President's Message

Happy New Year!

It’s always seemed appropriate to me that the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, falls near the start of school each year. Indeed, for those of us who work in education, our “new year” has just begun and is, as usual, off to a running start.

NEACAC had a busy summer, running highly-successful ASSCI (Advanced Secondary School Counselors Institute), SI (Summer Institute), and Camp College programs.  We sponsored the New England “Reach Higher” Convening, offered an Executive Board Retreat and Leadership Development Institute for our Governing Board, unveiled our new website, and continued to provide a variety of member services.  We have fantastic leaders planning professional development programs, chairing committees, participating as delegates to the NACAC Assembly, and serving as officers of the Association.

In one area, we have let down a segment of our membership, and a group of students that a number of members serve. We scheduled NEACAC college fairs on the Jewish holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, two of the holiest observances on the Jewish calendar. When a member noticed these conflicts and contacted me, my heart sank. I immediately remembered that in the mid-1990s, when I worked in admissions, I had planned to recruit at a NEACAC fair – but the fair was on Yom Kippur. My Director suggested that I contact NEACAC and explain why I couldn’t attend, and I did. It was one of my first interactions with anyone “important” at NEACAC, and I remember being promised that NEACAC would never make this mistake again. That happened around 20 years ago, and over the years I’ve served as a willing “consultant” for NEACAC and NACAC on dates that could affect our Jewish members and students. Now, as the first NEACAC President from a Jewish day school, I am dismayed that the decision to have fairs on these dates happened on my watch. The reasons to choose the dates were good ones – host site availability, lack of “open dates” on school calendars during travel season, accessibility for large numbers of admissions officers and students to attend – and for these reasons we were not able to cancel or change our plans once we set the dates. When we checked, our gracious host colleges did not have other availability, and we already had over 125 colleges signed up to attend each of the fairs. So the best I can do is acknowledge what happened, continue to educate our professional community, find other inclusive ways to stick to our mission to serve counseling, admission, and enrollment professionals and all students, and sincerely apologize.

I do hope that you have a happy new (school) year, and that our paths will cross soon.

Sherri Geller
NEACAC President 2016-2017
Co-Director of College Counseling, Gann Academy, Waltham, MA

PS: If you are planning a program in the future, you may find a Jewish holiday calendar at  There are dozens of holidays; the ones most-important to avoid if you would like to have Jewish admissions officers or Jewish families attend are Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur in the fall, and the first two nights of Passover in the spring. All Jewish holidays start at sundown the night before the holiday.  Please also feel free to reach out to me at any time, at [email protected], if you have any questions about working with Jewish students.