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Yanna Jackson, Johnice Moore join counseling team

Inez Stephenson
HS counselors Johnice Moore and Yanna Jackson chat in Moore’s office. Both counselors joined the school this year but have previous experience in similar positions.

Yanna Jackson and Johnice Moore, who are both new to the school, have filled the two High School counselor positions since both of the previous counselors left to fill other roles. Moore previously worked as a l social worker at a school in South Carolina, while Jackson worked as a counselor for a charter school in New York.

Moore said the transition to the new position has been smooth so far with the support of Director of Student Life Royce Wallace, one of last year’s counselors.

“We are two new people and so we’re navigating these waters together, and I’m having a great time,” Moore said. “Dr. Wallace used to be in this role last year and having him here has been super helpful.”

Despite the unfamiliarity of the school, Moore said she is integrating into the community due to how friendly people have been. She said she has also participated in activities such as Livin London, Day Z and Back to School Night which have helped her connect with  the community. 

“Everyone has been really welcoming, so I don’t feel like I don’t know what I’m doing,” Moore said. “Kids are kids, wherever you are around the world.”

Jackson said she is still learning about the school and how the counseling department operates. 

“I think we’re still figuring it out, day by day,” Jackson said. “We are learning something new, learning like what was done in the past, or learning what could be different [from the past].” 

Luseni Conteh (’26) said counselors are important in the High School because they provide a space where students can talk openly about their feelings. 

“[They are there] to help you, if you need anything you can go to them,” Conteh said. “It feels like a safe space where you are able to go talk to them without feeling afraid.” 

Although Conteh said the turnover of both counselor positions requires a large adjustment, he has not noticed a “very apparent” difference in the counseling department so far.

Moore, who is assigned to students with last names L through Z, said she is “committed to meeting everyone.” She has already visited some Grade 10 health classes, reached out to students on Google Chat and sat in the cafeteria at lunch. 

However, Moore said it is challenging to meet and talk with students at a convenient time. 

“[Students] have really busy schedules,” Moore said. “Usually in my other school I could just pull students out of their classes, but I like how focused everyone is.” 

Jackson, who is assigned to students with last names A through K, also said she wants to get to know students and their requirements. 

“The biggest thing is understanding the needs from students,” Jackson said, “I like to see what the role could be, or how it could be helpful to best support students.”

HS counselor Yanna Jackson meets with Zade Grandinetti (’26) to discuss the start to the school year. Jackson is attempting to meet with all students on her caseload to check in with them one-on-one (Inez Stephenson).

Conteh said he has met Jackson, but thinks the administration has not done enough to introduce the counselors to the student body. 

“Most people don’t know them because they haven’t got a formal introduction like ‘these are our two new counselors’ in an assembly or something,” Conteh said. 

Jackson said she is very excited for the year ahead and getting to know more of the students. 

“[Students] are just so very kind to each other and also just very conversational,” Jackson said. “Everyone has such interesting interests and backgrounds, and I just like getting to know you all.”

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