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 embodies 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 College 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 as well as deficits in executive functioning, processing, and attention.

Carolyn, along with her husband, lives outside of Boston and is the mother to two daughters. 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

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