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GOAL Celebrates National School Counseling Week

Mansfield, OH (February 10, 2023) – National School Counseling Week is celebrated the first full week in February, focusing the public's attention on the unique contribution of school counselors within U.S. school systems. Sponsored by ASCA, it highlights the tremendous impact school counselors can have in helping students achieve school success and plan for a career. The 2023 theme is School Counselors: Helping Students Dream Big.

At GOAL Digital Academy, a fantastic team of school counselors & a mental health therapist are available to guide students in achieving their dreams, whether it be with academics, careers, or personal/social developmental goals. The counseling team supports each student in developing skills that will help their personal growth as successful lifelong learners and valuable members of the community. GOAL's counseling team is composed of 5 members, 3 School Counselors, an Assistant School Counselor, and a Mental Health Therapist. Each counselor services different labs and helps the district with advocacy, reviewing data, and determining barriers.

Here we spotlight each of GOAL’s five members that advise students throughout their educational journey.

Heather Allen, School Counselor

Heather Allen obtained her B.A. in History and minored in Political Science, with licensure to teach Social Studies for grades 7-12. She attended Capella University for her Master's program in counseling. She also has an endorsement to teach Career Based Intervention classes. She loves spending time with her high school sweetheart, now husband, and their two children. In her free time, she reads, plays games, puzzles, swims, and does anything to be with her family.

"It's exciting to put my training from Capella in the National School Counselors model to use at GOAL." Heather Allen states. "We strive to serve the whole student."

Ryan Caplinger, School Counselor

Ryan Caplinger obtained his middle childhood education degree from The University of Akron and has a Master’s of Education in School Counseling from Bowling Green State University. He enjoys collecting cacti, running, and spending time with his family and pet turtles.

Shannon Wellin, Assistant School Counselor

Shannon Wellin earned her Bachelor's degree in Sociology, with a minor in English, from the University of Dayton. She was the Youth Services Coordinator for social and emotional students at JTPA in Marion, Ohio, then worked for Jobs for Ohio’s Graduates (JOG) at Mount Gilead and Tri-Rivers Career Center. Mrs. Wellin was a founding staff member of GOAL Digital Academy when it was created in 2002. She loves reading a good book in her spare time and watching her two children play soccer and football. She enjoys the simplicities of life, whether it's taking her dogs for a walk or being surrounded by family.

Angeline Burke, School Counselor

Angeline Burke received her degree in Mathematics/Sociology from Ohio Dominican University. She has worked as a caseworker for children with behavioral issues, as an early childhood teacher, and as a curriculum coordinator for preschool-kindergarten. She is currently finishing up her Master's at Capella University with a residency program that helps her prepare with fellow counseling peers for real-life interactions with students. Traveling, hiking, and reading are only a few of Angeline Burke's hobbies. She also finds enjoyment in the simple aspects of life, such as lounging around with her dog.

Deb Strong, Mental Health Therapist

Deb Strong obtained her Masters's Degree from Ashland Theological Seminary in Professional Clinical Counseling. She began her work experience with Richland County Children Services, helping many different agencies. As a Mental Health Therapist, she has worked with most schools in Richland County, a position with MOESC as an Attendance Counselor, and the WIA & Futures Programs. Her favorite thing is being a grandmother. She also plays piano, sings, and leads a women's bible study.

Superintendent Jenkins stated, "The GOAL Digital Academy counseling team has a long record of working effectively with students, parents, fellow educators, and community members to create new paths of learning, achievement, and self-discovery. The team focuses on the whole child. While much of this work is done behind the scenes, it makes a huge difference in the lives of our students and our school. More importantly, that difference resides in the hearts and minds of our GOAL students and families who are leading stronger, healthier lives, thanks to the school counselor/mental health therapist who supported them and showed them more of what their lives could be."

GOAL's counselors connect with all middle and high school students during weekly orientations to aid in individual student success. In collaboration with parents, guardians, faculty, and staff, students are offered in-person group therapy activities, mental health support, college and career preparation, scheduling, academics, graduation requirements, and more. In addition, the Student Assistance Program (SAP) at GOAL increases student wellness by implementing a universal Mental Health and Wellness Screening. Students will then be referred for additional evaluation, interventions, and support.

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