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Counseling

The mission of the St. Thomas High School Counseling Department is to provide comprehensive services that support the academic achievement, collegial aspirations and mental wellness of the men of St. Thomas and foster the STH qualities of Goodness, Discipline and Knowledge.

The Counseling staff takes a collaborative, student-centered approach to providing individual and group guidance. Because we are a college preparatory school, the Counseling staff specializes in guiding students through the college planning process. The goal of the Counseling staff is to advocate for our students and provide them with the tools necessary to reach their academic and personal goals.

Counselors at St. Thomas are alphabetically assigned to students and work with them beginning in 9th grade. Students remain with their counselor through graduation. Counselors work with students on academic, personal/social issues, and post-secondary choices. A college software program called Naviance is used extensively throughout this process.

Freshmen students and parents begin the year with a personal counseling session with their counselor. The purpose of this session is to introduce the counselor and the family to each other and to allow them time to get to know each other and talk specifically about the student and his goals. In 9th grade, students also complete the “Learning Style Inventory” and learn about their individual learning style. The purpose of 9th grade counseling is to help freshmen begin thinking about the importance of academic achievement in their college search and to assist them as they begin their high school experience.

During sophomore year, students complete the Naviance “Do What You Are” assessment, which is based on the Meyers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator. This program gives students information about not only their personality type but about career possibilities that match their personality.

Juniors spend time developing a college list. Counselors meet with juniors during the spring semester to develop that list and talk with them about what it is that they are looking for in a college. There is also a session designed for the student and his parent with the counselor as that list is honed.

Senior year is spent applying to the final list of colleges that the student has developed and researching scholarships and financial aid. The counselor spends much of first semester working with the senior and talking with him about his college applications and his essays.
Scott Wiens (B.A., Bethel University; M.S. School Counseling, University of Wisconsin; Graduate Certificate in Educational Administration, University of St. Mary’s; Doctoral Candidate, University of Minnesota) joined St. Thomas High School in 2016. Prior to working at St. Thomas, Scott worked for 26 years in public and private education in Minnesota and at the American School in Switzerland. Scott has completed his doctoral research and is currently writing a dissertation on college readiness with an emphasis on underrepresented populations.

Staffany Rawls joins St. Thomas from Texas City High School where she served as the College and Career Coordinator. At Texas City, Staffany worked extensively with scholarships developing a program that assisted students competing for collegiate level scholarships. Ms. Rawls obtained her master’s degree in counseling from Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Arizona and her bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies from the University of Houston.

Jeff Tesone joins St. Thomas from First Baptist Academy where served as the Director of high School Placement and Academic Guidance. Mr. Tesone has also served for four years as the Director of Counseling at St. John XXIII in Katy and for twelve years as a Counselor at Strake Jesuit. Prior to working in private education in Houston, Mr. Tesone worked in higher education in financial aid at Eastern University in Pennsylvania and in enrollment management at Westminster College in Missouri. Mr. Tesone obtained both his Master’s Degree in Student Affairs in Higher Education and his Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

Robin Wagner (B.A., Psychology, M.Ed. School Counseling, Ed. S. Counseling and Consultation, Louisiana State University) joined the St. Thomas High School family in 2015. Robin is a National Board Certified Counselor and holds dual state school counseling certifications in both Texas and Louisiana. Robin has worked in campus- and district-level roles at public and private institutions as well as in the university setting as a counselor and counselor educator. She is a member of the American Counseling Association and the American School Counselor Association as well as their respective Texas chapters.

Kim Yackel comes to St. Thomas from Rice University where she served as the Assistant Director for the Center for Career Development. Ms. Yackel has spent time in career services working with undergraduate students as they prepare for professional lives after college. She has also worked in career services at Barton College in North Carolina and at Duke University as a public policy career services graduate assistant. Ms. Yackel obtained her master’s degree from North Carolina State University in Raleigh in Higher Education Administration. A native Virginian, she obtained a dual bachelor’s degree from Virginia Tech in Human Development and Psychology. Ms. Yackel has also obtained certifications in the Myer’s-Briggs Type Indicator and the Strong Interest Inventory.

Naviance is a college and career readiness platform that helps connect St. Thomas students' academic achievement with their post-secondary goals. Its comprehensive college and career planning solutions optimizes student success, maximizes counselor effectiveness, and tracks results for St. Thomas High School students.