JWES School Counseling

Meet Our School Counselors!

For Preschool - 3rd Grade Students and Families

Click here to visit my virtual office. Each image has a link for students to access a calming technique, tool or experience.

Katie Swartzendruber is excited to be part of the Jaguar team again this year as the counselor for preK-3rd grade. For Katie, it feels like coming back home as she attended JWES during her elementary education and graduated from Turner Ashby High School. Mrs. Swartzendruber studied at Eastern Mennonite University where she received her Master of Arts in Counseling in 2006. She worked for Loudoun County Public Schools for ten years, Augusta County Public Schools for four years, and is entering her second year here at John Wayland. She believes that every school, and every student, family and educator she has worked with over the last 15 years have shaped her philosophy of counseling and she continues to learn and grow through building relationships and engaging in professional development opportunities.

In her spare time, "Mrs. S" loves to be with her family and friends. She lives in Bridgewater with her husband, Steve, and kids, Noah and Lane. She loves to play the guitar and sing, enjoys baking, and growing many types of flowers. Mrs. S's door is always open to students and parents to make sure that they feel heard and understood. She knows that partnering with parents and teachers is a great way to facilitate a healthy, successful school experience and to help children develop a positive personal and learner identity. Please reach out, even if just to say hello, and certainly if you have concerns regarding your child's social and emotional wellness. You can reach Mrs. S by phone at (540) 828-6081, or by email at kswartzen@rockingham.k12.va.us. She looks forward to another year of getting to know the students and families in our JWES community!


For 4th and 5th Grade Students and Families

Mr. Nyce is a late addition to the Jaguar team. He hails from the other end of the county, having attended Broadway High School and occasionally visited TA as a student athlete (track and tennis) before working at Wilbur S. Pence Middle School for the 2018-19 and part of the 2019-2020 school year as a therapeutic day treatment counselor.

Mr. Nyce graduated from Eastern Mennonite University in 2018 with a dual degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and Divinity. He completed 2 units of Clinical Pastoral Education, with one placement at Craigsville Correctional Facility as a prison chaplain assistant and at Sentara RMH as a hospital chaplain intern. His second unit was at Bridgewater Retirement Community working with the memory care unit and palliative care, as well as an internship at Coffeewood Correctional facility. His practicum experience as a counseling student was at Shenandoah Academy, a since-closed school facility in Harrisonburg that served local children and adolescents with behavioral issues. As an intern in the counseling program, he worked with adult substance users and those struggling with mental illness as an outpatient counselor at the Harrisonburg Rockingham Community Service Board.

He has worked since worked as a therapeutic day treatment counselor and outpatient counselor, and is working part-time at Sentara RMH as a psychiatric evaluator in the emergency department, which has been interesting during the pandemic, to say the least. He always enjoyed working in a school setting since doing substitute teaching previous to and during his first 2 years of graduate school.

Mr. Nyce enjoys kayaking and hiking, and enjoys camping overnight on the weekends in local parks and wilderness areas. He also loves to take motorcycle rides with his father and uncle around West Virginia and into the Carolinas, as well as riding his bicycle in the nearby mountains. He enjoys playing board and table top games with friends, and badminton, tennis, and volleyball when the weather permits. He lives in New Market, at an old farmhouse on the South Fork of the Shenandoah River, and has one dog and cat.

You can reach Mr. Nyce by phone (540) 560-1364, email at mnyce@rockingham.k12.va.us or schedule a meeting here. He will make every effort to be available and responsive in these rapidly changing times. He is looking forward to working with all of the Jaguars, and the 4th and 5th grade students in specific!


Mission Statement

The mission of the school counseling program at JWES is to foster an equitable environment in which all students have access to a safe environment to learn and ultimately reach their potential. Our school climate fosters respect, appreciation and awareness of oneself and others. School counselors advocate for students, teaming with parents and staff to support the academic, personal/social and career development of students, encouraging them as they become lifelong learners and responsible, respectful citizens of their community and world.


Vision Statement

The students at John Wayland Elementary are well prepared for success in our ever-changing and evolving world. Recognizing that success looks different for each of our students, JWES Jaguars are taught the academic, personal, social and vocational life skills needed to make informed choices in the areas of relationships, continued education, and careers. The life skills that our students learn will prepare them to meet the challenges and expectations of the 21st century, leading fulfilling lives as responsible, respectful citizens.

What Does a School Counselor Do?

  • We provide classroom guidance lessons in the academic, career, and personal/social development of students

  • We provide students brief, solution-focused individual counseling

  • We respond to student needs in crisis situations

  • We facilitate groups with students on various topics, with parent permission

  • We work with and coordinate efforts with other school specialists and community resources, making community referrals when needed

  • We conduct conferences with parents


Why Do Parents Contact the School Counselor?

  • To talk about the individual needs of their child

  • Student crisis situations

  • To talk about barriers to student learning

  • New school transition

  • share family changes, transitions, significant life events

  • Issues related to mistreatment


How is a Student Referred to the School Counselor?

  • Self-referral

  • Teacher, administrator or staff referral

  • Parent referral

  • Counselor observation


What Do School Counselors Teach When They Go to the Classroom?

At JWES, classroom lessons are designed to develop rapport, trust and connection with students and to partner with teachers to help foster safety and comfort in the learning environment. When planning whole group lessons, social-emotional learning (SEL) is the main focus, while adhering to the American School Counselor Association's Mindsets & Behaviors as a guideline for standards to address while in the classroom. Click here to view the ASCA Mindsets & Behaviors for Student Success.