A wealth of backgrounds and expertise, and a commitment to excellence
Click on each photo to learn more about our team.
The Americas, Greater New York
Liz Perelstein is the Chair and Founder of School Choice International. A seasoned educator herself, she started the company as an expatriate in London over ten years ago. Prior to founding School Choice International she was a teacher, an educational administrator, a school board member, and worked at all levels of education, from nursery school through university. In 2006, she co-founded the British International School of New York, the first British curriculum school in the New York metropolitan area. She frequently writes and speaks on topics related to education, relocation, and women owned businesses. She was named as one of Fortune Magazine’s Ten Most Powerful Women Entrepreneurs in 2010. She is also a member of the Women Presidents’ Organization (WPO), the premier peer advisory organization connecting top women entrepreneurs who own multi-million dollar companies. Ms. Perelstein holds two Master’s Degrees in Educational Administration and Public Policy from the University of Chicago.
Timothy Dwyer is Chief Executive Officer of School Choice International. Tim has more than 20 years experience in global mobility, international compensation, and human resources. His recent experience includes almost four years as Americas Regional Manager in Goldman Sachs’ Global Mobility Services department. Prior to that, Tim spent a decade at KPMG, serving as National Director of the firm’s International HR Consulting group, where he developed its online survey of international HR policies and practices. Earlier in his career, he worked at Manufacturers Hanover, ORC, and MasterCard International where he provided HR support to its expatriate and local national population. Tim received his undergraduate degree from Georgetown University, and also holds a Degree of Advanced European Studies from the College of Europe in Bruges, Belgium.
Beth Avitabile is the Vice President and Director of Client Services at School Choice International. Beth spent eight years working as the Director of Admissions for a large study abroad program, The American Institute for Foreign Study (AIFS). Her duties included sales, budgeting, counseling of students and parents, recruitment of participants, education of administrators about AIFS programs and development of promotional and marketing materials. Beth lived in Italy and has traveled extensively including Europe, Australia, Asia, Russia and Central America. She holds an MBA in International Business and Marketing and a BS in Business and Economics.
Susan Bartow is the Director of Finance and Human Resources at School Choice International. She currently serves on the Rye Neck Schools Board of Education Audit Committee as well as the Rye Neck Schools Programs and Priorities Committee. Susan worked for Citicorp, Inc. for 13 years as Vice President and Chief of Staff in its Global Shipping Division and Global Credit Division and she was the Investment Bank Corporate Reporting Unit Head. Prior to that she was an Audit Manager for Coopers and Lybrand (now PricewaterhouseCoopers). She is a Certified Public Accountant, received her undergraduate degree from Yale University and an MBA in Accounting from New York University – Stern School of Business.
Valerie Cheung Koo
Valerie Cheung Koo is a Los Angeles native with a professional background in public relations and event planning. Currently, Valerie oversees business development and client relations and manages the consultant teams in APAC. She has also assisted clients with group moves and given presentations on various education-related topics to employees on-site. Additionally, Valerie has personally helped many families navigate Hong Kong’s rich yet challenging school landscape with very positive results. She speaks “survival” Cantonese and is learning Mandarin. Valerie holds a B.A. in sociology from the University of California, Los Angeles
Jeannie is the Staff Accountant and Client Services Associate at School Choice. She was the office manager at a CPA firm in Larchmont and an administrator at a church in Mamaroneck. Jeannie has also worked with the American Lung Association and the Westco HeadStart establishing a correlation between children without healthcare and childhood asthma. She obtained her B.A. at State University of New York, Purchase College where she studied political science and art history. As a mother of four, Jeannie was on numerous committees in her children’s PTSA.
Polly Rodriguez is Deputy Director Global Education Consulting Services. She has worked in education and research for over fifteen years in various roles: as a professor in the US and Ireland, both online and on campus; as the coordinator and developer of education initiatives for a national non-profit association in Washington DC, and as manager for a research initiative for the World Bank creating a resource for sub-Saharan cultural protocols. Polly holds a Ph.D. in curriculum and program design from the Dublin Institute of Technology, Dublin, Ireland. She lives in Washington DC and holds Ed.S., M.A, and B.A degrees from George Washington University.
Alexandra “Alex” Ruttenberg began her career in the relocation industry 21 years ago working for The World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF). During her time there she held several positions all focusing on education and spousal support. Her roles included: Director of the Education Advising Office; Co-Team Lead and Founder Global Mobility Center, The World Bank; and Spouse/Partner Career Advisor. Alex joined Dwellworks in 2007 as the Director of Education Services. Alex’s work experience outside of the relocation industry has been in the field of teaching and research both at the high school and university level. She was also a Senior Research Analyst at the Massachusetts General Hospital. Alex earned a B.A. from Yale University, an Ed.M. from Harvard University in Counseling and Education and an Ed.S. from George Washington University in Education Administration. She is a Certified Education Planner (CEP) and a member of the Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA).
Sheryl Brady is a Client Services Associate at School Choice International. She was employed as a mathematics professor and department chair at Purchase College, SUNY, for a number of years and also did administrative work for the Family Information Center of the White Plains City School District and the Westchester Adult Jewish Education program. Sheryl holds a Ph.D. in mathematics from Cornell University, where she was a Danforth Fellow. She currently serves as a trustee of the White Plains City School District Board of Education, is a founding Board member of the Foundation for the Advancement of International Studies in White Plains, and teaches Religious School at Congregation Kol Ami.
Heather Gatto is a Greater New York Consultant at School Choice International. Prior to joining School Choice she spent ten years as the national coordinator for a children’s education program. She still advises teachers and environmental groups on how to incorporate the program into their curriculum and events. Heather also worked as a senior compliance officer and financial/regulatory analyst for Depository Trust Company, where she oversaw applications and memberships of banks and broker dealers. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Fordham University in New York.
Jeryss Haynes, Operations Manager, is responsible for Recruitment and Internal Communications, at School Choice International. She previously worked for Prudential Financial in the International Relocation Division, where she provided clients with solutions to their relocation needs, including home sales, transportation, intercultural training, and school search services. Jeryss was also previously a Head Teacher at a Head Start program. Jeryss received her associates degrees from Pace University.
Sara Pelgrift is a member of the Client Services Team and a Boarding School Consultant at School Choice International. Sara has over 20 years experience in education including, most recently, three years as the Assistant Director of Secondary School Advising at the Greenwich Country Day School and, prior to that, for many years, as an Educational Consultant at School Choice International. Sara served for 12 years as a member of the Board of Trustees for Loomis Chaffee School (a highly competitive boarding school in CT.) and is currently serving on the Board of Trustees of the Eagle Hill School in Greenwich, CT ( a preeminent LD school) where she also was President of the Parent's Association for many years. Sara and her family lived in London for 3 years and experienced first hand an international school transition for her children. Prior to raising her children, Sara worked in Finance at Morgan Stanley and Company and received her Bachelors of Arts degree from Connecticut College.
Karen Lee Mah
Karen Lee Mah is the Director of Recruitment for School Choice International. Karen has the privilege of selecting educational consultants all around the world and incorporating them onto their global team. Karen has been a field supervisor and is a special needs and Los Angeles educational consultant for School Choice as well. She has worked with a neuropsychologist assessing children with learning disabilities and has written numerous articles for Kids LA Magazine. Karen has a BS from Cornell University and is an active volunteer at her children’s schools. Karen has lived in Ithaca, NY, Honolulu, HI and Boston, MA. She speaks fluent Cantonese and is proficient in French.
Sara Schmidt is a Global Field Supervisor for parts of the United States and for Asia. She was a teacher at an international school in Latin America before entering the human services arena in a variety of positions including Planning Director, Director of Development and Area Manager. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Education and a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Harvard University. Sara is fluent in Spanish.
Anne Vinson is a member of the Client Services and Research Team at School Choice International. In her previous position, she worked for School Counseling Group, an educational consulting firm in Washington, DC. At Dwellworks International Relocations, Anne worked for 11 years as a destination services consultant, program manager, and team lead. She holds a B.A. in Art History from Manhattanville in New York. A volunteer at the American Woman's Club of The Hague and the Federation of American Women's Clubs, Anne lived in the Netherlands for four years before moving to DC. While living abroad, Anne traveled extensively throughout Europe in addition to trips to Russia, Turkey, Egypt and China.
Tracey Cosgrove is an independent consultant for the UK. She is a qualified teacher and taught in London schools for more than ten years. Tracey has moved internationally with her family, living in Germany for nine years. During this time, she taught in an English international school. In addition to general consultancy, Tracey is a special needs consultant for Europe. Her First Class Honours degree in Education included a final year option in Special Educational Needs and, before leaving the UK, Tracey was the Special Eductional Needs Coordinator in a mainstream primary (elementary) school. Tracey’s special needs knowledge extends to all schools including specialized and boarding placements.
Hélène Côté is a research associate and consultant for The School Choice Group. Hélène is originally from Montréal, Québec, Canada where she obtained a License in Law (the J.D. equivalent in the USA) at the University of Montréal and then a Master degree in Education Law. In France she further pursued studies at the University of Panthéon-Assas (Paris 2) and received a Diplôme d’Études Approfondies (D.E.A., Diploma of Advanced Studies). She worked at the Federal Department of Justice as a Crown Prosecutor in Montréal, and then was an assistant professor at the Law Faculty of University of Montréal. Hélène understands the challenges of an international relocation with children since she and her husband moved to the UK, where her three children were born, then relocated her family to the United States. She recently obtained a Certificate at Pace University School of Law in a program called New Directions for Attorneys. Hélène is fluent in French.
Susan Ginsberg is Executive Vice President of School Choice International. Susan has more than 25 years experience in business development and strategic planning. Her recent experience includes twelve years as Vice President Global Services and Business Development at REA, a leading Spouse/Partner Career Assistance firm where she established the international services business and global brand. Her early career in retail management at Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdale's and Lancome reflects her customer-centric approach and track record of driving results through people. She held various regional management roles in merchandise planning and multi-site operations, earning leadership recognition for building top performing store operations. Susan received her undergraduate degree from University of Pennsylvania, and lived and worked abroad in France. She is proficient in French.
Christine Pon is Finance Manager at School Choice International. Education has always been a priority and focus in her life. She has been an active participant and advocate of improving the quality of education in private and public schools. Through her school committee positions, she has a vast knowledge of the intricacies of various school systems. Her prior experience was in corporate finance and in mergers and acquisitions for General Electric, E.F. Hutton, and Mitchell & Associates. She graduated from Brown University with a double concentration in Economics and Organizational Behavior & Management.
Bill Yarwood is Director of College Consulting and an Education Consultant at School Choice International. He has more than thirty years of experience as a high school teacher, counselor, administrator, and director of counseling services. Bill is currently the Director of College Counseling at Doane Academy, a private college preparatory school in Burlington, New Jersey. He is a past President of the Pennsylvania Association for College Admission Counseling (PACAC) and for more than fifteen years trained college admissions officers and high school counselors as a founding faculty member of the PACAC Summer Institute on College Admissions at Bucknell University. Bill holds a Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) degree from Temple University and for five years, he was an adjunct professor at Villanova University. Bill is a member in good standing of the Higher Education Consultants Association (HECA).
Samantha Davidson is Business Development Consultant, EMEA of School Choice International and is a British born expat based in London. Her global career has entailed over twenty years of marketing and communication roles in the public and private sector services. She specialized in digital marketing and social media in the education sector, and attained an MSc in Strategic Marketing from the University of Wales. To compliment her international work experience, Samantha has lived as an expat in 10 countries, supporting her husband’s career with an international bank and their two children to countries in Asia, the Middle East, Europe and USA. As a mother of two teenage children, she recently she moved their children to a British boarding school. Her former experience involved working for the British Council, the world’s leading cultural relations organization that provides extensive global educational services, English language centers, examination services and UK universities advisory services.
Cecily Lynett is an educational consultant for School Choice International in New York. She has a B.S. in Elementary Education from West Virginia University and taught first grade at an independent school in Queens, New York. Before starting her work as a consultant at SCI, Cecily was relocated to London where she experienced expatriate life with her family. Since returning to New York, her four children have attended public, private, parochial, and boarding schools. Her background has given her the knowledge to navigate the school admissions process in all sectors and to help other relocating families. Over the years, she has successfully placed children at nursery schools, private and public elementary and high schools, and boarding schools. Cecily is an associate member of IECA (Independent Educational Consultants Association) which specializes in the highest level of school placement services at boarding and day schools.
Michelle Rotunno is a Client Services and Social Media Associate at School Choice International. She was a preschool teacher at a Child Development Center located in Westchester, NY. Michelle has also volunteered at multiple early childhood education centers, including Head Start and interned at the Otsego County Mental Health Clinic. She holds a B.S. in Psychology and Child and Family Studies from the State University of New York College at Oneonta.
Martha Sud is a Special Needs Educational Consultant for The Americas, for School Choice International. Martha provided remediation services for students diagnosed with Specific Learning Disabilities in reading and written expression, and helped to develop their executive functions and self-regulation skills. Martha earned her M.A. in Applied Educational Psychology as a Reading Specialist from Teachers College, Columbia University. She also holds a B.A. in Political Science from New York University. She is a member of The International Dyslexia Association and The American Educational Research Association. As a volunteer, Martha has served on educational and parent board committees for the Brunswick School and Cornell University. Martha is a native Spanish speaker from Venezuela and has travelled globally.
Laura Weinkle is a Global Field Supervisor and also provides education services in the South Florida area. For the past decade, Laura has been an interim and substitute teacher in elementary and middle schools in Fort Lauderdale. Prior to teaching, Laura was in human resources in training and development. A native from South Florida, Laura is very familiar with the public and private school systems. She has been a tireless advocate for her own special needs son and in doing so, acquired a diverse network of families, professionals and services. Laura attended Tulane University and received her Bachelor of Arts in Communications. She has been active in her community by helping other special needs families with their personal challenges and educational options.