Counseling & Mental Health

WHO are the School Counselors?

picture of brian neill

My name is Brian Neill and this will be my 14th year as the school counselor at Jason Lee Elementary.  I obtained my Master’s Degree in School Counseling at Heritage University in 2008.  Prior to being a school counselor, I was a teacher at Richland High School for 6 years.   I enjoy spending time at home with my two kids (10th and 12th graders) and wife (who is the art teacher at Jason Lee). What I love most about my work as a school counselor are the relationships I build with the staff, families, and students of the Jason Lee family.   


picture of kat tocco

My name is Kathryn Tocco and this is my 5th year as the school counselor at Jason Lee Elementary.  I received my Master’s of Education Degree in School Counseling from Montana State University- Billings in 2004. Prior to being a school counselor, I worked at Lourdes Counseling Center at the Children’s Day Program as their Social Worker for 15 years.  I was also the head Girls Swim Coach for Kamiakin High School for 5 seasons. I have three children: an almost 2-year-old toddler, a middle schooler and a high schooler; and a husband who works at PNNL. We enjoy spending time traveling back and forth to our cabin in Montana. I am loving my role as a school counselor and my daily interactions with all of the amazing students.  What I am enjoying the most is having the opportunity to develop a connection with all of the wonderful students, families and staff at Jason Lee.  

WHAT do the School Counselors do at Jason Lee Elementary?

Direct student services including:

  • Facilitate school-wide programs like PBIS (Cougar Store) and Kids at Hope to help promote academic & social-emotional development.

  • Weekly classroom SEL (social-emotional-learning) lessons:

  • Bullying classroom lessons in the month of October:

  • Small-group & 1:1 social skills instruction based on needs assessment.
  • Emotion Regulation or Friendship groups
  • Responsive service – Provide behavior support / de-escalation strategies as needed.

  • Individual student planning – Assist students in evaluating interests, abilities, skills, goal setting based on academic & social-emotional data.

  • Individual or small group counseling – short-term & solution/goal-focused counseling. *School Counselors do not provide therapy, however, we are trained to refer to outside agencies.

Indirect student services including:

  • Student Assistance Team (SAT)- Provide consultation/share strategies supporting student achievement with teachers, other educators & parents.  

  • Designing behavior support plans in collaboration with teachers, students, & parents when needed.

  • Guidance for students and families to school or community resources for additional assistance and information.

  • 504 Plan Coordinator – Facilitate the referral process for students who may require an accommodation plan for academic and/or behavioral success.

Tips for Parents

The American School Counselors Associations (ASCA) offers the following tips for making a connection with your child’s school counselor:

  • Discuss your child’s challenges and concerns. As a parent, you know your child best. However, a school counselor can help you better understand your child as a student. It’s important to encourage your child’s expression of needs, hopes and frustrations. School counselors are trained to help children navigate some of these issues.

  • Learn about your child’s school and social connections. When you need information or assistance, your child’s school counselor can help you get in touch with the appropriate school officials; learn about school policies on behavior, attendance and dress, navigate the school calendar, and stay connected with the school in many other ways. School counselors also can help you locate resources in the community when you need them.

  • Work with the school counselor to identify resources and find solutions to problems. If your child is having a problem at school, it’s important to problem solve with his or her school counselor. You can discuss resources available both within and outside of the school and get information on how such programs can benefit your child. Your school counselor can be a valuable partner in your child’s education and preparation for life beyond school.

If you would like to consult with either of us or seek our help for your child and/or your family, you can do so in the following ways:

We are looking forward to the 2023-24 school year and cannot wait to help our students reach their full potential! 

Brian Neill

Kathryn Tocco