Who We Are:
Erika Dietz founded Guru Academic Advising because she believes strongly in the power of higher education, and she wants to see students end up at schools where they will grow and thrive. Erika went to Claremont McKenna College, working in admissions, and then pursued a Master of Education through Claremont Graduate University. She spent five years working as an English Language Arts teacher, first in Los Angeles then in Alexandria, Virginia. In her time as a teacher she helped to guide her own ambitious students through the hurdles and challenges of getting into competitive schools where they would be successful and happy. In 2013, she relocated to the north Dallas area where she founded Guru Academic Advising. Passionate about the power of not only higher education, but finding the right source of higher education, Erika is excited to help you and your family. Erika is also an Associate Member of the IECA, a selective professional organization for college counselors.
Sarah Colliflower, IEC, College Counselor -- Highland Village and Plano Areas
Sarah graduated from The University of Texas at Dallas with a degree in Psychology and a minor in Neuroscience, and with Masters of Science in Counseling with a focus on School Counseling, from Southern Methodist University. Prior to joining the Guru team, Sarah worked as an academic coach where she taught executive function skills to children and adolescents with learning differences. At her three years at Guru, she has successfully counseled more than seventy students in one on one college planning sessions resulting in 98% of students receiving admission into one of their top three colleges. Sarah specializes in working with juniors and seniors in the college planning process. She is passionate about celebrating the unique strengths of each student and finding the academic path that is most beneficial for the individual. She believes academic success is invaluable and strives to ignite a love of learning and drive for achievement in each student she meets.
Angie Munday, IEC, College Counselor -- Flower Mound Area
Angie Munday is delighted to be a part of the Guru Academic Advising team. She received her Bachelors degree in Restaurant, Hotel, and Institutional Management from Texas Tech University and her Certification in College Counseling from University of California, San Diego in 2016. Once she got out of the corporate world and entered into the education field, Angie realized that her true passion is assisting high school students with their college planning journey. Working over the past four years as an academic advisor for a local private school, Angie has had the privilege of helping many students reach their academic potential and educational goals. Because this process is so individualized, she works closely with each student to help them discover their strengths, passions, and goals which ultimately leads to finding the best college fit, happiness, and success. Angie is based in Flower Mound and is excited to work with you and your family!
After spending several years in management positions in the telecommunications industry, Toni realized that her focus needed a new direction. As doors opened, she walked into opportunities in the field of education. Toni quickly learned that her passion was guiding students through all avenues of their life helping them prepare for the next season of their life. Toni has her BBA from the University of North Texas and majored in strategic planning. Her skills were a perfect match for coaching students while empowering them to take direction of their own life’s path and pursue their future dreams. As a certified Master Life Coach, Toni has worked several years mentoring students, including student-athletes, pre-med candidates, and Ivy-bound college applicants.
Ingrid Schwendinger, IEC -- Flower Mound, Highland Village, Coppell and Surrounding Areas
Ingrid Schwendinger graduated from Emory University's Goizeuta Business School with a degree in business and competed as a NCAA varsity athlete during her time in college. Upon graduation, she spent 10 years in the corporate arena working for Deloitte Consulting across a variety of industries. Since leaving the corporate world, Ingrid has had the opportunity to work with kids of all ages as a youth track coach, serving as president of a youth swim team, and substitute teaching for Lewisville ISD. Working with students to set them on a path to personal growth and development with the right college fit inspires Ingrid, and she enjoys guiding students on this journey. Ingrid is currently pursuing her Certification in College Counseling from the University of California, San Diego. She resides in Flower Mound and is excited to work with your college bound student and family to help achieve their academic goals.
Linda Kern, IEC -- Plano, Frisco, McKinney, Prosper, and surrounding areas
Linda loves helping teens and parents understand the college planning process and works hand-in-hand with students to help them identify colleges that represent a good fit. She is an Associate Member of the Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA), and serves as Co-Editor of the ABCs of College Planning, which is a publication of the New Jersey Association of College Admissions Counselors. She is also a trained Executive Function coach who assists students with skills such as time management, organization and task initiation. Linda discovered her passion for working with students years ago when family and friends tapped her for help with college essays. She loved learning about what made students tick and helping them develop compelling applications. From there, she began conducting alumni interviews for her alma mater, Cornell University. Gradually, she transitioned from her career practicing law to college counseling. She went on to earn her Certification in College Counseling from the University of California-San Diego and she now offers a full range of college planning services. Linda regularly attends college information sessions and professional development events so that she can bring you up-to-date information and identify admissions trends. She also works with students applying to private high schools and graduate schools. Linda is a graduate of Cornell University’s School of Industrial Relations and New York University School of Law. Whether you need help with your essays, advice about the admissions process, or a professional who can help keep your child on track during the often stressful teen years, Linda can help your child succeed and build the maturity and skills they need to navigate their future.
Jill Miller Personius, College Counselor and Academic Success Specialist
Jill graduated from Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois with a degree in the social sciences. As a certified life coach, she has been working since 2008 with people of all ages to encourage them and guide them through transitions. Jill's passion for education and for working with students makes her a wonderful asset to the Guru team. Her corporate background as a change manager for small businesses gives her a reliable set of skills to help students discover their strengths and offer them organizational tools and communication skills that will help them for years to come. At Guru, Jill works with middle years students (6th - 8th grade) on strength finding, interest activation, and executive functioning skills that prepare students to thrive in their high school journeys. Jill lives in Denton with her two daughters.
Melinda Brown, Homeschool College Counseling Specialist
Melinda graduated from Georgia Institute of Technology with a with a Master of Science in Information and Computer Science after studying at Baylor University for her undergraduate degree. After working in the corporate world for many years as a DataBase Administrator and Systems Architect, she and her husband took on the adventure of homeschooling their daughter. Homeschooling from 1st thru 12th grades, Melinda wore the hats of teacher, counselor, tutor, mentor, science fair coach, administrator, records keeper, and overall master planner. During her daughter's high school years, Melinda found Guru Academic Advising through seminars and Boot Camps. Recognizing that Erika had the passion and discernment to help in the ever-evolving college application process, Melinda and her family partnered with Guru Academic Advising. Happily, the college application process ended with their daughter receiving admission to her top four colleges, each awarding her generous scholarships totaling over $460,000. Now that the joy of homeschooling her daughter has ended, Melinda wants to bring that sense of relief (and not stress!) to other homeschool families. Understanding the many differences among homeschoolers and the special role they play during high school years, Melinda is eager to come alongside other homeschoolers and help them navigate the path to college with their students as well!