Carolyn Nelson, M.Ed.

Chair, School Planning Practice

As Chair of the School Planning Practice at McMillan Education, Carolyn’s leadership of the firm’s team of school admission counselors is informed by her extensive experience as an admission professional in the independent day and boarding school world. Widely respected by colleagues throughout the field for her student-centered guidance and admission practices, Carolyn’s leadership is driven by McMillan Education’s school planning process’ developmental and best-fit grounding. In close collaboration with McMillan Education’s leadership team, Carolyn is responsible for designing a robust professional development curriculum for our school counseling team, as well as overseeing its daily operations and resources development. Carolyn is deeply committed to ensuring that the team remains ahead of changes in the dynamic field of independent school educational and admissions practices. Known for her combination of unrivaled professionalism and genuine personal warmth, Carolyn also continues to work directly with a small number of students from pre-kindergarten through the college undergraduate years. At the top of the learning specialist field, Carolyn works with students who have moderate to significant learning challenges and with all types of young learners looking for the best school match in the primary and elementary school years.

Carolyn comes to McMillan Education after a long tenure as Director of Admission at Landmark School in Beverly, Massachusetts, the internationally renowned school for children and adolescents with language-based learning disabilities. Her distinguished career as a learning specialist began after earning her bachelor’s degree in English Literature at the University of Connecticut. She taught English and remedial reading at Saugus High School in Saugus, Massachusetts before turning to a concentration in special education. Following the completion of her master’s degree in Special Education at Northeastern University, Carolyn returned to Saugus to teach special education at the elementary level. Carolyn’s gifts were quickly noticed as she moved to Special Education Coordinator at Bagnall Elementary School in the Pentucket Regional District of Massachusetts, where she taught, conducted educational assessments, developed IEPs, oversaw the provision of all aspects of special education services, and developed the first integrated preschool program in the district. She then moved into the director position of special education k-12 of the whole of the Ipswich School District of Massachusetts.

In addition to her work as a teacher, administrator, and admission professional, Carolyn has enjoyed sharing her expertise in learning differences through her work as an adjunct professor of special education in the graduate schools at Simmons University and Lesley University, where she taught educational assessment, identifying learning disabilities, and instruction and assessment methodologies for students with learning differences and disabilities. She has also been a co-author of an article on reading published in the New Mexico Journal of Reading.

Carolyn’s expertise lies in the areas of assessment and identification of learning disabilities and an in-depth understanding of neuropsychological evaluations and the application of their findings to educational interventions, programs, and settings. Her teaching and administrative experience inform her deep understanding of language-based and non-verbal learning disabilities, developmental disabilities, and deficits in executive functioning, processing, and attention.

Carolyn, along with her husband, lives outside of Boston and is the mother to two daughters and a grandmother. In her free time, Carolyn loves being in the outdoors. She is an avid hiker, kayaker, gardener and reader.

Read my article from the Boston Globe Magazine “How to find the right kindergarten for your child“

Where Carolyn comes from


Landmark School

Ipswich School District

Bagnall Elementary School

Saugus High School

Saugus Elementary

Simmons College

Lesley University


Director of Admissions, Director of Special Education, Special Education Administrator & Teacher, English Teacher, Adjunct Professor


Northeastern University

M.Ed., Special Education

University of Connecticut

B.A., English Literature

Carolyn's Insights

May has always been my favorite month… joyful family celebrations, opportunities to enjoy the out-of-doors, and the promise of summer to come. As an enthusiastic yet amateur gardener, May also signals planting...
We are excited to launch our new newsletter, where we update you on the dynamic admissions landscape, and invite you to explore the only directory providing thorough and unbiased boarding school data...
Every card or letter my mother ever sent me was signed the same way, “Hugs and kisses, Love Mama, A.B.N.” A.B.N. was my mother’s acronym for, “Always be nice”. It was so...
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