About Us

MEC Group’s innovative Collaborative Consulting approach offers clients educational consulting, testing, school support, and therapeutic services in one integrated setting, provided by two talented and experienced professionals, Theodra Washington and Jennifer (Jen) Hursey, M. Ed. Theodra and Jen have been working in close proximity since 2009, when each was focusing on her area of expertise: Theodra in educational consulting and school placement, and Jen on therapeutic services, school support, and educational testing. A natural partnership arose between these two experienced professionals, with each provider noticing the tremendous benefits to families of having collaborative minds involved in the educational journey from the very beginning.

In the summer of 2014, Theodra and Jen established a standard process of meeting collaboratively with all new clients, whether the families were requesting educational testing or consulting services through either practice. Thus, Collaborative Consulting was born; and, as the Testimonials show, the benefits to families are enormous. Whether a family’s primary need is school placement, advocacy (educational consulting), advisement, (direction, support) or educational testing, Collaborative Consulting lets MEC Group consider the whole child, and his or her support system, in order to to find the “right fit” in all aspects of their education.

MEC Group’s Collaborative Consulting Partners: 

Theodra Washington (Certified Educational Planner) has over twenty years of experience working with the independent school admission process, with 5 spent as the Associate Director of Lower and Middle School Admission at Sidwell Friends School. With more than twenty years of experience working with public and private school students from preschool through high school, Theodra’s roles have ranged from school-wide diversity coordinator, physical education teacher and athletic department head, varsity volleyball coach, health instructor, NAACP parent representative, and parent advocate. Theodra has also worked in schools with special needs students and with nonprofit organizations for underprivileged children. She consults with a unique variety of schools and programs across the Washington, DC area, providing program-wide support in classroom design, accessibility, and best practices. She holds a BS from Florida A&M University, and was featured in articles about DC-area Educational Consultants in the Washingtonian Magazine and in Washington Business Journal. Theodra is also a Professional Member of IECA. Watch this video to learn how IECA members help families with the independent school search.

Jennifer (Jen) Hursey, M.ED. holds a BS in Early Childhood Education from the University of West Georgia, an M. ED. in Special Education from Lesley University, where she trained within the Lesley-Brookline Schools Collaborative and is a dual-certified teacher in Early Childhood and Early Childhood Special Education. Jen began her career in education as preschool teacher in Fayetteville, GA. Since her first teaching job, Jen has worked as a service provider in an independent school for students with learning disabilities; taught kindergarten, first, and fourth grades; served as a learning specialist in a K-8 school and then a 5-8 middle school; provided behavioral consulting and behavior therapy supervision for early intervention services in Massachusetts; provided admissions and diagnostic evaluation services and supports across lifespan (preschool through adult) in a multi-disciplinary private practice in Washington, DC. Jen applies her expertise to support MEC-Group clients as they navigate educational decisions and draws on her years of experience to provide referrals and support to empower clients.

Team Members:

Maria Colchao, M.A., holds a B.S. in Clinical Psychology (Catholic University of Peru) and a Masters in Education and Human Development (The George Washington University). Maria started her career in School Psychology at the Leon Pinelo School in Lima, Peru where she worked with children Pre-Kindergarten to Third Grade working with the teachers and children to assess their cognitive abilities and learning abilities.  She also designed and provided remedial programs for children with learning challenges.  Maria also worked at Casuarinas School in Lima, Peru and organized the Psychology Department.  Maria has been working at Educational Assessment Associates and has over 20 years of experience working with families in the Washington, D.C. area with the admission’s process for the independent schools.  Maria is bilingual, fluent in English and Spanish. She administers the WPPSI IV (Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence – Fourth Edition) and the WISC V (Wechsler Intelligence Test for Children – Fifth Edition). One of Maria’s strengths is the excellent rapport she establishes with children of all ages which enables an ideal setting to assess a child’s abilities.

Nikki Ham (College Placement Counselor) has served as a school counselor for over fifteen years, with successful experience in organizational and instructional leadership. She has worked as a school counselor in Montgomery County Public Schools and developed the School Counseling Program at Reid Temple Christian Academy. Nikki has served as the School Counselor Specialist for Prince George’s County Public Schools. During her time in these school systems, she had a proven track record of success in improving student performance, developing teams and building bridges between the school, parents and community leaders. Nikki currently works as the Field Placement Supervisor for Bowie State University, School Counseling Program in the Department of Counseling Department. Nikki is dedicated and passionate about helping students, and their families remove the social, emotional barriers to their academic success. She is excited to be joining MEC Group and helping families with this wonderful post-secondary exploration and journey.

Michele (Shelly) Jeffery (SSAT Proctor and Coordinator) is a graduate of Sidwell Friends School in Washington, DC. She attended Simmons College in Boston, MA and received both a BA degree and a MAT degree. She returned to Sidwell Friends and taught for many years, both kindergarten and third grade. She also taught in the summer programs which were open to all students city-wide. In 1988, she began working in the Admissions Office (Office of Admission and Financial Aid) at Sidwell Friends as Assistant Director of Admissions for Lower School, a position she held for over 20 years. In that role, she also participated in several Middle School admissions activities, and served as a committee head on the school’s two year accreditation process, the first time it had been done for grades PK-12th grade. Her experience as an alumnus, parent and teacher are real assets when working with potential students and parents. She has always thoroughly enjoyed working with both children and parents during her career.


“You all offered services that were realistic and unbiased. You did not try to sell my family on the independent (private) school experience; but based on your experiences, you provided invaluable and objective insight on private and public schools that were the best matches for my child and his personal learning style.”


“MEC Group, your insight on both independent and public school environments was very helpful, especially since I was very apprehensive about private schools. Being a big proponent and believer in public school education, your assistance was invaluable in helping me to evaluate the many options available and make the best choice for my child.”