Owner/College PlannerAfter working with Class 101 founder Tom Pabin for her oldest daughter’s college planning, Karen Feamster appreciated the process and service so much that she wanted to provide it to her own community. She opened Class 101 Franklin in March 2014 and hasn’t slowed down since. It’s hard to keep up with this Kentucky Wildcat and CPA, who loves running, a good cup of coffee (with cream), volunteering with the Girl Scouts (she’s been involved for over 30 years), and of course, counseling high schoolers and their families to help them find their best-fit colleges. She’s served as PTO treasurer, PTO president, and IB Coordinator through the years, and as choir director for some of the youngest members of Franklin First United Methodist Church. Her favorite movie? “Remember the Titans”—which, of course, has a college tie, since it was filmed at Berry College in Rome, Georgia! “I love watching my students reach their goals and succeed,” says Karen. “From ACT score increases, to getting into colleges they didn’t think they’d get into, to scholarship money awards, it is such a joy to be part of their journey and see them mature and become these incredible adults.” Karen and her husband Mike live in Leiper’s Fork, and have two adult daughters and four adorable pups.
College PlannerWhen longtime friends Beth Koehler and Karen Feamster set out on college tour with their daughters and Class 101 founder Tom Pabin, who could have known that it would become the catalyst for the launch of the fifth Class 101 franchise in the nation? But they fell in love with the process, and now Beth has been a College Planner with Class 101 Franklin since its inception in 2014. The daughter of a former Associate Dean at Vanderbilt University’s Divinity School, Beth has a long connection with education. Over the years, her work has taken her from a collegiate setting at Vanderbilt University, to the opposite end of the spectrum as a teacher at both Bethlehem United Methodist Preschool, and at Calvary Young Children’s School. A former social worker with non-profit organization Miriam’s Promise, she’s also served as a Girl Scout leader. “Connecting with students is the highlight of what I do,” says Beth. “Having the opportunity to attend college can be very transforming and can certainly shape your future. I know how fun and life-changing those four years can be, and I want to assist each student in finding their right fit.” A graduate of Birmingham-Southern College, HGTV-devotee Beth and her husband Tommy (a retired Williamson County Schools educator) live in the Grassland community and are the parents of three adult daughters.
College PlannerThough she joined Class 101 Franklin in 2018, Laura Brancheau has done it all when it comes to counseling teens through the college process. Her 40-plus years in education have led her from teaching in both high school and college, to years as a high school guidance counselor and Director of College Counseling, taking students on tours to ivy league colleges as well as to those in her former home state of Florida. Laura is our resident essay expert, guiding our Class 101 students as they hone their personal statements so that colleges can truly see what they have to offer. A graduate of Eastern Michigan University, with a master’s degree in Guidance and Counseling from St. Thomas University in Miami, she is certified in business education and in guidance and counseling. Like Karen and Beth, she was also a Girl Scout leader (we have four!) and loves being involved in her church home at St. Philip Catholic Church. “I’m passionate about working with high school students in helping them navigate their journey toward college! Being a teenager can be hard sometimes, and I am blessed to be a constant in their lives during this time.” An avid reader and movie buff, Laura and her husband Paul have three adult children—two daughters and a son, as well as five grandchildren.
Test-Prep GuruFormer Kentucky resident Jeanne Fain was already familiar with Class 101 when she and her husband Dean relocated to Nashville—she had been a franchise owner in the bluegrass state! Having joined Class 101 Franklin in 2019, Jeanne now serves as the ACT/SAT/PSAT test-prep coach for our students, offering endless energy and encouragement to the process, and cheering them on as she sees their test scores rise. A graduate of the University of Kentucky, Jeanne is certified in Facilitation from DePaul University, and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in educational leadership. As the former president of a private school of over 500 students in Lexington, Kentucky, she saw a trend for students needing support after high school graduation as they transitioned to college and independence. Jeanne has since founded her own company, Real Life GPA, to consult with families on issues from homesickness to study skills. “Being a part of helping someone when they need a hand is so rewarding,” says Jeanne. “Seeing them get through to the other side, better and stronger, is such a reward. I love coaching students, because I love connecting with people, on so many levels.” A former twirler who, yes, can twirl a fire baton, Jeanne and Dean have a blended family of four daughters and two sons.
College Planner + Marketing & Community OutreachTime flies when your kids are growing up. Melissa Dick knew Beth Koehler as a teacher at her sons’ preschool—and then suddenly it was time to begin planning for college! She turned to Beth and Class 101 for help, and somewhere in the midst of thirteen college visits, five applications and her older son’s decision to attend Davidson College in North Carolina, Melissa realized how much she loved the college planning process. With over a decade of experience in public relations and marketing, she joined the Class 101 Franklin team in 2020, expanding the company’s social media presence and looking for ways to partner with the community. She’s written countless celebrity bios, magazine cover stories, and articles as a freelance writer, and secured national television and media appearances for her past clients. But now in her role as a college planner, Melissa loves helping students share their unique stories and ‘market’ themselves to colleges through their essays and resumes. Trained in gifted education through Vanderbilt Gifted Education Institute and SENG (Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted), she’s a self-described creativity nerd, who volunteered for nearly a decade as a Team Manager, Affiliate Growth Director, and Challenge Writer for the STEAM-based after-school organization Destination Imagination. “Like many parents, I took the ACT once, and applied to just one college,” says Melissa, a Belmont University graduate with a degree in journalism. “Going through the process with my son opened my eyes to the possibilities. Every student has unique talents, with such potential to learn and grow, and I love helping students discover colleges that fit their gifts and passions.” A near-lifelong Franklin resident, Melissa and her husband Bill have two sons who share their irrational, nostalgic love of Disney World.
College PlannerKristen Melichar may have just joined Class 101 Franklin in 2021, but the latest addition to the team fits in perfectly. Like her co-workers, she’s been a Girl Scout Leader, a volunteer in many PTO board positions, and a teacher (currently at The Little School in Franklin). And, like her co-workers, Kristen is quick to tell you she’s a total college nerd. Launching two children in two years to college is no small feat (her oldest is headed to University of Dayton), but she was already familiar with what to expect, having worked on the admissions side of college planning for a number of years. She’s had the opportunity to sit in on and participate in Committee when final class-shaping decisions were being made at Vanderbilt University, and spent a year as interim Admissions Officer there as well. A former application reader for Vanderbilt, Kristen also read applications for Colgate University, as well as working at Colgate’s Center for Outreach, Volunteerism, and Education (known as The COVE), working with college students and local elementary schools. A graduate of Loyola University of Maryland, Kristen was an RA and worked in the Development Office at college (when not quoting “The Breakfast Club” or “Footloose” word for word). The perfect advertisement for the college experience, she remains close with her roommates to this day. “Class 101 combines my passions for education and love of working with people, plus helping them make connections to the right place for them,” says Kristen. “I get excited about colleges and all the possibilities available to students. I want to share that excitement with others.” Kristen and her high-school-sweetheart husband Charlie (who also works in higher education) have three girls and a boy, and love to travel, eat, and sometimes even travel and eat together on food tours.
“I owe it to Class 101 for not having to go into debt for college! They helped me from my first step of discovering what schools I wanted to go to, to figuring out all the insider information on application dates and requirements, to editing my essay, to submitting my applications before anyone else! I cannot recommend them enough to everyone and anyone I meet about to take on the stressful process of applying to college.
George Mason University
Class 101 has been extremely helpful in raising my ACT scores, filling out my applications, getting scholarships, and picking my perfect college. Everyone I worked with there was supportive and helpful when I was trying to reach my goals. Class 101 made the college process a whole lot simpler and enjoyable!
University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
Class 101 was a huge advantage in the college process. Mrs. Feamster opened my eyes to other schools I had not considered, and helped me contemplate where to apply. Through ACT test prep, I was able to raise my score 5 points, which gave me more scholarship money. With Mrs. Feamster’s guidance, I decided to go to Auburn University, and have absolutely loved it! My freshman year was incredible and I have Mrs. Feamster and the rest of Class 101 to thank!