AO Team

Jill Rickel, M.S., CEP

Independent Educational Consultant

Founder  JIll Rickel

Jill Rickel has been working with students with learning, social, and psychological difficulties since 1984. Having visited over 400 schools, colleges, and programs, Jill has extensive knowledge to help families find the most appropriate therapeutic and educational settings for their child, adolescent, or young adult. Jill founded Academic Options in 2006. Since then, she has proudly helped hundreds of families discover that there are many wonderful options for all students, regardless of their current challenges. Today, AO specializes exclusively in residential placement for students needing therapeutic or alternative school environments.

Jill graduated from the University of Miami, Phi Beta Kappa, Summa Cum Laude, with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and from Nova Southeastern University with a Masters degree in Counseling Psychology. Jill has worked as a mental health counselor, private tutor specializing in students with special needs, National Director of Admissions for a residential program, and independent college counselor. Jill has attained the highest level of competence in her field by meeting the stringent requirements to become a Certified Educational Planner (CEP). Jill is a professional member of Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA) and the National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs (NATSAP).

Amber M. Quintero, MSW

Independent Educational Consultant

Clinical Case Manager


Amber has dedicated herself to advocating for youth and their families since 2011. She has a passion for helping those who are struggling to maintain equilibrium in their household, find success at school, or are not meeting developmental milestones. Amber enjoys visiting and assessing residential programs and schools in order to recommend the best match for AO students. Along with being a placement specialist, Amber’s role as clinical case manager ensures that AO maintains consistent communication with programs and parents to effectively monitor each client’s placement.

Amber earned a Master’s degree in Social Work from New York University, and graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Florida International University. Amber began her career as a patient care coordinator in a psychology practice. As a licensed social worker, she specialized in completing comprehensive assessments and provided individual, family, and group therapy to those with academic, behavioral, mental health, and trauma-related challenges. Amber is an associate member of the Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA).