team

Rachel A. Winston, Ph.D.
CEO, Director of College Counseling
Dr. Rachel Winston is a trusted expert in global college admissions counseling with more than three decades of experience in higher education. Living in Europe as a child and studying in China for graduate school, for the past few decades she has become one of the leading cross cultural consultants with students primarily from the U.S., China, Korea, and Mexico. Dr. Winston’s educational leadership as an elected state leader, elected Academic Senate President, university Director of Mathematics, Director of the Online Math Community, and as the owner of Lizard Education College Counseling in California, offers students and parents a lifetime of writing, curriculum development, and leadership experience. She trained counselors around the world teaching in the UCLA College Counseling Certificate Program. She has served as a college math and/or engineering professor at Chapman, Embry Riddle, Cal State Fullerton, and a half dozen community colleges. She is grounded in all aspects of higher education. Winning Full Time Faculty Member of the Year, her specialties are in curriculum development, educational technology, STEM subjects, and academic writing.
Starting college at thirteen and winning the National High School Senior of the Year from the American Legion, she has earned numerous undergraduate and graduate degrees. She has attended more than a dozen universities including Harvard undergrad and graduate school, Syracuse, USC, UCLA, UCI, Pepperdine, Claremont Graduate University, Maryland, Gallaudet, CSUF, Chapman, and Brandman. Dr. Winston holds a Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin – Hook ’em Horns!!! She recently completed her M.S. in publishing from The George Washington University and started her next graduate program at New York University. Her education is in chemistry, mathematics, computer science, engineering, psychology, higher education administration, and college counseling. She has taught mathematics on television, live interactive satellite, telecourses, online, and in lecture halls. In the community she served on the Board of Directors of the Newport Chamber of Commerce, Leadership Tomorrow, and the Faculty Association of California Community Colleges, and was the Education Committee Director of the Costa Mesa Chamber of Commerce. She was also the Regional Coordinator for the Mathematical Association of America. Prior to coming to California she worked on Capitol Hill, the White House, and the U.S. Department of Labor. She won the 2012 McFarland Literary Achievement Award and has spoken at over a hundred local and national meetings and conferences. She was raised in D.C. and Geneva, Switzerland and has traveled to over a hundred countries. Dr. Winston published her first math book in the 80s and intends to spend the rest of her life serving and inspiring students to achieve their college and career goals.
Michelle C. Tahan
College Admissions and Portfolio Director

Design,Marketing, SEO Management
The George Washington University - M.S. Publishing
New York University - M.S. (in progress)
University of California, Santa Barbara – B.A. Communications 

Michelle Tahan has been with Lizard for seven years in varying capacities. Currently finishing graduate school in College Counseling Certificate Programs at UCLA and UCI, Michelle uses her creative and computer design talent to work with students on their portfolios for film, graphic design, photography, art, theater, and music. She assists with essay development and editing as well as scholarship searches and college planning research for students and parents. Her skills as a writer and artist empowers and supports students through SlideRoom accounts and assists Lizard with image and brand development. Through workshops and speaking engagements, she builds relationships with our community of students and parents.

Robert A. Helmer
Public Relations Director

Road Trip Manager/Publishing Coordinator
Robert@mylizard.org
Travel Arrangements, Hotels, Route Planning; Driver Relationship
Book/Article/Material Distribution
University of California, Riverside – Sociology Major

Robert A. Helmer has been with Lizard for nineteen years. After six years in the Marine Corps during the Vietnam War, work at the Rand Corporation, and twenty years of experience in computer information processing, he joined Lizard where he has become a valued member of the team. Working with people is his forte, particularly on student road trips to visit colleges. He ensures that all travel flows smoothly and that students have what they need. He also manages the production and distribution of Lizard’s materials at college planning workshops and books from online orders.

Stephanie Tahan
Production/Design EditorPermissions Manager

Permissions Manager 

Stephanie Tahan's visionary artistic skills combined with her passionate pursuit of graphic arts makes her Lizard Publishing's brain trust of layout and design. She coordinates all permissions and interactions with college liaisons and communicates with a wide variety of people in the college community. A graduate of UCSB in Global Studies, her commitment to multicultural perspectives and international education has made her a valued asset to our international students and their specialized visa requirements. When Stephanie joined Lizard, she took charge of book layout/design and newsletter/magazine production. Her primary duties include the management of manuscript acquisition, editing, production, and design in hard copy and digital formats. Her artistic vision fuels, ideas for Lizard Publishing.

Joe Klunder
International Program Liaison
College Outreach Officer

Joe Klunder has worked alongside the Lizard team for the past year and has coordinated our speaking events in China. His work in college outreach has led him to build relationships with hundreds of schools and programs in both popular and lesser known countries. Joe has five years of international education, counseling, and teaching experience in South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Libya, and China, as well as fifteen years in international service and mentorship.
Joe has a broad liberal arts background from Brown University. He has completed certificates in language teaching and business administration. Currently, he is completing the College Counseling Certificate from University of California- Irvine, and is learning Mandarin to communicate effectively in an international market. He has attended several conferences and workshops around the world. He actively networks with both expert researchers and practitioners in a breadth of academic fields. His goal is to make a lasting social difference on the international level and enjoy both the experiences and friendships built along the way.