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SCHOOL COUNSELORS 

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Travis Pete, MA

School Counselor

Travis is a Master's level Mental Health Counselor and military veteran whose counseling journey began in both juvenile and adult correctional facilities.  Through this experience, he has gained extensive knowledge in providing support to individuals facing a range of mental health challenges. He specializes in supporting individuals facing behavior issues, as well as those who are at risk or have experienced trauma.

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Laura Benefield, MA

School Counselor

Laura Benefield has worked with children and families for over 20 years.  She brings passion, energy, and a sense of humor to her work with students in the school setting.  Focus of therapy work includes Social Learning Theory, DBT, and CBT skills to support youth in building resiliency, self- regulation skills, and emotional management. 

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Jeffery Harshbarger, MA

School Counselor

Jeffery works in the school setting utilizing his abilities in mental health counseling and person centered, individualized approaches.

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Ellen Faulkner, MA

School Counselor

Ellen works in the school setting utilizing her abilities in mental health counseling and person centered, individualized approaches.

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Darla Kirkland, MA

School Counselor

Darla works in the school setting utilizing her abilities in mental health counseling and person centered, individualized approaches.

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Sonia Gonzalez

MSHS., MSEd., School-Based Counselor

Sonia provides counseling in the schools of Marion County utilizing her abilities in mental health counseling and person centered, individualized approaches.

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Charity Baxley, MA

Licensed Mental Health Counselor Intern

Charity is a Master's level Mental Health Counselor and a former educator. She has worked with all ages and has a passion for working with children and adolescents. Charity uses many different therapeutic approaches including Solution Focused Therapy and CBT to meet her clients where they are on their struggle with behavior/family issues, anxiety, peer conflict, and thoughts of self-harm. 

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Derrick Gillespie, MA

School-Based Counselor

Derrick is a Masters Level counselor and military veteran. He works in the school setting and has a great deal of passion for the treatment and recovery of the students he works with. He utilizes DBT and person Centered Therapy.

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Christina Medina, MA

Licensed Clinical Social Work Intern

Christina is a master's level Social Worker who began her work as a peer coach for children and adolescents. She provides group prevention education and counseling both in the school and community.

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Deanne Blueter, MA

School-Based Counselor

DeAnne has worked with children and families for 24 years in a social work and family support capacity in addition to her occupation as a college psychology professor. She has worked with children of all ages with her concentration being on elementary school-aged children and their parents. She currently works in the school setting utilizing her abilities in mental health counseling using a variety of techniques including cognitive behavioral and play therapy to help children be successful in school and other areas of their lives.

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Tashica Bonfield, MS

School-Based Counselor

Tashica provides counseling in the school where she conducts play therapy, psycho-education, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), mindfulness-based therapy, and person-centered therapy to promote healthy social/emotional regulation and positive coping strategies.

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April Russell, LCSW

School-Based Counselor

April is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker providing mental health counseling to children in Marion County Public Schools. April earned her Master of Social Work degree at Saint Leo University in 2020 and is passionate about working with children. April creates a safe space for children to express themselves and learn how to navigate their challenges using a strength based approach.

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