Counseling Services

Every student at Bishop O'Connell High School is assigned a professional school counselor who is available throughout the school day to assist the student with social, emotional, spiritual and academic support, as well as guide students through a comprehensive college readiness program. Students are assigned a counselor for 9th and 10th grade, and then receive a new counselor for 11th and 12th grade.

Academic Counseling


The counselors at Bishop O'Connell work with students throughout the school year to provide academic counseling and academic advising. Beginning in their freshman year, all students will work with their counselor to create their 4-year academic plan. While this may change from year to year, it gives students a picture of what they can do to progressively build on their academics. As students progress through high school, they will need to make many academic decisions such as course selection, college-preparatory course selection, time management and study skills. These decisions should be consistent with the student's long-term goals.


College Counseling

The college admissions process presents many challenges and can, at times, seem confusing, frustrating and disappointing. It can be both an exciting and stressful time for students and their families as hopes and dreams meet the reality of the always increasing competitive landscape. The college admissions process is neither transparent nor predictable – yet it is able to be managed. Whether students hope to attend a four-year college immediately or are considering other options post-graduation, the goal of the Counseling Department is to help each student find the match which best suits their needs.

At Bishop O’Connell, the counseling department works as a team with students and their families in preparing for future goals. We work carefully with each student throughout the process, encouraging him or her to approach the process as young adults, to take advantage of resources and advice and to find the best college matching each student’s developing talents, passions and goals.Throughout their careers at O’Connell, students will be educated on how to assess their strengths, weaknesses, needs and values. Students will learn to take ownership of their academic experience and create a plan meeting their personal needs.

The counselors serve to help students in a number of ways in the college planning process:

  • In understanding the admissions process
  • In accurately evaluating their achievements and aspirations
  • Assisting in the gathering information about colleges/universities and programs
  • Assisting in making informed and not arbitrary choices in future plans
  • Helping students in presenting themselves effectively, both in person and on paper, in the college admissions process

As our students begin to think about colleges, we ask that they keep in mind there is no one “perfect” college. A school does not have value simply because it has a “name” or appears on a magazine’s "Top Ten." Your college search is just that—yours. Students are encouraged to think about their goals, talents, accomplishments and interests before even beginning to evaluate a school to determine if it is right for them.

This is a very exciting time in the lives of young people and there have never been so many wonderful collegiate opportunities available. The college process should be a community effort with parents, teachers, advisors, counselors and friends all working together to support our young men and women as they begin to take control of their futures.

Social/Emotional Counseling

Today’s students are living in an exciting time, with an increasingly diverse and mobile society, new technologies, and expanding opportunities. Adolescents face unique and diverse challenges, both personally and developmentally, that impact academic achievement. Throughout the school year, students may face various Social or Emotional issues that affect their ability to concentrate on academics. Counselors are available to assist students with concerns and with crisis situations. With the exception of crises, students need to make an appointment in advance with their counselor. Counselors confer with our Chaplain when spiritual direction is necessary. Below are examples of reasons students may seek a counselor for social or emotional reasons:

• Transitioning to high school and being happy
• Crisis situations
• Sorting out problems
• Making healthy decisions
• Concerns with family, friends, teachers
• Self-harm
• Harassment/bullying
• Education in understanding self or others
• Effective social skills
• Handling peer pressure

Programs & Resources for Students and Parents

First Year Experience

The counseling department works with the faculty and administration to host orientation programs for new students and their families.

Parent Coffees

Parents are invited to monthly grade-level coffees on a variety of topics important to the school community.

Parent Information Nights

Parents attend dedicated evening sessions on topics such including college admissions, NCAA sports eligibility, military academies and ROTC, and financial aid at the college level.

Student Programs and Resources

Grade-specific in-school seminars include: study skills workshops, career focused guest speakers, on-site visits by college representatives, and senior seminars on preparing for college life.

Additional Resources

By logging in to MyDJO, parents and students can find copies of recent presentations, timely college updates, and other important links and resources.

CLICK HERE to access counseling resources.

Counseling Staff

Mrs. Sara Coon
Administrative Assistant

Ms. Katherine Hurley
9th Grade:  A - G 
10th Grade:  A - F

Mrs. Anne "Nina" Kuziel
9th Grade: H-O
10th Grade: G-O

Ms. Nathalie Scarbrough
9th Grade: P-Z
10th Grade: P-Z

Mrs. Kristina Herbst
11th Grade: A-F
12th Grade: A-D

Ms. Tracey Leipold
Director of Counseling

11th Grade: G-J
12th Grade: E-K

Mr. Thomas "Mac" Kimmitt
11th Grade: K-O
12 Grade: L-R

Dr. Daniel Stabile
11th Grade: P-Z
12th Grade: S-Z

Ms. Robin Saracina
Educational Data Analyst

Phone: 703-237-1460
Fax: 703-241-9066

- 47-135

Parent and Student Resources

CLICK HERE to access counseling resources.

Upcoming Events