About Us

A sensible strategy to successful college placement.

Breakaway Prep is a collective of the very best tutors and counselors who have spent thousands of hours with SATs, ACTs, subject tests, college essays, college lists: You name it, we’ve worked with it extensively.

We assess each student’s individual needs and then we apply our experience and skills to ensure that students have every resource we can provide to help them succeed.

“I just want to say THANK YOU for making it all possible!  What a relief for her – and by extension, for us! We really appreciate all of your help and guidance.”

Mom of Kent Place Student

Our Approach

  • If it is possible to be both laid back and incredibly serious – that’s us. We know what we are doing, and we have the success stories to back it up.
  • Our human approach to the college preparation and academic support processes is a breath of fresh air compared to traditional tutoring and SAT/ACT prep services.
  • Accessibility is what sets us apart. Here, besides their primary instruction, students can have access to small group workshops and other support systems whenever it fits their schedules.
  • Our staff and owners are hyperlocal. We know the schools, classes, teachers, and curriculum backwards and forwards. We’re in this together with your student.

A different philosophy built on the whole student

  • At Breakaway Prep, a sensible strategy to successful college placement begins before college is even in sight.
  • Breakaway Prep gives students the knowledge bank they need to take ownership of their high school years and their college search. Mitigating parental stress is a bonus.
  • We aren’t interested in feeding the college admissions beast that drives so many families to pay for whatever service someone is willing to offer. Our mission is to help families see their options clearly and make the best possible decisions about the entire college admissions process, for each individual student.

A Superior Approach to Test Preparation

one-on-one instruction

One on one instruction is the best way to prep a student

regular-assessment

Regular assessments help students work through exams and build endurance in real test conditions

test-materials

Real test materials are at the heart of any serious prep experience

prep-plans

Adaptable prep plans allow regular feedback and the opportunity to adjust plans accordingly

knowledge

Students acquire the knowledge they need to take ownership of their high school and college years.

Individual counseling and academic enrichment helps students advance with less stress and more direction

Leadership

From our administrators to our teachers, Breakaway Prep is deeply embedded in our communities. We know our local high schools inside and out, as well as many of the administrators and teachers who work with our client-students daily. 

Our legacy is the many families we work with whose children come through our doors one after the other, year after year. We’re always excited by who’s next. We love giving each sibling room to pursue their own sense of identity, and we are committed to helping them succeed academically as they experience high school and prepare for college. Our bonds with our families are strong.

Rick Michalak

Rick Michalak

SAT/ACT, Math

Rick is a graduate of Northwestern University where he later returned to earn an MBA. Rick spent years rising up the ranks at The Princeton Review, from Instructor to VP of Operations for North America. During that tenure, he traveled to offices around the country and has spoken with thousands of students, parents, and administrators about the nuances of the SAT and ACT. Over the past several years, he has watched his own three children navigate high school and graduate from college.

Amanda Robertson

Amanda Robertson

College Counseling; IECA Professional Member

Originally from Rhode Island, Amanda attended Middlebury College where she captained the women’s swim team. After a short stint teaching in the Washington, DC public schools, Amanda served as the Director of College Placement for an independent school in the DC suburbs and as Asst Director of Enrollment Management with the University of Maryland system, where she also earned a master’s in Higher Education. During that time, she was lucky enough to see lots of applications on both sides of the process. In 2006, Amanda emerged from the stacks of application folders and settled in NJ. She followed her underlying desire to work with students and began working on her own to help local families navigate the college admission process. She is a Professional Member member of IECA, and gets great pleasure building spreadsheets to track admissions data.

Meet Our Teachers

The staff at Breakaway Prep are not side hustling. We do this as our living. Our team members average 7.5 years with the company.

Indeed, unlike college prep companies or tutoring franchises, our instructors know and assist each other. Having worked together for years, we are aligned in that everyone is on the same page and that our students come first. This includes working with local educators who recognize that extra help can help their students succeed. 

Kate Balboni

Kate Balboni

College Counseling, HECA member
Richard Braden

Richard Braden

SAT/ACT, Math; Science

Anthony Danes

SAT/ACT, Math; Science
Justin Emanuel

Justin Emanuel

SAT/ACT, Language Arts
Katie Horan

Katie Horan

College Counseling, IECA Associate Member
Chao Huang

Chao Huang

SAT/ACT, Math; Montclair
Ayelet Miller

Ayelet Miller

SAT/ACT, Language Arts

Allie Mirjah

SAT/ACT, Language Arts
Matt Murray

Matt Murray

SAT/ACT, Math
Judy Otterman

Judy Otterman

SAT/ACT, Math
Jamie Perello

Jamie Perello

SAT/ACT, Math; Science
Nikhil Rao

Nikhil Rao

SAT/ACT, Language Arts
Gina Ruggiero

Gina Ruggiero

SAT/ACT, Math; Berkeley Heights
Josh Solomon

Josh Solomon

SAT/ACT, Math
Suzanne Sullivan

Suzanne Sullivan

SAT/ACT, Language Arts
Susan Tompson

Susan Tompson

SAT/ACT, Language Arts
Stephanie Wolfe

Stephanie Wolfe

SAT/ACT, Language Arts; IECA Associate Member; Morristown

Want to Work with Us?

We are continually looking to expand where our team can help students and parents. If you think you might be a good fit at Breakaway Prep, email your resume and a note to Rick Michalak.
Apply Now
“Max just loved you and you were such a huge help. He is my big worrier and you truly made him feel all is good!”
Madison High School mom

Schedule a Consultation