Counseling Office: 301.284.4600 FAX: 301‐284‐4702


(A – Bam)  Ms. Bernadette White   This is my 16th year in MCPS and my 4th year at GHS. I have also worked as a High School Counselor and College/Scholarship Coordinator/Academy Coordinator in DC Public Schools for 10 years prior to coming to MCPS. I have earned a BS in Criminology and Corrections, Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX and a Master’s in Education, with a concentration in School Counseling, from Howard University in Washington, DC. My initial job with MCPS was as the Resource Counselor at Blake High School.  I grew up in Dallas, TX, but am currently living in Washington, DC.  I moved to DC (from Atlanta, GA) in 1989, after visiting the city while attending my Delta Sigma Theta Sorority’s national convention.  I got into counseling after working in the criminal justice system right out of college.  I decided that my skills and talents would be more applicable with working with individuals to prevent them from being placed into the justice system.  I realized that have a particular talent in coaching and counseling and wanted to utilize those skills for the betterment of man instead of visiting them in jail.  When I made the switch to education, I know I would make a difference.  At Eastern High School in DC, I was responsible for working with students to make college possible.  Many of my students never thought they would go to college but after I finished with them, we were able to create a college going culture at the high school.  Students begin to apply to “college” and it became the norm.  Scholarships were plentiful and students applied to everything that was sent their way.  We raised a lot of money in scholarships for students.  I am still in contact with my students from DCPS and several of them have become school counselors.  I have been a school counselor for 26 years.  I am proud of the work I have done on behalf of students and families and believe that my legacy speaks for itself as I witness the students I worked with become professionals in the respective schools and they always remember me as their counselor!  It’s been a great journey.   

Ms. Bernadette White Director of School Counseling Services email  

(Ban – Chi)   Mrs. Evelyn Culque

 (Cho – Esc)   Dr. Nikki Jarquin  I have been a professional school counselor since 2011. I worked at Wheaton High School for six years prior to coming to Gaithersburg High School. Although I grew up in Gaithersburg, I attended Magruder HS. My family is from El Salvador, but I was born in Canada. I moved to Gaithersburg when I was 6 months old. I have a Bachelor’s Degree in psychology from UMBC (transferred from Montgomery College) and a Master’s Degree in Counselor Education from McDaniel College. In 2017 I earned a Doctor of Education Degree from the Johns Hopkins University, School of Education. I also work at Johns Hopkins University supporting their Doctor of Education program. I absolutely love being a high school counselor, which I truly believe is the best job ever J 

(Ese – Hen)     Mr. Jorge Ramirez 

 (Her – Lem)    Dr. Ben OuYang    This is my 26th year with MCPS and my 2nd year at GHS.  I grew up in upstate New York.  I came to the state of Maryland for my Master’s Degree program.  I have also earned my PhD while in Maryland.  My initial job with MCPS was a counselor.  I have always enjoyed talking to kids and really trying to listen to them.  I thoroughly love my job, as there is no greater rush in education when you know you truly helped a kid. 

(Len – Meri)   Ms. Thania Torres

 ( Merl – Perei) Mrs. Holly Walker    This is my 20th year in MCPS and my first year at GHS.  I grew up in Germantown, MD.  I have earned a Bachelor’s in Education and a Masters in Counseling and Administration.  My initial job in MCPS was a 1st grade teacher. As a classroom teacher, I always took the time meet with my students to figure out what was preventing them from learning what I was teaching.  I later became the regular ed. teacher in a co-taught classroom. It was then that I knew I wanted to work with students outside of the classroom to ensure that they were socially and emotionally ready to learn. Something unique about me is that I am a MCPS product, attended Fox Chapel ES, Neelsville MS, and Watkins Mill HS.  I have worked in the Gaithersburg cluster for 15 of my 20 years in the county. 

 (Perez – Reyes)  Mrs. Natalie Ritchie    This is my 13th year with MCPS and my 3rd year at GHS. I grew up in Rockville, MD and attended Wooton HS.  I attended Elon University, where I earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Elementary and Special Education, then George Washington University, where I earned a Master Degree in the Art In Education and Human Development.  I started my career in education by teaching 4th grade.  I soon realized that in order to really teach and engage students, their mental health needs had to be addressed first. I eventually decided to work with high school students because I really enjoyed exposing students to college opportunities. Students have a lot to say and I love to listen!

 (Ri – Sot)  Mrs. Jessica Pollard   

 (Sow – Z)  Ms. Julie Colatrella   This is my first year with MCPS and my first year at GHS.  I got to Maryland through a series of moves – first from NY to Massachusetts for college and then to DC to get my Master’s degree.  I have been in the DC area now for 6 years.  I have earned Bachelors in Psychology & Women’s Studies from Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts and a Master’s Degree in School Counseling from University of Maryland College Park.  I have a dog named “Rufio” and a cat named “Little Edie.”  I am in a hip-hop dance group called the Work It! Studio Divas in DC. Something unique about me is that I have “grapheme-color synesthesia,” which means I read in color! I love arts and crafts and can usually be caught doodling in the margins of my notebook.  I went into counseling after having a bad experience in high school.  Honestly, I did not like my counselor in high school because he only ever focused on my shortcomings and things I would not be able to do in the future. So initially, I was not wild about school counselors; but I took AP Psychology in my senior year and loved it, so I knew I wanted to do something related to mental health. Then, in college, I was the Residential Director of a summer program for high school girls interested in science, and I basically just got to hang out with 100 super cool kids all summer. That solidified my interest in youth work, and I spent the next few years working with teens in a bunch of different settings before realizing that I could be the counselor I never had in high school. I have a fun office full of toys, art, and soothing sounds & smells, and I try to create a space where students leave feeling better than they did when they first came in.  

 College & Career Counselor  Ms. Geri Sliffman    This is my 23rd year with MCPS and my 11th year at GHS.  I grew up in Long Island, NY, but came to Maryland for college; my parents moved here while I was in college. I was also married here.  I have earned a BS in Business Admin from American University, and M. Ed from American University, and have completed post-grad courses in Counseling from several schools at the Universities at Shady Grove.  While my initial job in MCPS was a Media Assistant, I decided to work in the counseling area after meeting with my advisor at American University.  Something unique about me is that I have been actively employed with MCPS since 1983. 


 Mrs. Geri Sliffman College/Career Counselor 301‐284‐4616 email  

 ESOL 1 and 2 Students:

Torres                         A – C

Jarquin                      D – Mel

Culque                      Men – Z

Other Caseloads

White                LFI and SCB Programs

Christina               Bridge Program
Counseling Support Staff

Mrs. Maria Garcia School Based ESOL Counselor 301‐284‐4591 email  

  Services Offered   


  • School counselors help students make appropriate personal, career, and educational decisions. In either individual or in group sessions, the counselors: 
  • help students to achieve increased self‐awareness and feeling of self‐worth 
  • provide opportunities for students to discuss personal and/or social problems that may affect learning, motivation, and personal development 
  • assist students in acquiring decision‐making skills to make appropriate educational, career, and personal decisions 
  • provide testing and test interpretation to help students analyze their interests, abilities and values with respect to career awareness. 
  • meet annually with each student to plan an educational program consistent with his/her needs (Four‐Year Plan). 
  • provide information to students and parents about colleges, careers, and vocational schools 
  • take an active role in working with the administration to inform students and parents of guidance programs. 
  • act as student advocates in any reasonable cause. 
  • collect and interpret information needed for student conferences, e.g., Educational Management Team (EMT) meetings. 
  • work with teachers and parents to help students achieve their potential in school 


 Procedures To See Your Counselor      


  • Although counselor assignments are made for administrative purposes, an "open door" policy exists. Students may make an appointment to see a counselor of their preference. Counselors are available to see students on a drop‐in basis before school, during lunch, and after school. 

Procedure for Parents   


 In order to see your child's counselor, please call 301‐284‐4600 make an appointment. Counselors are more likely to be able to meet with you by calling ahead.  


Course & Schedule Changes   


Because staff members spend a great deal of time and energy developing an individual student's schedule during the registration and scheduling processes, they expect students to stay with their assigned schedules. Students requesting a change from AP or Honors to Regular class, MUST complete the appropriate form. Forms are obtained in the Counseling Services Department. Changes will only be made with approval from administration, counselor, teachers, and parents.  


 Counseling Services Secretary   


The Counseling Services Secretary is the receptionist for all counseling services. He or she makes all the appointments for counseling conferences, contacts teachers for homework when a student is ill, and assists the home instruction teachers. Students who have changes of address or phone number should notify the Counseling Office.  

 Ms. Johanny Perez School Counseling Secretary email  

Mrs. Lisa Koenick School Counseling Secretary/Transcript Coordinator email



Online Courses

COSA Process