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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JULIE MENDELSON

Resource Counselor (Department Chair) & 504 Coordinator

I have been a counselor at Hoover for the past 9 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 will be my 20th 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.

DEBBIE VELASQUEZ

6th Grade Professional School Counselor

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. I came to Hoover last year.


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.

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ELIZABETH WHITING

7th Grade Professional School Counselor
(long-term substitute)

Educational/Professional Experience: I am a retired Montgomery County Public School counselor.  While I have worked at all three levels, my work in Montgomery County was as an elementary school counselor.  My BA and MA degrees are from the University of Iowa.  I grew up in a small Iowa farming community. 


Professional interests: Since my retirement, I have enjoyed using my education as a substitute counselor in elementary and middle school.  I find that if the counselor must be out for any length of time, the school really needs someone in that position.  Counselors in any school face a big variety of issues and responsibilities.  Providing student support for these many needs helps to ensure student success and positive development.  Supporting students is my primary focus and I find this rewarding.


Personal Interests: I was recently certified as a docent at the National Portrait Gallery.  I’ve always loved reading and have been in the same book club for decades.  I have biked in RAGBRAI, kayaked in Glacier Bay, canoed in the Boundary Waters, and hiked over the Thorong La pass in Nepal.  I love traveling and have taken advantage of my retirement leisure time to do just that.

MIKE HOPKINS

8th 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 2nd year at Hoover and my 2nd 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 just finished my 2nd Master's in Clinical Psychological Science at UMD and hold licensure in Maryland as a Licensed Graduate Professional Counselor (LGPC).  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: Racquet sports, attending concerts, Baltimore & UMD athletics, cuisine, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, casual music-making

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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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DEB KUNZLE

Counseling Secretary & Registrar

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

Educational/Professional Experience: This is my 8th year working at Hoover.  I have served in MCPS for 30 years.

Personal interests: Spending time with my family, taking trips, going to the beach

ANNE MARILL

Professional School Counselor (on leave)

Bio coming soon!

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301-968-3750

Fax: 301-469-1165

8810 Postoak Rd, Potomac, MD 20854