Meet the USPA Academic Team

Director of Student Operations


Liam Lavery began working professionally as a musician at the age of 13 and toured nationally and internationally with professional orchestras and choirs. This unique experience has given Liam the understanding of the difficulties and challenges of balancing professional and academic pursuits. He was the Young Composer of the Year in Northern Ireland and is the recipient of Lilian Bayliss Award, presented by Judi Dench.

Liam worked in London’s West End and on national tours as a performer, composer, and Musical Director. He recorded vocals at Abbey Road Studios and Universal Music UK. He then moved into education and worked with young performers balancing professional pursuits with their studies. He moved to Spain to take up the position of Director of Creative Arts at a private British school where he mentored profesional child performers in the fields of ballet, music and musical theatre. From there he became Director of Creative Arts and Director of Digital Marketing and Events at an exclusive private school in Abu Dhabi with a focus on innovative learning technologies, working with members of the ruling Royal family and other officials, diplomats and VIPs.

Liam loves the Spanish language and culture, ‘sobremesas’ with friends, spending time in the local countryside and mountains, walking with his dog Elphie, music, reading, and obstacle course racing.

Director of College Counseling

New Hampshire

A graduate of Westtown Friends School, Brennan E. Barnard earned a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Spanish from Franklin & Marshall College and a master’s degree in Higher Education and Student Affairs Administration from The University of Vermont.  Brennan has worked as teacher, coach, admission officer, and student affairs administrator at a number of independent high schools and colleges, including the Westtown School, the Northfield Mount Hermon School, the Hyde School, Franklin & Marshall College, and the University of Vermont.  In New Hampshire, he has served as a college counselor for the St. Paul’s School Advanced Studies Program and the Royal Thai Scholars program at Brewster Academy and as an independent consultant through Parker Academy/Tutoring & Instructional Service.  He is also a Senior Fellow at the Global Studies Foundation and off-site college counselor for The Monteverde Friends School in Costa Rica.

Brennan is the author of a column in Concord, New Hampshire’s Sunday Monitor that helps parents and students navigate the sometimes confusing world of applying to college.  In addition, he has been published multiple times in the New York Times and Washington Post.  He not only writes about college admission, but also firefighting, mindfulness, and other topics.  A three-year, elected member of the College Board’s New England Regional Council, Brennan is also a member of The Lakes Region Independent School Counselor Association, The Association of College Counselors in Independent Schools and the National (NACAC) and New England (NEACAC) Associations of College Admission Counselors.  He has presented on College Recommendation Writing, Athletic Recruiting in College Admission, Discipline Reporting in College Admission, and Spirituality in the Admission Process.  Brennan has attended the Harvard Institute on College Admission, the PACAC and NEACAC Summer Counselors Institute as well as multiple other annual professional conferences.  He regularly visits colleges throughout the United States and abroad.  This father of two lives in Hopkinton, New Hampshire where he is also a volunteer firefighter.

Learning Coach


Kaitlyn McElroy brings experience in coaching, psychology, and as a Team USA athlete to her role as a Learning Coach at USPA.

She grew up in Western Massachusetts and moved to Maine in high school to pursue her athletic dreams in Nordic skiing. After sustaining a career ending injury while skiing for Bates College, Lewiston ME, she switched to the sport of Sprint Kayaking. Shortly after moving to Oklahoma City, OK to train, she moved up the ranks of the US National Team earning a total of five world cup medals and is the reigning US national champion.

At Bates College she studied Biology, Psychology and Biomathematics. At Oklahoma City University Kaitlyn completed a second undergraduate degree in Behavioral Studies and is currently working on her doctorate there in Clinical Psychology. After graduating, she spent time working for GE Oil & Gas, helping them implement their global health and wellness initiative. She was responsible for incorporating mindfulness and resilience training into the initiative.

Kaitlyn’s true passion is to practice a person-centered approach as a coach, a psychologist and as a teammate to help people fulfill their potential.