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Characterized by its curiosity and intellectual enthusiasm for all things college, its deep appreciation of students and families, and its keen sense of organization, Seattle Academy College Advising also has a unique structure that supports students especially well.

Its six members include five full-time college counselors dedicated exclusively to college advising and without other duties on campus. As 12th Grade Coordinator, College Advising’s other valued member is generally responsible for the 12th grade class as a whole.

If you have questions about our specific timeline or services, please visit College Advising.

****College Advising Grade Level Communication is archived on the School Announcements Board via the Families Portal for access anytime across any device.


 College Advising Team

Melanie Reed

Born in Marysville, Washington, Melanie has worked in college admission or college counseling her entire career. After joining the University of Puget Sound (her alma mater) Office of Admission in 1996, Melanie served as Director before coming to Seattle Academy in 2007 as Director of College Advising. After arriving at Seattle Academy, she earned her MA from Middlebury College’s Bread Loaf School of English and over the years grew Seattle Academy’s College Advising program to its current team of six. A national leader in college admission who has served on boards and helped train those new to the work, Melanie most enjoys making accessible (and even fun!) a complex topic for Seattle Academy families.

Mike Walden

Mike joined the team at Seattle Academy in 2020 as an Associate Director of College Advising. He is originally from Oak Park, IL and earned his BA in English Literature and Creative Writing from Colgate University and his MBA from Loyola Marymount University. He brings eight years of experience in college admissions to SAAS from his time at Loyola Marymount University and Pomona College. In addition to helping students through the college process at SAAS, you might also interact with Mike in athletics, where he coaches track and field. When not at SAAS you can find Mike deep in a book, playing video games, and painting beautiful masterpieces.

Dave Thomas

Dave joined Seattle Academy in 2015 as an Associate Director of College Advising. He is a Seattle transplant, having made his way to Washington via Connecticut, New York, South Carolina, and Nebraska. After earning a BA from Colgate University and an MEd from the University of South Carolina, he spent six years in the admission offices at Marymount Manhattan College and Wesleyan University. He then made the switch to College Advising with a year at the Brownell-Talbot School before starting at Seattle Academy, finally fulfilling a long-time promise that he'd join this community when he was first introduced to SAAS as the admissions representative for WA at both MMC and Wesleyan. He loves reading, hiking, kayaking, spoiling his two cats, and traveling with his husband.

Stacie Cone

Stacie Cone joined Seattle Academy in 2005, after a decade in social work as a case manager for Puget Sound Residential Services and community work with literary organizations Seattle Arts and Lectures and Northwest Bookfest. Stacie earned a BA from The Evergreen State College in 1993. She is a 12th grade coordinator and history teacher and enjoys working with seniors in the college advising, trips, and senior project programs. In her free time, Stacie turns her backyard into a farm.

Derek Rogers

Derek grew up in Yakima, WA and came to Seattle in 2014 after spending over 10 years living in Southern California. He currently serves as the Associate Director of College Advising at SAAS. He earned a B.S. in Business Administration and an M.A. in Strategic Communication and has worked in both Washington and California. Derek worked in college admissions for five years at California Lutheran University and served as the Director of College Counseling at Rainier Scholars for eight years before joining the team at SAAS in 2022. He has extensive experience in application review, financial aid, supporting first-generation/low-income students and their families in the admissions process as well as collaborating with college counselors across the city of Seattle. He enjoys playing soccer, learning about cities, and graphic design.

Matt Ogawa

Born and raised in a small farming town in Eastern Oregon, Matt joins the Seattle Academy community as an Associate Director for College Advising. With a BA in English and an MS in Educational Policy, Matt brings over 20 years of experience in college admission and college counseling across diverse educational settings, including Kamehameha Schools, UC Berkeley, Oregon State University, Oregon Health and Science University, and Portland Community College. His extensive involvement in the field is evidenced by his roles on various boards and committees, such as a National Board Member for the College Board's Counseling and Admission Assembly Council, co-chair positions focusing on diversity, equity, inclusion, and Asian American, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, and Multiracial issues for the National Association of College Admission Counseling, and Past President for the Pacific Northwest Association of College Admission Counseling. He recently relocated to the region after living in Honolulu, Hawaii, and is excited to explore the Seattle area!

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