Pamela Donnelly

Founder & CEO

Pamela Donnelly is a bestselling author (SWAT Team Tactics for Getting Your Teen Into College and 4 Keys to College Admissions Success), speaker, and college access specialist. As Time Magazine’s go-to college admissions expert, she frequently appears on regional and national television. Larry King has endorsed her most recent book, and she is a frequent speaker at live events throughout the greater Los Angeles region and at conference across America. Her passionate advocacy for education reform has led her to the doctoral program at Pepperdine University, where she will graduate in 2021 with her PhD in Global Leadership and Change. Pamela graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Columbia University in the City of New York with degrees in Literature/Writing and Secondary Education, and is the founder of GATE College System, a digital college prep solution that was researched and developed right here at Valley Prep. A professional educator for over 20 years and former on-camera talent under contract to ABC- TV, she is the academic expert trusted by many of the most discerning parents in the US. Her commitment to leveling the playing field has led to strategic partnerships with major philanthropic organizations across the country, and she has spoken on Capital Hill and presented to the US Department of Education about the need for increasing equitable access to higher education for disadvantaged students. A mother of three, Donnelly leads Valley Prep’s team of expert educators, helping parents go the extra mile to ensure their teens transition to the right-fit colleges with maximum merit-based financial aid so they don’t go broke.

Aline Hesse


Aline Hesse graduated magna cum laude from the University of Southern California with her Master’s degree. She is a highly qualified educator who loves working with parents and their teens to help them obtain optimal results. Her position with Valley Prep involves placing tutors, communicating with parents, and spreading the word online and in the media about our services and programs. The Valley Prep family appreciates her top notch academic services support. When not working, Aline loves to read and play piano.

Bridget Barstow

Student Services Coordinator

Bridget Barstow is a secondary education specialist, and holds her Master of Education degree from Bridgewater State University. Prior to joining the Valley Prep team as Student Services Coordinator, she taught in both public and private high schools for 25 years.  She has proven outcomes in mentoring 9th-12th grade students, and enjoys guiding their parents through the college admissions process.  She was instrumental in the creation and funding of a Scholastic summer school program for low-level middle school readers, and served as the program’s Director. Expertise includes editing and reading/writing/teaching Latin. Bridget has proven demonstrable student outcomes for more than two decades related to strategizing GPA support, test prep, admissions essays, and college counseling. In her free time, Bridget loves to read and volunteer. She has served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Pacific Ballet Dance Theatre, as a softball coach for Burbank Parks and Rec, and as a volunteer for the JBHS Vocal Music Association. She is a mother to four busy daughters: Hannah, Molly, Caroline, and Bridget.

Jonathan Cardinia

Administrative Assistant

Jonathan Cardinia earned his Bachelor of Science degree at St. Alexius College. Honors included Dean’s List and numerous academic awards and achievements. He is an experienced customer services professional with many years of work and training in the medical field before joining the team at Valley Prep Tutoring. In addition to enjoying providing excellent administrative support, he loves reading, traveling, and spending quality time with family.