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EMA Rising Star Award - Director of Admissions and Financial Aid Adam Choice

It’s been nearly twenty years, and Adam Choice still remembers the feeling of applying to St. George’s School, an independent boarding and day school in Middletown, Rhode Island. A local Black student from Newport who excelled in athletics, Adam applied and was accepted, thriving academically and athletically in his four years at St. George’s. It’s now 2022, and Adam’s journey in independent schools  has come full circle. As the Director of Admissions and Financial Aid at The Bush School, Adam has worked tirelessly to be a strong and active voice in the independent school networks, creating equal access for prospective students and families. 

“As I reflected as a young admissions professional on what my own independent school application process was like, I realized how important it is for students and families from underrepresented and underserved communities to have an advocate in the admissions process,” Adam said. 
 
On Thursday, September 15 at the Enrollment Management Association (EMA) Annual Conference in Orlando, Florida, Adam was awarded the Rising Young Star Award for his continued efforts and work in the field of education and admissions. EMA supports more than 1,300 independent schools across the globe, providing unparalleled leadership and service to meet the enrollment needs of schools, students, and families.
 
“Adam Choice is the embodiment of a rising star,” Assistant Head of School for Community Engagement Polly Fredlund said. “He is an alum of St. George's and Colby College, and has used his own experiences as a student to positively impact each of the schools where he has worked, building strong admissions programs, increasing access, fostering inclusive communities, and ensuring all students are valued, seen, and heard.”
 
Developed by the Admission Leadership Council (ALC) a subcommittee of EMA’s Board of Trustees, the Rising Star Award honors educators with ten years or less experience who have distinguished themselves and/or their schools in the field of enrollment management. Adam was one of just two individuals who was honored, and one of four to receive an award at the conference. 
 
“Since joining the Admissions Office in 2019, Director of Admissions and Financial Aid Adam has made an indelible impact on his colleagues and our community,” Head of School Percy L. Abram said. “He understands how to build community, incorporate families into the process, liaise with faculty and staff, and manage the admissions office with skill, kindness, and compassion. I am so glad that the greater independent school community of enrollment professionals recognized the talent and promise in Adam that we always knew was there.”
 
Prior to his work in the admission field, Adam, who is a 2010 graduate of Colby College in Waterville, Maine where he served as a captain of the men’s basketball program, earning All-American honors, started off as a history teacher at his alma mater, St. George’s School. He said he fortunately stumbled into the admissions field when his former boss and mentor Ryan Mulhern asked him to consider making the switch from the classroom to admission work. Since then, Adam has worked at Packer Collegiate Institute (Brooklyn, New York), and been at Bush since 2019, working closely with applicants applying to Upper School (9-12), leading K-12 admissions operations, and administering the financial aid program. 
 
Adam explained a big focus of his daily work is the commitment of carrying out the mission of Bush and allowing all students and families to fully experience all Bush has to offer without additional barriers. He views each opportunity and challenge he faces in his daily work through an equity lens, ensuring that the process is accessible for all families. 
 
“My personal experience applying to independent schools as a young student set a foundation for my work in admissions,” Adam said. “At Bush, we are committed to carrying out the vision set by our Head of School Percy L. Abram and the Board of Trustees to build a community that is diverse and mission-aligned. We work with populations of different backgrounds whether it be race/ethnicity, gender, religion, family structure, socioeconomic status, or neurodiversity, and we want to build a community that is representative of the diversity in our country.” 
 
Outside of Bush, Adam has kept himself engaged in the larger scope of admission work and honing his craft. He currently serves on the Puget Sound Independent Schools (PSIS) Steering Committee and co-chairs the Equity and Access Task Force. At Bush, he serves as a faculty advisor to the Black Student Union and engages with a cohort of students in his role as an Upper School advisor. He taught a Cascade this past spring along with Upper School English Teacher and Department Chair Dan Osar More than an Athlete: Sports and Social Justice.
 
“Adam is an altruistic leader, engaging with authenticity and care for others,” Polly said. “A life-long learner, Adam enrolled in the EMA Admissions Training Institute (ATI) in 2012 and Future Leaders (FL) in 2018. This commitment to professional development is a reflection of his curiosity, initiative, and drive to do his best. Adam has leveraged each of these experiences and a growing network of professionals to deepen his understanding of enrollment management and to further his impact on schools. He is not only committed to his daily work as an admissions professional, but also fully engages outside the office to positively impact the greater good.”
 
True to his demeanor, Adam has plans to continue to grow in his profession as he has plans to apply to graduate school to pursue a master’s degree in Educational Leadership.
 
“Education has proven to be my calling,” Adam said. “I’m very passionate about this work, and I hope to continue on the path of educational leadership that allows me to partner in work that aligns with my values of equity, inclusion, and growth.”
 
-by Mary Albl, Communications Manager 
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The Bush School is an independent, coeducational day school located in Seattle, WA enrolling 710 students in grades K–12. The mission of The Bush School is to spark in students of diverse backgrounds and talents a passion for learning, accomplishment, and contribution to their communities.

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