizations:

Jackie Zakowski


Jackie graduated from UC Santa Barbara Cum Lude from the College of Letters and Science Honors program with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology.  While at UCSB, Jackie worked at the Career Center as a career coach where she enjoyed helping students choose a major, search for internships, create resumes and write cover letters, apply for jobs, network with recruiters, and prepare for interviews.  She earned her MBA from USC’s Marshall School of Business studying marketing and entrepreneurship.

Jackie spent 15 years in biopharmaceutical companies including Johnson & Johnson and start-ups.  Throughout her career, Jackie has had extensive experience helping with recruitment, interviewing, hiring, and training.  She now uses this expertise to support her students throughout high school and with all aspects of the college application process.  She has always enjoyed helping individuals reflect, grow, and present themselves using their strengths and interests.  Jackie thinks the college application process is an incredible time to explore students’ abilities and goals for the immediate and long term future.  Jackie’s mission is to help all of her students find the colleges that will suit their passions and help them achieve their goals.

Jessica Luchenta, Business School


Jessica Luchenta has dedicated her career to serving student populations, from high school to graduate school, both domestic and international, from all walks of life. Working hand-in-hand with students to achieve their dreams has been a gift, imbuing her life with purpose and meaning.

After earning her B.A. in Political Science from ASU, Jessica began her 20-year career in higher education at the UCLA Alumni Association, coordinating a scholarship program for undergraduate students. This role ignited her passion for helping students achieve their goals. In UCLA’s English Department, Jessica was exposed to the behind-the-scenes mechanics of the admissions process as part of the team that recruited PhD students. This experience piqued her interest in admissions work and soon landed her at the UCLA Anderson School of Management.

In 2006 she joined UCLA Anderson as an Associate Director of Admissions, where she served on the Admissions Committee for 5 years. She conducted information sessions and panels in the U.S. and abroad, offering aspiring MBAs advice on GMAT preparation and test taking, visa policies, writing winning essays, and soliciting the best possible letters of recommendation. Over the years, she reviewed thousands of MBA applications, spent hundreds of hours interviewing candidates, and made countless recommendations for admission.

After mastering admissions, Jessica moved to student affairs. She is now the Director of Academic Services at UCLA Anderson. She helps students navigate their business school experience, supporting their academic, career, and personal goals. She also stays abreast of current trends in business school education as an active member of the Ten Schools group, a network of student affairs professionals from top business schools.

Her breadth and depth of expertise make Jessica an expert MBA Admissions advisor. She knows first-hand exactly what the admissions committee is looking for and recognizes what makes one candidate stand out from the next. That knowledge is extremely valuable, and Jessica enjoys one-on-one advising to help people realize their professional and personal ambitions.

Stephen Schreiber, Law School

Stephen_Schneiber_newStephen Schreiber has spent his career in higher education. He was Director of Men’s Housing at Wake Forest University, Director of Orientation at the University of Texas at Austin, and Associate Dean of Students at the University of Chicago. Dr. Schreiber was the Director of the GMAT testing program at the Educational Testing Service and the Executive Vice President of the LSAT testing program. He is currently consulting with organizations with educational components and reads undergraduate applications for Princeton University.

With the LSAT, Dr. Schreiber met regularly with law school Deans, Directors of Admission, and faculty and was intimately involved in the introduction of new programs and services to law school applicants and law schools. He has worked with admissions officers at every US and Canadian law school. He was instrumental in the LSAT being used internationally in Australia, China and India.

His entire career has been spent working and advising undergraduate and graduate students. He continues that now using his many experiences and contacts to assist students in developing their applications to law schools. He has built a network of experienced law school admission officers to help students make sound decisions and wise choices.

Dr. Schreiber has a BA in Sociology from the College of Wooster in Wooster Ohio, and a masters and doctorate in Higher Education Administration from Indiana University in Bloomington.

Inna Gergel, Medical School/Health and Graduate Psychology

Inna GergelInna Gergel, Headed For College’s graduate health care advisor, has been advising undergraduate and graduate students for over fifteen years at UCLA. Since 2004, she has specialized in advising students seeking careers in health care including medical and dental school, nursing, physical therapy, physician assistant and psychology graduate programs. Inna advises students throughout their undergraduate careers and through the graduate school application process. Using a holistic approach, she aids students with academic preparation, research opportunities, volunteering and extra-curricular activities, revisions of personal statements, assistance in answering prompts during secondary applications, interviews and more.

Ms. Gergel has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Comparative Literature from UCLA and a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology with emphasis on Marriage and Family Therapy from Pepperdine University. She is a member of the National Association of Advisors for the Health Professions.

David Cooley, Career Coach

David Cooley, Career CoachDavid Cooley joined Headed for College in 2014. His background includes more than seven years as an award-winning Career Coach for UCLA Anderson School of Management’s full-time MBA program. His experience also includes five years as a Career Coach and trainer for Drake Beam Morin, an international career consulting firm. He has worked with clients of all ages and experience levels, from recent college graduates to senior-level company executives. His client list includes E! Entertainment, Synopsys, the Walt Disney Company, Gilead Sciences, the IMAX Corporation, L.A.’s Metrolink and Lumend Technologies.

He received his B.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and holds a certification in General Management from UCLA Anderson School of Management. He is certified in Career Coaching by the Hudson Institute of Santa Barbara, California.