HOOVER'S COUNSELING DEPARTMENT CONSISTS OF DEDICATED EDUCATIONAL PROFESSIONALS

With over 100 years of combined experience, we use our knowledge of data analysis, helping skills, human development, mental health, consultation, and advocacy to positively impact the Hoover community as agents of empowerment and change.

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DEBBIE VELASQUEZ

Resource Counselor (Department Chair) & 504 Coordinator

I am excited to be at Hoover and strive to learn and grow professionally as a Middle School Counselor.

Educational/Professional Experience:  I grew up in Michigan and went to Michigan State University where I earned a Bachelor’s degree in Spanish with a minor in Psychology. I taught secondary Spanish in North Carolina and Virginia before coming to MCPS in 2001 where I taught at Francis Scott Key Middle School and the Regional Institute for Children and Adolescents (RICA).   I obtained a Master’s in School Counseling at Johns Hopkins University and started my counseling career at Northwest High School in 2011. I then went to Northwood High School where I served as a School Counselor for ESOL Students for 6 years. I came to Hoover in 2018.


Professional Interests: Elementary-to-Middle School transition, time management skills, mindfulness activities, positive self-image, healthy friendships.  

Personal Background:  I enjoy spending time with my family which includes my husband and two teenage boys.  Other interests include travelling, going to the beach, reading, watching Netflix, and going to the movies.

MIKE HOPKINS

6th Grade Professional School Counselor

Greetings! I am very excited to continue my work supporting the academic, career/college, and social/emotional development of Hoover students.


Educational/Professional Experience: This is my 3rd year at Hoover and my 3rd year as a School Counselor. I grew up in Baltimore and attended Friends School. I studied Education and Music Composition at the University of Maryland and worked as a music teacher in MCPS for 5 years before returning to UMD to complete a Master's in School Counseling.  At that time I also worked as an Accessibility & Disability Counselor on campus.  I recently finished my 2nd Master's in Clinical Psychological Science at UMD and hold licensure in Maryland as a Licensed Graduate Professional Counselor (LGPC), working with a private practice counseling group.  I also serve as a church choir director, organist, and DJ.

Professional interests: Transformed school counseling models, adapting research-supported clinical interventions in school settings, choral conducting.  

Personal interests: Racket sports, volleyball, attending concerts, Baltimore & UMD athletics, cuisine, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, casual music-making

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CAROLINE CAPOCCIA

7th Grade Professional School Counselor

I am so excited to join the Hoover School Counseling Team! This is my 27th year of school counseling in Montgomery County Public Schools. Previously, I worked at Luxmanor ES, Wood Acres ES, and Ritchie Park ES.

Educational/Professional Experience: I grew up in Bethesda, Maryland and attended Ashburton ES, Tilden MS, and Walter Johnson HS. It has been such a great experience to grow up attending school in MCPS and then joining the ranks of MCPS as a staff member for my professional career!I completed my Bachelor’s degree in psychology at James Madison University in 1992. From there, I went straight into a graduate program at the University of Maryland, where I earned a Master’s degree in counseling in 1994. I began my School Counseling career in 1994, splitting my time between Luxmanor ES and Wood Acres ES. After 26 years as an elementary school counselor, I am excited to move to the middle school level and work with 6th, 7th, and 8th graders.


Professional Interests: As an elementary school counselor, I initiated and supervised the following school-wide programs: a character education program, a school service learning program, and an Ambassador program. I believe that it is essential for me as a Professional School Counselor to promote the growth of the total child which includes the academic, social-emotional health, physical health, and career development domains.

Personal Interests: Most important to me is my family. I have a husband of 23 years and 2 children. My daughter is a junior at the University of Maryland where she is on the Women’s Golf team. My son is a junior at Churchill High School where he plays soccer and golf. I love to cook, play golf, travel, and I am an avid sports fan! I love to watch golf, football, hockey, soccer and basketball both in person and on T.V.

JULIE MENDELSON

8th Grade Professional School Counselor

I have been a counselor at Hoover for the past 10 years and consider it a privilege to work with the students and parents in this community.


Educational/Professional Experience: I moved here from eastern PA to attend the University of Maryland where I earned my Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology. I obtained my Master’s Degree from Trinity College while working part-time as a Psychiatric Technician at Shady Grove Behavioral Health Systems. This is my 21st year as a Professional School Counselor in MCPS.


Professional interests: Infusing the Sources of Strength program into Hoover. The program is designed to harness the power of peer social networks to change unhealthy norms and culture, ultimately preventing suicide, bullying, and substance abuse. I am passionate about supporting my students emotionally and academically and do so by using some of these strategies i.e. teaching time management, study skills, self-advocacy, self-esteem building, and relaxation techniques.


Personal interests: Spending time with friends and family, Tennis, mindfulness, Travel, Dog Rescue, Volunteering.

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MARYAM ZOLECKI

I am excited to be the school psychologist at Hoover MS supporting the students, families, and staff of this wonderful school.

Educational/Professional Experience: This is my fourth year at Hoover MS and my nineteenth year as a school psychologist in MPCS. I attended University of Wisconsin-Madison for my undergraduate studies, and earned my graduate degree in school psychologist at James Madison University.

Professional interests: Striving to bring the full breadth of psychological services to a school setting to build the academic and emotional resilience of students.

Personal interests: Reading, gardening, swimming, and travelling.

MEGHAN GRANA

I am thrilled to be the new Pupil Personnel Worker (PPW) at Hoover MS this year, advancing student success through family engagement!


Educational/Professional Experience: This is my 12th year in MCPS and 17th year in education, but my first year as a Pupil Personnel Worker. I received my undergraduate degree from Loyola University in Baltimore in speech language pathology and my graduate degree in speech, language and hearing science from the University of Colorado at Boulder. From my experience working as a speech language pathologist, I've learned that the only true path to success is through integrating family, school and community. In April of 2018, I received my MD state certification in Pupil Personnel Services and I am excited to begin this new chapter of my career at Hoover MS.


Professional interests: Family Engagement; Restorative Justice Practices; Community involvement and Social/emotional wellness.


Personal interests: Traveling, indoor-cycling, trying new and interesting foods and I've just started taking piano lessons - it's never too late!

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ELLEN KARAVANGELOS

Counseling Secretary & Registrar

I love connecting with students and being the first person they see when they come to counseling!

Educational/Professional Experience: 

I enjoy working with the Staff, Students, Parents and the Hoover Community to create a safe and healthy place for the students to be successful. This is my first year as the Counseling Secretary & Registrar at Herbert Hoover Middle School and was previously the Attendance Secretary/Registrar at Wayside Elementary School.  I look forward to working with everyone to have a successful academic year.  This is my 2nd year working at Herbert Hoover Middle School and I have been with MCPS for 5 years.

Personal interests: I like spending time with my family and friends, doing crafts and reading.

 

301-968-3750

Fax: 301-469-1165

8810 Postoak Rd, Potomac, MD 20854