COUNSELOR ASSIGNMENTS 2019-2020
Counseling Office: 301.284.4600 FAX: 301‐284‐4702
– Bam) (LFI & SCB Programs) Ms. Bernadette White Resource
Counselor I have been a school counselor for
26 years. This is my 16th year in MCPS and my 4th year
at GHS. I was initially hired as the Resource Counselor at Blake High
School. Prior to coming to MCPS, I worked in DC Public Schools as a High
School Counselor and College/Scholarship Coordinator/Academy Coordinator at
Eastern High School. I hold a BS in Criminology and Corrections from 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.
I grew up in Dallas, TX, but currently live in Washington, DC.
I moved to DC (from Atlanta, GA) in 1989, after visiting the city while
attending my Sorority’s—Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.—National
Convention. I was hired as a parole officer in the criminal justice
field right out of college. I decided that my skills and talents would be
better suited in working with individuals to prevent them from being placed
into the criminal justice system. I realized that I have a particular
talent for 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 worked 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
millions of dollars in scholarships for students. I am still in contact
with my students from DCPS and MCPS; several of them have become school
counselors. I am proud of the work I have done on behalf of students and
families and believe that my legacy speaks for itself. I have
witnessed the students I worked with become professionals in education, law,
allied health, finance and a myriad of other occupations. Every time
I see them, they always remember me as their counselor and how I helped them
find their place in the world! It’s been a great journey.
(Ban – Cord) Ms. Kelly Dike This
is my second year in MCPS and first year working at GHS. I grew up in
Gaithersburg and am actually a GHS alum. I earned my Bachelor’s Degree at West
Virginia University in Sport and Exercise Psychology with a Minor in Human
Services. After undergrad I went straight to Boston, Massachusetts to earn my
Master’s Degree in School Counseling at Boston College. Once I graduated, I
decided to move to Raleigh, North Carolina to try out living in the south. I
lasted a total of six months before realizing the south was not for me and
moved back to my home state. I truly love working as a counselor and am excited
to be working at my old stomping grounds.
(Core – Fam) (METs / ESOL 1 & 2 K - Z) Dr. Nikki Jarquin
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!!
(Fan– Herm) Mr. Jorge
Lin) Dr. Ben OuYang
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.
(Lio– Mene) (METs / ESOL
1 & 2 A-J) Ms. Thania Torres
( Menf – Perey) Mrs. Holly Walker
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.
Rio) Mrs. Natalie Ritchie
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!
(Rip – Sos) Mrs. Jessica Pollard
(Sot – Z) Ms. Julie Colatrella
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.
& Career Counselor Ms. Geri Sliffman
This is my 24th year with MCPS and my 12th year at GHS. I grew up on Long Island, NY, but came to the DC area for college; my parents moved to Maryland while I was in college. I have earned a BS in Business Admin and a M.Ed. in Student Personnel Services in Higher Education, both from American University. I have also completed post-grad courses in Counseling from several schools at the Universities at Shady Grove. I have been working in the counseling field since 1975, from admissions at American University, to owning my own college advising firm, to joining GHS. I have been the College Advisor for the Montgomery County NACAC College Fair for the past nine years and previously served with the Education Committee of the Maryland State Real Estate Licensing Commission. I thoroughly enjoy working with students to help them find their path to the future.
Program) Mr. Tom Christina,
Resource Teacher for Bridge Program.
School Based ESOL Counselor Mrs. Maria Garcia
- 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
- assist students in acquiring decision‐making
skills to make appropriate educational, career, and personal
- provide testing and test interpretation to help
students analyze their interests, abilities and values with respect to
- meet annually with each student to plan an
educational program consistent with his/her needs (Four‐Year
- 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
- collect and interpret information needed for
student conferences, e.g., Educational Management Team (EMT)
- work with teachers and parents to help students
achieve their potential in school
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.
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
Course & Schedule
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.
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