Our Stories

Alexis Herschthal Appointed Director of Student Support Services

June 1, 2016 by Naomi Reem (Faculty and Staff)

I am happy to announce the appointment of Alexis Herschthal to the newly created position of Director of Student Support Services. The new post is part of the restructuring of the school’s administration for the next academic year. As Director of Student Support Services, Alexis will integrate and manage the services provided to all students who need academic and/or social-emotional support, in addition to overseeing the teams that are now working side-by-side: Learning Support and Counseling.

Alexis has served as our Senior Guidance Counselor for the last five years. Throughout her tenure at JPDS-NC, she has formed strong, trusting relationships with teachers, students, and parents, establishing and maintaining secure foundations for making a positive impact on children and their families during each school year. She has provided social and emotional support across grade levels, through individual and group counseling sessions and guidance lessons in classrooms.

In addition to her work at JPDS-NC, Alexis provides therapy to children and adolescents through the Sibley Group in Friendship Heights during the evening and on weekends. Prior to joining our staff, Alexis provided counseling to elementary and middle school students in independent special education settings in the Washington area, including at Commonwealth Academy, The Episcopal Center for Children, and Kingsbury Day School, where she was the Lower School Counselor for four years. Through these experiences, Alexis increased her knowledge and understanding of learning differences as well as assessment and IEP processes, thus developing her capacities to support all kinds of learners and to ensure that they have the accommodations they need to thrive. Alexis is a licensed clinical social worker in the District of Columbia. She earned a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the Catholic University, along with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. She is a day school alumna, having attended the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School through middle school.

With JPDS-NC’s growth, the school has added part-time guidance counselors to the staff, and Alexis has ensured that her new partners have become well acquainted with families and quickly integrated into the life of the school. While overseeing the Guidance department, Alexis also supervised a student intern and provided training in mental health and school counseling.

Even as Alexis has focused on the social-emotional needs of our students, she has also worked closely with our learning support team in the Think Tank to address the overlap and interplay between students’ learning differences and their social and emotional challenges. By partnering with parents and teachers and collaborating with outside providers, Alexis has played an integral part in identifying a range of needs and in helping to secure meaningful interventions, both in and out of school, to help students grow and flourish.

With over a decade of experience working on special needs in independent school contexts – culminating in the last five years at JPDS-NC – Alexis is uniquely qualified to step into her new role as Director of Student Support Services and to work with our consolidated and growing department to integrate and oversee the academic and social-emotional support provided to our students. Using a strengths-based perspective, firmly rooted in the school’s educational philosophy and its deep faith that every child has the capacity to succeed, Alexis will ensure that we continue to engage our students as multi-faceted individuals and that we provide diverse learners with the opportunities and the support they need to reach their full potentials.

In addition to Alexis’s new role, we have made other changes to enhance our Student Support Services. Luz Uribe, currently our part-time Guidance Counselor, will increase her hours to full time next year, and a new part-time Guidance Counselor will join our staff. Think Tank Coordinator Tami Weeks will continue to work with students, teachers, and families in providing learning support, alongside Robin Kragen, our Learning Specialist; they will be joined by Tirza Kramer, who will return to JPDS-NC part-time next year, and will focus in providing learning support for Hebrew and Judaic Studies.

We are excited by the development of our Student Support Services to provide better, more coordinated, and more consistent support to all our students. We are confident that the new structure will significantly streamline communications, and help us better implement success plans and assess the effectiveness of interventions.

We congratulate Alexis on her new appointment, and thank our entire team for their devotion to our students and families. We look forward to working with Alexis and the entire Student Support Services team in helping ALL our students reach their potential, in all aspects of their lives.

We invite you to read the letter from Alexis on her new post as Director of Student Support Services at JPDS-NC.