Guidance and Counseling

Providing Support

Systematically addressing academic, social, emotional, spiritual, and college/career concerns is the foundation of the Westminster Guidance and Counseling Department.

Whether meeting individually with students to work through personal struggles, guiding students and parents toward a successful four-year academic plan, working in the classroom to present developmentally appropriate guidance lessons, or hosting parent education events, the counselors do their best to proactively reach out to students and families during their time at Westminster. While they provide short-term counseling to students in need, they also offer referrals to outside agencies and individuals who can provide more extensive support.

Meet the Counselors

The Guidance and Counseling Department is an integral part of the Westminster community.

The staff – made up of three professional school counselors and two college and career counselors – utilizes a Christ-centered, comprehensive approach to school counseling. Guidance and Counseling is committed to helping students recognize their God-given uniqueness and understand and develop the gifts that He has given them.

Our Counselors


Martha Hyland
Upper School Guidance Counselor / 314.997.2901, ext. 6453

Martha graduated from Missouri Baptist University with a B.S. in history and an M.A. in counseling. She served as the school counselor at Twin Oaks Christian School for the past six years. Martha graduated from Westminster in 2001.


Karen Aaberg
Administrative Assistant – Guidance and Counseling Department / 314.997.2901, ext. 6130


Suzanne Goff
College Counselor / 314.997.2901, ext. 6474

Suzanne graduated from the University of Missouri with dual degrees in English and religious studies, and she received her M.A. in guidance and counseling from Southeast Missouri State University. She has worked in university admissions, new student programs, and orientation, as well as in a variety of community outreach capacities. She and her husband Jay have two children at Westminster: Mia (10th grade) and Vaughan (9th grade).


Lori West
College and Career Counselor / 314.997.2901, ext. 6460

Lori received a B.A. in social work from Grove City College and earned her M.S. in school counseling. She worked for six years as the K-12 school counselor at Twin Peaks Charter Academy in Longmont, Colorado. She and her husband Jim have four sons: James, Calvin, Drew, and Sam.


Mollie Pfuetze
Middle School Guidance Counselor / 314.997.2900, ext. 6454

Mollie comes to Westminster from Central Christian School where she served as the upper and lower elementary school counselor for six years. From 2003 to 2008 she served as the middle school counselor at Westminster. Mollie has a B.S. in education from the University of Tennessee and an M.A. in counseling from Covenant Theological Seminary. She and her husband Mark have two daughters Mallory (5th grade) and Bright (kindergarten) and a son Hampton (3rd grade).


Planning Ahead

Westminster’s comprehensive five-year college counseling program provides parents and students the opportunity to work toward a post-secondary plan that is best suited for every future graduate. A guided college search process begins in the spring of the junior year.

View and print a College and Career Counseling Calendar.


Time Management Tips for your Student

  • Use a “Planner.” Use a planner to keep track of your homework assignments and upcoming projects. In your planner, keep a To-Do List, with highest priority items at the top.
  • It’s Okay to Say “No.” If your neighbor asks you to baby-sit on a Tuesday night and you have a test the next morning, realize that it’s okay to say no. Prioritize, prioritize!
Learn More
  • Find the Right Time to Study. Figure out what time of day you do your best work. For example, if you are more alert in the afternoon, it is probably best to do your homework shortly after you get home from school. However, if you need time to reenergize before doing your homework, then set some time aside to relax before getting started.
  • Don’t Waste Time Worrying. Sometimes stressing about an upcoming project or test can waste hours that could be spent working or studying. Instead of worrying, use that mental energy to get your work done!
  • Be Realistic. While it’s good to set high standards for yourself, be sure not to overdo it by setting unrealistic goals that can set you up for failure. If you create a reasonable schedule, you’ll have a better chance of achieving your goals.
  • Sleep! Even though it might not seem like it, a good night’s sleep is an important factor in managing your time wisely. Your brain needs time to relax and refresh so that, when it’s time to work, you can do so efficiently and to your best ability!

Adapted from The College Board’s “8 Ways to Take Control of Your Time”

The Transition

As students make the transition from Middle School to Upper School, questions or concerns might arise about the change in schedule and workload, the change in social dynamics, and what the next four years will look like.

If you or your student ever need to speak to a counselor about this transition, please contact us so that we can offer our support to help make it a positive experience!

Each year will bring new changes as your student continues to grow and develop. Following is a brief description of what to expect as your student moves through Upper School.

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 9th Grade 

Social dynamics change for both males and females, resulting in new ways to navigate friendships. Be available to support and talk to your student about these changes. Expect to see more interest in guy/girl relationships. Talk about this as a family and set reasonable, age-appropriate limits on guy/girl activities.

10th Grade 

Students start driving, and some say that adolescents score lower on impulse control and decision making at this time than at any other time of development. Talk with your student and set limits regarding their driving privileges.

11th Grade

Students sometimes feel a lot of stress as they manage a challenging upper school curriculum, along with preparing for college admission. This is a good time to talk with your student about the importance of balance in life, managing stress, and trusting in God’s plan for the future.

12th Grade

Senior year continues to challenge students academically. They desire even more autonomy, yet the transition to post-secondary plans can produce anxiety. This is a good opportunity to encourage your student to focus on the strengths that God has given him or her. Conversations about finances, how to make decisions, and time management are also important!

Monitoring Your Student’s Social Media Usage

Parents, as you know, monitoring your student’s social media is an ever-challenging problem as new and sometimes dangerous apps are constantly being developed. You might find this article helpful when it comes to monitoring his/her social media usage.

Please let us know if we can be of any support to you or your student.

In His grace,

Craig Walseth

Today’s Teens and Social Media

At the November Class Activities Meeting, Westminster counselors explored parents’ specific anxieties about their teens’ use of social media. They offered resources to help parents stay informed about the rapidly changing world of technology, as well as suggestions about how to monitor a teen’s social media use.


Because the middle and high school years do not come with a manual, you may find these resources about the adolescent/teen years and parenting helpful.


Learn More

Adolescent Development and the Teenage Brain




  • Kids in the Middle
    A non-profit organization that provides counseling, education, and support for kids and families when parents decide to separate and divorce
  • Damage Control for Teens by Mark Gregston, on September 4, 2009


  • Annie’s Hope
    A non-profit organization that provides support services for children, teens, and families grieving the death of a loved one

Mental Health

  • Teens Health
    Provides information about the signs and symptoms of teenage depression and bipolar disorder, as well as resources for those ready to reach out and get help
  • National Alliance on Mental Illnesses
    Provides information about mental illnesses, as well as resources for those in need of help

Parenting and Family

  • Parenting Today’s Teens with Mark Gregston
    Find helpful blog posts or sign up for weekly emails. Mark Gregston is the founder and executive director of Heartlight Ministries, a Christian residential counseling program for struggling teens.
  • Center for Parent/Youth Understanding
    A nonprofit organization committed to building strong families by serving to bridge the cultural-generational gap between parents and teenagers
  • Focus on the Family
    Provides Christian advice and resources on the topics of marriage, parenting, faith, and family

Recommended Books for Middle School Parents

  • Your Ten to Fourteen Year Old by Louise Bates Ames, Ph.D.
  • Emotionally Intelligent Parenting: How to Raise a Self Disciplined, Responsible, Socially Skilled Child by Maurice J Elias, Steven E. Tobias, & Brian S. Friedlander
  • Teen Tips: A Practical Survival Guide for Parents with Kids 11 to 19 by Tom McMahon

Recommended Books for Upper School Parents

  • The Price of Privilege: How Parental Pressure and Material Advantage Are Creating a Generation of Disconnected and Unhappy Kids by Madeline Levine, Ph.D.
  • Why Perfect Isn’t Good Enough: Strategies for Coping with Perfectionism by Mary Pipher, Ph.D.
  • The Pressured Child: Freeing Our Kids from Performance Overdrive and Helping Them Find Success in School and Life by Michael Thompson, Ph.D.

Social Relationships and Relational Aggression

  • Princesses and Bullies by Mark Gregston, August 20, 2009
  • Queen Bees and Wannabees by Rosalind Wiseman
  • Best Friends, Worst Enemies: Understanding the Social Lives of Children by Michael Thompson
  • Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Lives of Boys by Michael Thompson
  • Mom They’re Teasing Me by Michael Thompson, Lawrence Cohen with Catherine O’Neill Grace

Study Skills

  • The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens by Sean Covey
  • How To Study
    Offers free articles and tips to improving study habits
  • Study Guides and Strategies
    Public service website that offers information on effective study habits.