School Counseling Department

Welcome to the SHS School Counseling Department! All Somerville High students are assigned to a school counselor during their time here. The School Counseling Department team members are here to support students and families as students progress through high school and beyond. Below you will find information about many of the programs and services we provide. If you have additional questions, please do not hesitate to contact your student’s counselor.

Click here to schedule an appointment with a school counselor

About Our School Counseling Team

Kelly Albrecht, Highland Community Bilingual School Counselor (students with last name LH-N)
Ms. Albrecht completed her undergraduate studies at Saint Anselm College. She holds an Ed.M. in Community Education Leadership from Boston University and a M.A. in Bilingual School Counseling from New York University. She has over a decade of professional experience which ranges from higher education admissions and recruitment, family engagement, program management and student services. In her free time you will find Ms. Albrecht exploring New England, cooking yummy recipes, and spending quality time with her family. 
Melanie Banks, Beacon Community School Counselor (students with last name CHH-F)
Melanie is originally from Connecticut. She holds a B.A. in History from Marist College and graduated from the University of Connecticut with an M.A. in Educational Psychology and concentration in Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology. In 2022 Melanie became a School Counselor for the Beacon Community after spending her first couple of years as a College and Career Counselor at Somerville High School. Outside of school, you can find Melanie exploring local community events.   
Simone Braga, Somerville High School Registrar & Data Supervisor
Mrs. Braga has been working with Somerville Public Schools since 1999. She joined the staff at Somerville High School as the School Registrar in 2018. Prior to that, she worked as a Parent Liaison at the Enrollment Office (formerly PIC), a home visitor for the Parent-Child Home Program, and a Computer Instructor for ELL students at SCALE. She has over 20 years of extensive experience working with diverse populations within the community, actively promoting family engagement, and managing student data and records within the public school system. She earned a Bachelor's degree in Organizational Leadership and Management from Lesley University and an Associates Degree in Computer System and Database Administration from Bunker Hill Community College. She is currently a candidate for her Master of Science in Management at Lesley University. Mrs. Braga is fluent in Portuguese and Spanish and loves spending time with her family and friends, dancing, and traveling to new places. 
Lindsey Dobbins, School Counseling Department Chair
Ms. Dobbins is the School Counseling Department Chair at Somerville High School. Lindsey has spent the past 16 years in Melrose as an English teacher, school counselor, and the Administrator for Counseling and Student Services 6-12. She holds a B.S. in Business Management from Providence College, a MAT in Teaching Secondary English from Northeastern University, a CAGS in Educational Leadership from Salem State University, and an M.Ed. in School Counseling from University of Massachusetts Boston. Making students’ educational journeys as positive as possible in her roles as teacher, counselor, and administrator has been Ms. Dobbins’s focus throughout her career. She is thrilled to be able to continue this path at SHS. When she isn’t working, Ms. Dobbins loves to read and attend her sons’ sporting events.
Anne Eden, Elm Community Multilingual School Counselor (Newcomers in the MLE Program)
Anne has been the MLE (Multilingual Learner Education) School Counselor at Somerville High School since 2007 and speaks Spanish and Russian. She received her bachelor’s degree in Science from McGill University and her Master’s degree in Educational Psychology from University of Arizona. Ms. Eden helped start the Community Service Club at Somerville High School in 2009 and then was the volunteer coordinator at SHS. She is now the only school counselor in SHS's first specialized community - Elm - focusing on meeting the needs of recently-arrived immigrant students and their families. In her free time, Ms. Eden loves to read, volunteer, knit, and crochet, and spends most of her time with her two young sons. Follow her on social media: @school_counselor_eden (Instagram) and @ELLCounselor (Twitter).

Anne Irwin, General Education Adjustment Counselor

Melanie Kessler, Director of College & Career Readiness
Melanie is the Director of College and Career Readiness for Somerville Public Schools. Melanie is originally from New Jersey. She holds a B.A. in Elementary Education and Human Development from Boston College and an M.Ed. in School Counseling from Suffolk University. Melanie began her career in Boston Public Schools as an elementary school teacher. After that, she spent five years at a nonprofit organization in Boston that helped underserved students access and succeed in higher education. Melanie came to Somerville Public Schools in 2014 and is thrilled to be able to help Somerville High School students succeed in a variety of post secondary paths. Outside of school, she enjoys spending time with her husband and daughter.
Justin LaBerge, Beacon Community School Counselor (students with last name A-CHE)
Mr. LaBerge has been a High School Counselor since 2007 and has been at Somerville High School since 2011. He received his bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Criminal Justice from the University of Connecticut in 2003 and his Master's degree in Counseling Psychology and Counselor Education from the University of Colorado at Denver in 2006. Mr. LaBerge is a National Certified Counselor (NCC) through the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC). He is the Beacon Community counselor and works with students with the last name A–Che. In his free time, Mr. LaBerge enjoys spending time with his family and friends and hiking and backpacking the White Mountains.
Cathy Maguire, Broadway Community School Counselor (students with last name SAL-Z)
Ms. Maguire joined Somerville High School as the School Counselor for Broadway Community in 2007. She holds a B.A. in Human Services with a minor in Spanish from Simmons College, a graduate certificate in Nonprofit Management from Northeastern University, and an Ed.M. in School Counseling from Boston University. Prior to her work in Somerville, Ms. Maguire worked in a Boston public high school for five years doing college preparatory and post-secondary planning with students. Ms. Maguire is the recipient of a Coca-Cola Scholars Educator of Distinction Award, a Yale Educator Award, she was named a Margaret Addis Memorial Scholar by the New England Association for College Admission Counseling, and she received the Elizabeth B. Rawlins Award for Excellence in Human Services. Outside of school, Ms. Maguire enjoys running, spending time at the beach, and playing with her dogs.
Elly Mullins, Rise Program Coordinator/School Adjustment Counselor 
Ms. Mullins is the Rise (formerly Redirect) teacher/counselor at Somerville High School. Ms. Mullins holds an undergraduate degree from Hampshire College, a Master of Arts in Teaching from Simmons College and a Master of Social Work degree from Boston University.  Ms. Mullins spent the beginning of her career working as a middle and high school English teacher before joining the counseling side of education.  Outside of school, Ms. Mullins can be found hiking, building and creating, or running around town with her son.     
Alyssa O'Donnell, General Education Adjustment Counselor    
Ms. O’Donnell earned a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the College of the Holy Cross and a Masters in Education with a concentration in Counseling from Boston University. She started working at Somerville High School in 2018 in Special Education and has recently switched roles and joined the School Counseling Department as an Adjustment Counselor. Outside of school, you can find her playing with her dog, spending time with family and friends and cheering on Boston sports teams.

Julie Phylis, School Counseling Administrative Assistant and Testing Coordinator

Jeremy Rischall, Highland Community School Counselor (students with last name G-LE)
Jeremy has a B.A. in psychology with a minor in education from Curry College and a Master's of Science in Applied Ed Psychology with a specialization in school counseling, and a Master's of Education with a concentration in learning instruction and assessment from Northeastern University. Jeremy Rischall started his career at SHS in Elm House in 2016. Over Jeremy's career he has worked as a college counselor/school counselor in both the Boston and Newton Public schools. Most recently, Jeremy worked in higher education at Northeastern in advising/admissions with international students entering the university. Jeremy loves fishing, kayaking, cooking (mainly using a grill or smoker), and watching the Pats and all other Boston sports.
Natalia Ruiz Toro, Broadway Community Bilingual School Counselor (students with last name O-SAI)
Ms. Ruiz Toro is one of the Somerville High School Counselors. She was born in Bogota, Colombia, where she studied Science and Speech Pathology at Rosario University. In Colombia, she worked helping students with learning disabilities and speech rehabilitation. In 2014, Ms. Ruiz Toro moved to Boston to attend Cambridge College where she completed her Masters in School Counseling. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family, latin dance, road biking and weight lifting.
Kayla Schutte, College & Career Counselor
Ms. Schutte joined Somerville High School in 2022 as a College & Career Counselor. She started her career in education as a college access advisor and is excited to be back in a role where her focus is supporting students with post-secondary planning. As a high school student, she thought she wanted to be an engineer so she went to Worcester Polytechnic Institute where she earned a B.A. in Environmental Studies. It wasn’t until a few years later, after two years in AmeriCorps, that she decided to become a school counselor and earned an M.A. from Xavier University. Prior to working in Somerville, she was a high school counselor in Maine and Massachusetts. Outside of school, she enjoys spending time with friends and family, daydreaming about opening a bakery, hiking, and exploring local parks.

Department Brochure

English, Spanish, Portuguese, Haitian Creole


To facilitate the academic, personal/social, and career development for all students through a School Counseling Program that is comprehensive, preventative, and developmentally appropriate.

Core Values

Strengths-based, Comprehensive, Developmental, Preventative, and Proactive

Bound by Confidentiality

A counseling relationship involves the development of trust and confidentiality, which must not be breached by the counselor except where there is bullying or a clear and present danger to the individual receiving counseling, or to other persons. The counselor may share information gained during the counseling process in essential consultation with other appropriate persons specifically concerned with the individual. Confidential information may be released only with the consent of the individual being counseled, except when required by law or when a clear and present danger exists.