School Advisors

K-12 | Preschool | Brooklyn | Boarding | Special Needs | Summer Camps

Kindergarten-12th Grade Advisors

Mary Ann Clerkin
School Advisor

Mary Ann has been a School Advisor at the Parents League since 2008 and has special expertise counseling families transitioning from public to private school, as well as advising families applying to preschool, elementary, middle and upper school.

Prior to joining the Parents League, she was a New York State licensed, certified, tenured teacher and the Director of The Community House in Forest Hills Gardens for over 20 years.

During her career she has served on the Board of NAEYC, The Forestdale Board for Foster Children and Community Board 6. She has a degree in Education and a Masters in Educational Counseling.

Evie Gurney
School Advisor

Evie advises families applying to middle school and high school. She is not only very knowledgeable about independent and private middle schools and high schools, but she also has a deep understanding of the public, parochial and boarding school landscape and their admissions processes.

Prior to joining the Parents League, Evie was Director of High School Placement at Bank Street School for Children, where she placed approximately 40 eighth grade students per year at independent day and boarding schools, and public and parochial schools. Before switching to a career in education, Evie worked in advertising and was a book buyer at the American Folk Art Museum. She earned a B.A. from Yale University where she majored in English.

Preschool Advisors

Susan Alpert
School Advisor

Susan advises parents with younger children applying to preschools, kindergarten and special needs programs. An early childhood development expert, Susan was the director of Central Synagogue May Family Nursery School for eighteen years and also served as the director of Columbus Preschool and Gym.

Susan began her career as a teacher and taught at the Stephen Gaynor School and the 92nd Street Y. She has served on the board of NY chapter of NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children) and ECRJ (Early Childhood Educators of Reform Judaism). She received B.S. from Michigan State University and two masters degrees from Hunter College, one in the field of Multiple Handicaps and the second in Educational Administration/Supervision.

Anne Burns
School Advisor

Anne advises parents with younger children applying to preschools and conducts, manages and oversees our Preschool Workshops series. A leading educator and expert in the independent school world, Anne most recently served for ten years as the Director of Lower School at Hackley School in Tarrytown, New York before joining the Parents League.  

Anne began her career as a teacher first at Friends’ Central School in Philadelphia, PA, and then at The Brearley School. She has held several school leadership positions throughout her career including Head of Lower School and Assistant Head of School at The Brearley School, Acting Head of School at The School of Columbia University, and Executive Director and Head of School, Harlem Day Charter School. She has served on numerous boards of schools and
 foundations, and was an evaluator for NAIS and NYSAIS.

Anne earned a B.A. in French language and literature from Colgate University and a Masters in elementary education from Lesley College/Shady Hill School.

Ronnie Jankoff
School Advisor

Ronnie advises parents applying to preschool and kindergarten, and leads preschool workshops. An independent school admissions expert, she recently joined the Parents League school advisory team bringing twenty-four years experience from her job as the Director of Admissions at The Allen-Stevenson School.  

Prior to working at Allen-Stevenson, Ronnie taught in independent schools at both the preschool and elementary level. She has served on the ISAAGNY (Independent School Admissions Association of Greater New York) Board in numerous capacities, including co-chair. Ronnie is also one of the founding members of AISAP (Association of Independent School Admissions Professionals). Ronnie received a B.S. from Mills College and a B.S. and an M.S. Ed. from Boston University.

Liza Oneglia
School Advisor

Liza advises parents applying to preschool and kindergarten, leads preschool workshops and researches programs for our publications. She is the co-creator and co-leader of the workshop: Demystifying Twos Programs. An advisor since 2011, Liza served on the board of the Parents League from 2013-2017.

Liza previously taught early childhood education at the Episcopal School and Grace Church School. She earned a B.A. in Art History from Kenyon College in 1999 and an M.S. Ed in Early Childhood and Elementary Education from Bank Street College of Education.

Elaine Perlman
Preschool Advisor

Elaine leads our preschool workshops at the Parents League. She is the author and illustrator of Be the Parent You Wish You Had. Elaine has taught every grade except first and twelfth in New York City and in Budapest, Hungary and served as teacher, Dean and Director of Admissions at Columbia Grammar and Preparatory School.

Currently, Elaine is the Director of the Peace Corps Fellows Program at Teachers College, Columbia University and teaches a middle school class at the Harlem Educational Activities Fund. Elaine received a B.A. from Wesleyan University and her M.A. in Curriculum and Teaching from Teachers College, Columbia University. In addition, she has a degree in School Administration from Shippensburg State University.  

Fredi Pomerance
School Advisor

Fredi advises parents applying to preschools and kindergarten and leads preschool workshops. She has been a school advisor for 25 years. In addition to her Parents League experience, she held positions both in the classroom, administration and admissions at The Town School, The Allen-Stevenson School, Winston Preparatory School and The Brearley School.

She also served as Coordinator of Secondary School Placement at Prep For Prep. Fredi has a B.S. degree from Cornell University with a major in Child Development and an M.Ed degree from New York University.

Allison Trief-Sheller
Preschool Advisor & Editor

Allison advises parents applying to preschools, edits our Guide to New York City Preschools and Let’s Play, researches early childhood programs and manages the member schools database. She is the resident expert on preschool alternative and toddler programs. When she relocated to New York City in 2006, Allison discovered Parents League of New York where our advisors helped guide her through the maze of school options in the city. So grateful for their help, Allison began volunteering at Parents League and soon after joined our staff.

Prior to Parents League, Allison taught preschool at Tauber Academy in Aventura, Florida.  Allison graduated with a B.S. from the University of Hartford where she double-majored in Early Childhood Education and Human Resources.

Brooklyn School Advisor

Ann Spagnola
Downtown and Brooklyn School Advisor, Associate Director of School Advisory Services

Ann is our resident expert on Brooklyn and downtown schools. She advises parents of children of all ages applying to schools and leads preschool admissions workshops, as well as kindergarten admissions and financial aid workshops. Ann has visited nearly every independent school program in Brooklyn and downtown Manhattan and has served as Parents League Downtown and Brooklyn school advisor since 2015. As Associate Director of School Advisory Services, she oversees and manages our school advisory team.

Prior to joining the Parents League, Ann spent her career at The Brearley School as a kindergarten teacher and kindergarten admissions evaluator. Ann was also a supervisor of associate teachers at Brearley, serving as a mentor to new teachers. Ann received a B.A. from Hampshire College and an M.S. Ed. from Bank Street College of Education.

Boarding School Advisor

Laura Mazzaro
Boarding School and Special Needs School Advisor, Membership Services

Laura advises middle and high school families applying to boarding school, and assists families who are applying to special needs schools and supportive mainstream schools. She facilitates our special needs workshop, a support group for families with children with special needs.

After a fifteen-year career in television production, Laura arrived at the Parents League as a volunteer on our Review staff in 2011 and subsequently trained to be a school advisor. In addition to her advisory role, Laura welcomes members to the Parents League office, manages our phones, calendars and new member inquiries and applications, both for families and schools. Laura received a B.S. degree in broadcast journalism from Boston University.

Special Needs Advisor

Chantal Aflalo
Special Needs School Advisor

Chantal offers families advice and guidance with their school search for special needs schools and supportive mainstream preschools, ongoing and boarding schools.  She leads and facilitates our special needs workshop, a support group for families with children with special needs.

An independent special needs advisor since 2005, Chantal has developed a vast information network that enables families to navigate the special education process. Chantal received a B.A. from Marymount Manhattan College and an M.B.A. from the Stern School of Business at NYU.

Summer Camp Advisor

Margaret Tao
Summer/Camp Advisor

Margaret is our summer expert advising families on summer activities and day and sleep-away camps for children of all ages. A member of the Parents League board since 2005, Margaret served as its President from 2013-15. Margaret is a journalist, specializing in the Asian art field and is currently the Executive Director of Asia Week New York. Margaret received a B.A. from Wellesley College.

Become a Member

School Fair

Membership for Schools

If you represent an independent or private school click here to learn how to apply for School Membership, or call us at 212-737-7385. Annual membership dues are based on the total enrollment of the school.

  • Annual School Fairs
  • Panel Presentations for Prospective Parents
  • Member School Directory and Publications
  • Online Member School Directory
  • Advisory Services
  • Grade Openings
  • Workshops and Forums
  • Spring Reception

More Information about Memberships for Schools

Family Membership

Take advantage of our many benefits including school admissions advice, events and publications.

Become a member now!

  • School Advisory Appointments and Workshops
  • Lectures, Panels and Events on Parenting and Education
  • Parents League Publications
  • Online School Directory
  • Camp Advice and Information
  • Office Bulletin Board and Tutoring File

More Information about Family Memberships

Financial Aid Memberships available.

Admissions Events

Financial Aid for Private School NYC
Private and Independent School Financial Aid Experts
Trevor Day School
312 East 95th Street
New York, NY 10128
Wednesday, October 23, 2019
6:30pm - 7:45pm
Members: Register here
Non-Members: Register here
Upper West Side Preschool Fair
St. Hilda’s and St. Hugh’s School
619 West 114th Street
New York, NY 10025
Thursday, November 7, 2019
4:00pm - 6:00pm
Members: Please call the Parents League office at 212-737-7385 to register.
Non-Members: Register here


Finding the right school for your child can be a daunting experience, and if you need help, support is available. Regardless of where you live in the country, you will likely find people to assist you.

Winifred Mabley, Director of Lower School Admission at The Brearley School sits down with Executive Director, Gina Malin to discuss school tours and parent interviews:

  • what happens on the school tour
  • what to expect at the interview
  • how to talk about your child
  • what to wear