News Archive

College Counseling Update
Posted 07/25/2017 08:12AM

Meet the College Counseling Staff

Joseph RungeWe are pleased to welcome Joseph A. Runge as Director of College Counseling at Carrollwood Day School. Building on his 20 plus years of experience in college admissions and in college counseling, Joe will bring a perspective to CDS’s college counseling program that is both deep and broad.

Upper School Head, Sara Rubinstein, was involved in the decision to hire Joe Runge and says, “As I join the Carrollwood team and work to make sure we continue to evolve into the top choice in our region for a meaningful, caring, and authentically preparatory education, I am thrilled to have such a talented and knowledgeable partner in Joe Runge as Director of College Counseling. From our collaboration this summer, I know he will ensure that our families and students have the knowledge and support they need to define and achieve their college ambitions.”

Joe’s first job in education was teaching 7th and 8th graders for two years as part of an international volunteer program in Kathmandu, Nepal. Joe was also a Regional Director of Undergraduate Admission for Villanova University for five years prior to beginning his long and distinguished career in secondary school college counseling. He has served as Director of College Counseling at St. Margaret's Episcopal School in San Juan Capistrano, CA, Cincinnati Country Day School, and Out-of-Door Academy in Sarasota, FL. Most recently Joe led the college counseling program at King Low Heywood Thomas School in Stamford, CT.

What attracted Joe to the position at CDS: “I was initially attracted to the personnel at CDS. Everyone I was introduced to, met, or had a conversation with was inordinately welcoming and friendly. I could immediately sense there was a high value placed on community, both with faculty/staff, as well as with parents and students. The students with whom I interviewed were bright, engaging, humorous, and inquisitive. I also sensed an opportunity to collaboratively reimagine the college counseling program and build upon what has already been established. I very much look forward to becoming part of the permanent fabric of such an outstanding young school.”

While leading college counseling programs in independent schools, Joe has assumed additional responsibilities, including: Assistant Principal, Academic Dean, Director of Financial Aid, and XC/track and field coach. During his tenure at ODA, Joe was interviewed on the Fox 13 morning show in Tampa for a series on current trends in college counseling and admission. Joe has also kept busy completing a bucket list of epic achievements. He has competed in the San Diego Marathon and the Masters US National Championships in the 200 and 400-meter events, run with the bulls in Pamplona, Spain, and climbed to 22,000 feet on Mt. Everest!

Joe is a graduate of Villanova University where he ran for the varsity track team. Additionally, he holds a master’s from Miami University in Sports Psychology. Joe and his wife, Janie, have two sons…Peter, a rising senior at Ringling College of Art and Design, and Joey, who will be a freshman at the University of San Diego this fall.

Since his arrival at the beginning of July, Joe has been working with Sara Rubinstein, head of the upper school, to amp up the college counseling program to provide the best higher education opportunities to our students. Dawn Bickoff and Ashley Jackson have played integral roles in the development of the successful college counseling process at CDS and will expand their responsibilities this year.

  • Dawn Bickoff has been appointed the Senior Associate Director of College Counseling and
  • Ashley Jackson will be the Associate Director of College Counseling.

Dawn BickoffDawn Bickoff has been working in the field of education for most of her life. In fact, she has been a member of the faculty at CDS for a quarter century! She has held key positions in the CDS College Counseling office for the past eight years and serves on the Advisory Board of Florida Southern College. She has guided close to 300 CDS alumni with their decision of where they will attend college and what studies they will pursue. 100% of those students were accepted at a four-year college or university and many earned substantial scholarships.

Dawn earned her B.A. in Psychology and B.S. in Secondary Education (Psychology and Biology) at Southern Illinois University, and her M.S. in Human Resource Management and Development from Chapman University. Her adult children are both alumni of CDS and IB Diploma recipients. Being able to view the college process and the IB Programme as a counselor, teacher, and parent provides her with a unique perspective on the student journey.

Ashley JacksonAshley Jackson earned her Bachelor of Arts in Communications with Honors from Wake Forest University. Originally from North Carolina, she moved to Tampa with her husband, Danny, and three boys in 2006. Luke (‘18), Joshua (‘20), and Justin (‘22) are all CDS “lifers.” Ashley has worked in college counseling at Carrollwood Day School for the past seven years. During this time, she has held various roles in the department and has substantial experience working with students on college selection, Naviance, and the college admissions process.

Please feel free to connect with Mr. Runge any time before the start of school as he is currently available and working! College Counseling has divided the Class of 2018 among Mr. Runge, Mrs. Bickoff, and Mrs. Jackson and will be releasing those assignments in the very near future under a separate communique to each family. Moving forward, the college counseling office will be working from a four-year developmental model where each student is assigned a college counselor during their freshman year at Carrollwood Day School. College Counseling will kick off the year with a two-part College Boot Camp for seniors during their orientation! Once school begins, please keep your attention focused on Thursday Folder as we announce new programs for students and parents including:

  • junior year college counseling seminars (designed to help students complete the vast majority of their application content before the end of their junior academic year)
  • grade level appropriate college counseling coffees for parents
  • informative college admissions panels for students, to name just a few!
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