Our Leadership


Shireen Daniels

Shireen Daniels is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ Professional and College Planning Specialist.  Shireen assists families through financial planning for college and the financial aid process. Graduating Summa Cum Laude from Loyola University Chicago with a Bachelors of Business Administration, she was always fascinated with rising college costs and the financial decisions American families make. 

Lighthouse College Planning was started by her father, John Groleau, in 1986. Shireen started her own Lighthouse College Planning office in Chicago in 2011, and has since taken over the company.

She is a passionate public speaker and community advocate for financial literacy. Shireen resides in the Bucktown neighborhood of Chicago with her husband, son, and daughter. She enjoys running on the 606 trail, rather slowly, and supporting local restaurants.  Since she hasn’t met a pasta she doesn’t like, she devours those much faster.

About Our Team


Chloe Smith

Client Relationship Manager

Chloe does a little (or a lot) of everything. She manages the calendar, requests information from families, and keeps everyone on track – both inside and out of the office. Chloe has previously worked in personal finance and private equity; she loves being part of the college planning process because she personally worked with a college planner to find the perfect fit for her undergraduate university. Chloe has a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Hispanic Studies from the College of Saint Benedict/Saint John’s University and her MBA with a focus in Finance from Elmhurst University. In her free time Chloe likes to attend concerts, travel, and bake.


Our college planning counselors are excited to Work with you one-on-one to provide you with an absolutely top notch, personalized college planning service. Here are just a few of the things you can expect from one of our highly trained and experienced counselors as part of the Diamond Service.

  • Offer career and goal counseling, as well as academic counseling.
  • Assist you with researching and narrowing career options.
  • Help you with college/university selection and course selection.
  • Prepare you for college visits and meeting with academic advisers.
  • Help you draft personal essays and develop your resume.
  • Provide workshops on various college planning topics.
  • Prepare you for college entrance exams.

Our Counselors


Courtney Baumgarten

Courtney has worked as a high school counselor in the suburbs and Chicago Public Schools. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in both Psychology and Human Development & Family Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and her Master’s Degree in School Counseling from Loyola University Chicago. As a current high school counselor, she loves guiding students in their postsecondary planning process, especially helping them to create a good-fit college list that aligns with their needs, interests and goals. Having recently moved to the Wicker Park area with her husband, Courtney enjoys exploring her new neighborhood, reading, and attending workout classes with friends.

Jennifer Krdynski

Jennifer has worked as a social studies teacher in both Chicago Public Schools and in the suburbs. She earned her Bachelor's in History with teacher certification in Social Science from Eastern Illinois University and her Master's in School Counseling from Concordia University. Jen finds college and career selection one of the most exciting parts of the high school experience. Seeing students grow through their unique journey is one of Jen's favorite parts of the counseling process. In her free time, Jen enjoys spending time with her family, especially her husband and three daughters, drinking coffee, and traveling.


Chris Merle

Chris has a Bachelor's degree in English from St. Norbert College and a Master's Degree in School Counseling from Loyola University Chicago. He decided to become a school counselor after teaching middle school and realizing how much he enjoyed helping students discover their own strengths, skills, and interests. As a current high school counselor, he loves working with students as they plan their high school path and set their post-secondary goals. Seeing students maximize their potential and meet their goals is one of the most rewarding things he experiences professionally.
Chris also enjoys travelling with his wife and being active outdoors. He loves running, biking, and doing anything that allows him to feel the sun on his face.


Kathleen Mixan

Kathleen Mixan has been a part of the Lighthouse team since 2012 as a College/Athletic Counselor and currently serves as the Director of College Counseling. She has a Masters Degree in School Counseling and Educational Leadership. Kathleen also is the Director of Student Services at Mother McAuley Liberal Arts high school, where she oversees the College Counselor, three School Counselors, two Special Education Coordinators, and the School Social Worker. She enjoys helping students and student-athletes navigate their way through the college application process.


Carlos Nunez

Carlos is currently a High School Counselor on the south side of the city of Chicago with a Master's Degree in Education from DePaul University. As a 1st generation college student, he navigated the post high school process with limited guidance. Inspired, he's since dedicated over 20 years to provide access & opportunity to his students.  As a soccer coach & player, Carlos tackles situations by defining objectives, delegating tasks & pursuing courses of action to help determine the best outcome. He enjoys the rewarding experience of having students actualize their goals.


Brooke Nowak

Brooke has been a part of the Lighthouse Counseling team offering college, career and goal counseling since 2016. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Family Services at Eastern Illinois University and continued her education to receive a Master's in School and Community Counseling at Saint Xavier University. Brooke always envisioned being a high school teacher until her academic goals changed to focus more on helping students with college and career planning. She loves working to create an individualized plan for each student that focuses on their strengths and goals to find the perfect college fit. Chicago born and raised, currently living in California with her husband, two kids and dog, Brooke loves running, trips to Napa and exploring the West Coast.


Our Consultants

Jenelle Harcut

Service Center Consultant

Jenelle assists with all the nitty-gritty details of your college process. With 15 years of experience, she is the go-to person for anything on your ENGUS™ website and ePrep test preparation software. “It’s my job to keep your family up to date with important deadlines via monthly to-do’s, help with the FAFSA, guidance on CSS Profile financial aid forms, and more.”

[800] 525-0568 ext. 3

Michael Robison

Student Positioner
I started out working with college bound students with my own children. I learned first-hand what I didn't know about college acceptance. One problem was I did not have anyone to answer questions I had. I have been working with college bound families for over 20 years. I enjoy working with families and students in helping them find the right college both academically and culturally. When you find school that fits you increase the potential of graduating in 4 years as well being prepared for work or graduate school.
[800] 525-0568 ext. 106