This year Marshall welcomes four new counselors to Student Services. Get to know them a little better below!
(Alphabet Range: A-BN)
Mustedanagic has been a counselor for three years. He first worked at a Florida high school, and spent last year with South County High School in FCPS. Having moved from school to school, Mustedanagic said he understands the instability some students might be feeling this year.
“Because I’ve been at three different schools, I’ve been in this position three different times, so I’m really familiar with taking over a role,” he said. “What I would say is just: we’re gonna work together.”
Mustedanagic said he was originally a nursing major.
“I knew I wanted to help people and advocate for people,” he said. “But I didn’t necessarily know how.”
After beginning clinical trials and interacting with patients, Mustedanagic said he didn’t feel fulfilled as a nurse.
“Then there was a patient struggling with the loss of her son, and I just naturally gravitated to wanting to speak with her and console her,” Mustedanagic said. “After having that moment…I knew I wanted to focus more on human behavior and social emotional [learning].”
Mustedanagic said he is also a fan of sports—especially football.
“I’m actually a Jacksonville Jaguars fan,” he said. “They’re not good. But ever since I was a kid, they’ve been my team, and I’ve stuck with them.”
This year Mustedanagic said he is looking forward to getting to know his students on a personal level.
“We all have different interests,” he said. “So just getting to know the student beyond the school setting, and then sharing that about me as well…I’m really just trying to open my door to everyone.”
Haley A. Wess
(Alphabet Range: BO-DUD)
Wess began her first year as a practicing counselor this year. She completed her counseling practicum (practical internship) in Fluvanna County and has a masters in education from the University of Virginia.
Her practicum was at a community lab school, an elementary school that experimented with new counseling practices. There were about 200 students and one counselor.
“200 is a really good sample size for research,” Wess said. “So we got to try different things, implement new things, take data. And then if [the idea] worked well, it was rolled out to the rest of the county.”
Wess said she worked on a program at the school called “Wellness Wednesdays,” where students learned about healthy eating.
“That was really cool because I got to know students on a different level,” she said. “Which I know might not always seem like a lot and sometimes, people might even be like, ‘Why are you doing this?’ but it was like a cool way to connect with students. So I’d love to try and do something like that [again].”
Though counseling is her career, Wess said she is also interested in rock climbing, writing, and painting.
“I recently just started painting on like, pretty big canvases,” she said. “And my dad does a lot of woodwork, so we made a little front table for my old department. That was really fun for me..”
Wess said she even designed some of her own tattoos.
“[On] this side it’s the planets; it’s my family” Wess said. “My mom is the Sun, my dad is the Moon, and then I have three different planets, one for each one of my siblings. I picked their favorite one. So this one will be like my little space sleeve.”
Trying new things is important, Wess said, and she encourages everyone to put themselves out there this year—especially new students.
“This is like so cliche, and they’re gonna hear this like a million times from everyone else,” Wess said, “but just getting out there and not being afraid to talk to other new people…that’s like the best thing anyone can do.”
(Alphabet Range: LB-MUN)
After time spent earning a graduate degree, working in middle schools, and advising college students, counselor Meghan Greidinger is back where she grew up.
Greidinger attended Lewis High School as a student and was attracted to working in a similar area.
“The idea of coming back closer to home after being far away for a while felt nice,” Greidinger said. “I also just really loved the interview that I did here.”
Although formerly a teacher, Greidinger said she was more interested in counseling.
“I realized in my teaching experience that I really prefer small group and one-on-one interactions with students,” Greidinger said. “One of my favorite things about school counseling is you get to do that academic piece, but you also get to do the social emotional piece.”
Greidinger said she also enjoys hiking and rock climbing.
“Especially when I lived in Waynesboro, I did a ton of hiking,” Greidinger said. “I did a 52 hike challenge where I did 52 [hikes] in a year and that was really cool.”
Back in the classroom, Greiginger said she is excited to engage with her students more.
“I’m looking forward to meeting and getting to know all [students],” Greidinger said. “They’re always welcome to stop by.”
(Alphabet Range: RAL-SR)
Counselor Troy Burton worked as a counselor for the past ten years and as an English teacher before that. Previously, he worked in Maryland, Georgia and DC. He said he enjoys working with his students and wants to get to know them, especially seniors.
“I’m gonna talk one on one with each one of my seniors to get to know them,” Burton said. “I’m gonna take copious notes, and then I’m going to use that knowledge combined with what they fill out in the [senior information packet] to give them the best recommendation—because you have some darn good students here at this school.”
Burton said he has connected well with students in the past, represented by student art collected in his office over the years. One piece is especially important to him.
“That was done by one of my students, and it’s incredible,” Burton said. “He lived in an area that was not very good and very rough around the edges…He came here days he needed a break. We just talked, we just talked about anything.”
Eventually, Burton said, he decided to become the student’s mentor.
“I grew up with him and I saw him graduate,” Burton said. “And his senior year, he did a painting and he said, ‘Mr. Burton, I’m gonna do a painting of you.’ That’s his portrait of me….And I said, ‘You know what, I’m going to keep it, every job I go to. I’m going to put it up in my office.’”
He said his experience with that student showed him the importance of being a counselor.
“This is what made me feel like I made a difference,” he said.
When Burton worked for DC Public Schools (DCPS), he said he heard about Marshall and thought it would be a good place to work.
“I waited until the opportunity came for Marshall,” he said. “I’m not just particular about Fairfax County, I’m not just particular about any high school, I’m particular about this high school.”
He said Marshall is the school for him because of its diversity, opportunities, and the IB program. He also said he is thankful to be here.
“I got 425 emails,” he said. “I got people coming in all the time. And we have a college visit tomorrow, and a lot of other stuff. But I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I’m doing so much work here. And I love it.”