Return to Headlines

JC Schools honors school counselors for National School Counseling Week

National School Counseling Week is celebrated the first full week of February to focus public attention on the unique contribution of school counselors within U.S. school systems. The week highlights the tremendous impact school counselors can have in helping students achieve school success and plan for a career. 

At JC Schools, we are honoring our school counselors by highlighting them and why they're proud to do what they do. We asked certain counselors at the elementary, middle, and high school levels questions about why they do what they do for our School Counselor Q&A. See what they had to say belolw!


Ruthie Eichholz, East Elementary

Ruthie Eichholz

1. How long have you been a school counselor with JC Schools?
 
I have been a counselor with JC Schools for 21 years! I have been at Southwest Elementary, Pioneer Trails Elementary and East Elementary.

2. Why did you want to become a school counselor?

I wanted to become a school counselor to try to help all students realize their true potential and how important it is to be kind to each other.

3. What’s a day-in-the-life like for a school counselor?

Each day in the life of a school counselor is never the same. It involves a little bit of teaching lessons, listening to problems, peer mediation, making small sewing repairs on coats, washing clothes, making sure students have food at home, modeling life lessons, running the school store, welcoming new students. ensuring the safety of all students at school and home, etc.... AND, trying to do it all with as much of a positive attitude and smile on my face as possible!!

4. What do you love most about being a school counselor?

My job is never boring! I love working with kids!

5. What degree did you earn?

I earned my Masters of Education in School Counseling from Lincoln University in 1997.


Niki Atkinson, West Elementary

Niki Atkinson

1. How long have you been a school counselor with JC Schools?
 
I've been a counselor for 15 years with JC Schools.

2. Why did you want to become a school counselor?

After teaching in a 5th grade classroom for several years, I realized that while I still loved the classroom, I had a bigger calling for supporting students on a more individual basis. My passion is seeing students blossom and grow, but realized quickly that there's a lot of road blocks in learning for some students because they have deeper issues to work through first. As a teacher, one of my biggest strengths was building relationships with my students. I knew I could do more and that it would be a great way to help our students!

3. What’s a day-in-the-life like for a school counselor?

Every moment is different and unpredictable. The underlying job is meeting students where they're at and assisting them so that they can have a successful day and learning experience. Students want to know that they are heard, that someone cares, and if needed, someone will try to help. So that's what I do; I try to listen, care for, and help!

4. What do you love most about being a school counselor?

I can't pick just one thing that I love about my job! I love the relationships that I build with students and their families. I love going into the classrooms and teaching anything from being a good friend, to better understanding our brain so we can control our responses and our emotions, to being a learner who sets goals and accomplishes those goals. I enjoy being able to work with staff to help meet their immediate needs and assist where I can.

5. What degree did you earn?

I earned a Master’s in Education in Guidance and Counseling for the Elementary from Lincoln University.


Samantha Cassmeyer, Lewis & Clark Middle School

Samantha Cassmeyer

1. How long have you been a school counselor with JC Schools?
 
Seven years, all at LCMS!

2. Why did you want to become a school counselor?

Because of how my high school counselor helped me.

3. What’s a day-in-the-life like for a school counselor?

Everyday is different and new! There is no typical day! But our focus is always on our students and their needs!

4. What do you love most about being a school counselor?

Being a part of the school family, especially at LCMS; And learning as much from my students as they hopefully learn from me!

5. What degree did you earn?
 
Bachelor of Science in Psychology, Truman State University, 2010; Master of Education in School Counseling, Lincoln University, 2013.
 

 
Hannah Wilson, Lewis & Clark Middle School
 
1. How long have you been a school counselor with JC Schools?

This is my first year! I did an internship at Jefferson City High School a couple of years ago, and I am happy to be back in this district.Hannah Wilson

2. Why did you want to become a school counselor?

I wanted to be a school counselor to help kiddos achieve their academic goals, help them navigate their daily challenges, and to mentor them to make wise choices in middle school, high school, and in their future careers.

3. What’s a day-in-the-life like for a school counselor?

Every day is an adventure!!! Most days are spent with a balance of visiting with students, dealing with crises, working with families and community agencies, doing paperwork, etc. There is no way to predict what each day will bring.

4. What do you love most about being a school counselor?   

I love when I develop a relationship with a kiddo and I can be their safe person to navigate daily challenges with him/her. It is so wonderful to watch my students make progress in their lives, whether it's academics, communication, self-confidence, etc. 

5. What degree did you earn?

I got my Master's in School Counseling from Adams State University (Alamosa, Colorado) in 2017.


Cody Hillis, Thomas Jefferson Middle School

1. How long have you been a school counselor with JC Schools?

Cody Hillis

This is my 2nd year.

2. Why did you want to become a school counselor?

I wanted to be a school counselor because when I was working at Moreau Heights Elementary, I worked very closely with Kelli Holtmeyer. We would talk all the time about the path to being a school counselor and what it takes to be a school counselor. She told me that I would be a great school counselor, so I looked into it. Then, at Thomas Jefferson, I quickly became friends with the school counselors, Lisa and Cara.  I saw the kind of impact they were making on the school culture and I wanted to do the same thing.  I wanted to be a positive person in students' lives that they could go to in a time of need.

3. What’s a day-in-the-life like for a school counselor?

There really is no day-in-the-life for me. Every day is different. I think this is why I love my job. No day is the same. There are very stressful days and there are days that are great. I kind of use the morning bus riders as my clue as to how my day is going to go. If the students from the bus come into the building rowdy, I know it could be a long day. If the students come in calm and not screaming, I know that there is a chance to have a great day. I love it. 

4. What do you love most about being a school counselor?

I love being a school counselor because I get to connect to more students. As a teacher, you get to know who is on your team. As a counselor, I have met and learned about more students in a year than I thought I ever would. I don't only get to talk to students in my grade, I also get to know other students in the building. It's awesome.

5. What degree did you earn? 

I will earn a counseling degree from Missouri Baptist University in St. Louis.


 
Lisa Bleich, Thomas Jefferson Middle School
Lisa Bleich  
1. How long have you been a school counselor with JC Schools? 
 
16 years

2. Why did you want to become a school counselor?

When I worked as a high school teacher, I was always talking with kids about their lives and goals for the future and what was getting in the way of those goals. That led me to the counseling field. 

3. What’s a day-in-the-life like for a school counselor? 

Crazy and unpredictable. Never the same day twice.  

4. What do you love most about being a school counselor? 

Helping kids advocate for themselves and working with them on coping skills so they are ready for whatever life throws at them. 

5. What degree did you earn?

Masters of Education, Guidance and Counseling, Lincoln University 1998.

Jessica Hoskins, Jefferson City Academic Center

Jessica Hoskins

1. How long have you been a school counselor with JC Schools?

This will be my third year as a counselor with JC schools. I've been at JCAC all three years!

2. What degree did you earn? From where? What year did you graduate?

I have a bachelor's degree in Psychology/Sociology from Northwest Missouri State University - December 2014 and Masters in Counseling Psychology from Mizzou - May 2017.

3. Why did you want to become a school counselor?

I didn't know my counselors in high school and I really could've used someone to talk to. I wanted to be that person for students, someone who listens, someone who motivates and challenges them to be who they want to be.

4. What’s a day-in-the-life like for a school counselor?

Every day is different!!! I spend most days in the classrooms, in the hallways, in the lunchroom, talking to students about their days, about their struggles and success. I spend my days making school as comfortable as can be for them, especially knowing that this could truly be the safest place they have.

5. What do you love most about being a school counselor?

I love the connections I make with students and staff. The kids and adults I see every day are my family. I love being a part of their lives so much!


Teshura Rogers

Teshura Rogers, Jefferson City High School

1. How long have you been a counselor with JC Schools?

Nine years!

2. Why did you want to become a school counselor?

I feel like counseling chose me. I want to be that person that I needed when I was growing up.

3. What’s a day-in-the-life like for a school counselor?

It is never a dull moment, you make a million decisions in a day. You deal with every emotion possible from, students, parents, staff, and even administration. You are kind of that kiss on a child's hurt knee that makes it all better.

4. What do you love most about being a counselor?

I love seeing the kids that have everything stacked against them, and everyone has given up on, make it across that stage - not only with a diploma with a post-secondary plan to change their life.

5. What degree did you earn?

Masters of Education Guidance Counseling at Lincoln University K-12, LPC December 2010


Jaime Marshall, Capital City High School

Jaime Marshall

1. How long have you been a school counselor with JC Schools?

14 years 

2. Why did you want to become a school counselor?

I knew since high school that I wanted to help people! Didn't quite know who or how until I graduated college and was offered a position in JC working at Southwest Elementary. I soon figured out how much I enjoyed working with students...so I went back and got my Master’s degree in Guidance and Counseling and have been a counselor ever since!

3. What’s a day-in-the-life like for a school counselor?

Never the same! 

4. What do you love most about being a school counselor?

The relationships you build with your student's and having an opportunity to make a difference in their life.

5. What degree did you earn? 

Graduated in 2000 from Lindenwood University with a double major...Social Work and Human Services. Graduated with my masters in Guidance and Counseling from Lincoln University in 2005.


MORE ABOUT SCHOOL COUNSELORS

School counselors are actively engaged in helping students examine their abilities, strengths, interests and talents; work in a partnership with parents as they encounter the challenges of raising children in today’s world; focus on positive ways to enhance students’ academic, postsecondary and social/emotional development; and work with teachers and other educators to provide an educational system where students can realize their potential and set healthy, realistic and optimistic aspirations for themselves. School counselors are certified, experienced educators with a master’s degree in school counseling. The combination of their training and experience makes them an integral part of the total educational program.