Palmetto State School Counselors Association Conference

January 20-22, 2022

The Weston Hilton Head Island Resort & Spa
Two Grasslawn Avenue
Hilton Head Island, SC 29928


Thank you for attending the PSSCA Conference. We hope to see you next year!


The Princeton Review has been helping schools help students for more than 35 years. As the college admissions process becomes more competitive every year, we provide students with the tools they need to get into their dream schools. The Princeton Review is proudly partnered with schools across South Carolina that enjoy free resources and discounted programs for middle and high schoolers. To learn more please contact, South Carolina’s outreach specialist, Stefanie Scarano at or at 919.391.4453.

A small, public university in a coastal setting that enrolls more than 2,000 students from around the world, the University of South Carolina Beaufort is a dynamic and vibrant academic community that serves the South Carolina Lowcountry and beyond.

For more information please contact Mack Palmour, Vice Chancellor of Enrollment Management at or at 843.208.8055.


QuaverEd, a world leader in online curriculum development, is a Nashville-based provider of innovative education resources, including Social Emotional Learning, General Music, Full-Day Pre-K, Health, and more! Quaver’s comprehensive curricula uses the power of interactivity, humor, and music to engage today’s students. Professional Development and College programs are also available.

For more information please contact Sean Smith via email or at 615.585.0337.

The College Funding Coach® was founded in 2002 to help families better understand the complex strategies for saving and paying for college, making higher education more affordable. Through our free comprehensive educational workshop, Little-known Secrets of Paying for College, The College Funding Coach® team has helped thousands of elementary, middle and high school families save and pay for college without going broke! During this time of uncertainty, significant changes to the FAFSA, and lingering questions, The College Funding Coach has an unwavering focus on adding value for the parents, counselors, friends, and families we know and meet. For more information please contact Michael Russell at or at 919.360.8347.

Millions have trusted the Cross and Shield for their health coverage.  You can too when you choose Healthy Blue as your Medicaid plan.  Receive great benefits such as free eye glasses, girl scouts and boys scouts discounts, free diapers and much more!  Learn more about

For more information, please contact Letitia Lindsay at

DialCare is a virtual and telephonic counseling service. You can give your students ages 11 and older access to mental health assistance no matter where they are. Members can use their phone, tablet or computer for sessions with mental health professionals from the comfort of their home or on the go. Let our mental health professionals help give you peace of mind. For more information contact Becca Bean, Assistant Vice President via email.

The South Carolina Governor’s School for Science + Mathematics (GSSM) connects motivated young learners and rigorous STEM instruction with in-person opportunities in our two-year, tuition-free, in-residence Residential program as well as online from the comfort of home with our STEM Foundations program. Both programs provide an exceptionally strong academic preparation for success and achievement in a wide range of future pursuits.

For more information please contact Ashley Koontz, Enrollment Coordinator, at or at 843.383.3901.


Our advisers are based right here in South Carolina, and our loans are exclusively for South Carolina students and parents as well as students attending local schools. We are out in the community, meeting with parents, hosting events at high schools and visiting college campuses. We offer families and school leaders trustworthy, transparent and personalized service because we’re truly invested in your and our state. We’ve been helping South Carolina students achieve their goals for over 40 years. We believe expanding your educational experiences will open doors and put you on an exciting path. We’re proud to support you along the way.


With RV sales increasing and more and more Americans taking to the road to enjoy the outdoor lifestyle, skilled RV technicians are in high demand. The RV Technical Institute’s hands-on training and instruction, created by top RV industry experts, provides the experience and expertise needed by manufacturers, dealerships and repair shops nationwide.

For more information please contact Curt Hemmeler, Executive Director, via email or at 800.664.0154.

ACT is a mission-driven, nonprofit organization dedicated to helping people achieve education and workplace success. ACT is trusted as a leader in college and career readiness, providing high-quality assessments grounded in 60 years of research. ACT offers integrated solutions designed to provide personalized insights that help individuals succeed from elementary school through career. For more information please contact Chris Lefevre, Client Relations – South Carolina at 319-512- 8922 or
AmeriCorps brings people together to serve communities. AmeriCorps members serve directly with organizations and nonprofits to tackle South Carolina’s most pressing challenges. Through our 21 programs, we provide benefits for members, including education awards, living allowances, and supplemental health insurance. Benefits vary by program. Did you know 75% of students start their college career as undecided or change their major? Help guide your students to success by becoming AmeriCorps members where they can find opportunities that are right for them. All while receiving benefits for their service, growing professionally and personally, and developing a network that lasts a lifetime. For more information please contact Megan Hobbs, External Affairs Manager, at or at 803.200.7113.

SCUTA is used by school counselors and school districts to develop a data-driven, evidence based school counseling program. It follows the ASCA National Model® recommendations and offers confidential, comprehensive documentation and use of time analysis system. It is an invaluable tool for School Counselors who want to do best practice, keep accurate records and develop a data driven school counseling program.
School Counselors using SCUTA, have the ability to clearly illustrate the nature of their work and school needs with supervisors and stakeholders.

For more information please contact Cathy.

Harmony SEL is a social and emotional learning program for Pre-K-6 grade students, accessible online and at no cost. Harmony fosters knowledge, skills, and attitudes boys and girls need to develop healthy identities, create meaningful relationships, and engage productively by providing SEL learning resources, tools, and strategies. For more information please contact Lindsay Volpe, Ambassador, via email or at 718.673.1794.
Erskine College has been preparing students for lives of learning, service, and leadership for more than 180 years. As a Christian liberal arts college, we educate students for careers, but more importantly, we prepare them for their life’s calling. Class sizes are small, so professors know their students and seek to build mentoring relationships with them. Faith and learning are integrated in the classroom at Erskine, and we make the spiritual growth and development of our students a priority.

The ASVAB Career Exploration Program (CEP) is a free comprehensive career planning resource designed to help students nationwide to align their strengths and interests with a post-secondary plan that works! This program is specifically designed for students in grades 10-12, and all post-secondary students. ASVAB CEP can provide important information to help students get on the right path toward a satisfying career.

For more information please contact Shonda Carter, ASVAB Career Exploration Program Manager, at or at 803.740.3548.



Thursday, January 20 | 2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

The Pre-Conference Learning Sessions include additional opportunities for more professional development and CEU contact hours. The sessions generally cover more in-depth information and allow more opportunity for discussion. These sessions are not included in the conference registration fee. Sessions are at a minimal fee. Space is limited for all sessions. Interested participants are encouraged to register early.

All Pre-Conference sessions are being held at the same time, so you may only choose one session to attend.

What’s Inside Your Backpack? Setting Aside What We’re Not Meant to Carry

Jessica Sinarski

Thursday, January 20 | 2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.


SPEAKER BIO: Jessica Sinarski, LPCMH equips parents and professionals to be healers for hurting children. Weaving user-friendly brain science into everything she does, Jessica ignites both passion and know-how in audiences. Extensive post-graduate training and 15+ years as a clinician, consultant, and parent educator led her to create BraveBrains, a resource and training platform for home, school, and community. She is also the author of the Riley the Brave picture books and What’s Inside Your Backpack?

Jessica partners with school districts and child welfare agencies across the country to better incorporate effective trauma-sensitive practices into their work. She also shares her expertise as a contributor to magazines, blogs, and podcasts. When not writing and training, she continues to work as a bilingual therapist and clinical supervisor at an innovative adoption support agency.

ABOUT THIS SESSION: Join Jessica as she presents What’s Inside Your Backpack?: Setting Aside What We’re Not Meant to Carry. The weight of stress, worry, and trauma can have lasting impacts on both body and brain. This shows up in every area of school life – from the classroom to the lunchroom to the staff lounge! Take some time to dig into your backpack and learn strategies to set aside the “books” you’re not meant to carry. Participants will learn concrete tools for lightening the emotional load for staff and students. Trauma-expert and author Jessica Sinarski weaves in the latest brain science to make this inspirational session a lasting change-maker!

Considering Culture: Creating a Safe Place for ALL Students and Staff

Melisa Marsh

Thursday, January 20 | 2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.


SPEAKER BIO: Melisa Marsh, Ph.D. currently serves as the Supervisor of School Counseling for the Cobb County school district in Marietta, GA., where she coordinates the development and supervision of school counseling, student advisement, crisis response, and Hospital Homebound programs. She has 17 years of experience in filling the roles of Georgia State High School Counselor, Supervisor of Counseling, and School Counseling and Advisement Consultant. Melisa received her Ph.D. in Counseling Education and Personnel Services and her Specialist Degree in School Counseling from the University of Georgia. She received her Advanced Masters in School Counseling Program from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Marsh has also written a book entitled 15-Minute Focus – SUICIDE: Prevention, Intervention, and Postvention. Missy lives in the Atlanta Metro area with her husband and puppy. In her spare time she enjoys traveling, yoga, cycling, running, hiking, and spending as much time outdoors as possible.

ABOUT THIS SESSION: Join Melisa as she presents Considering Culture: Creating a Safe Place for ALL Students and Staff. Exploring culture can be an uncomfortable conversation for many individuals. However, this true exploration is needed in order to create a safe place for all students and staff. In this training, participants will: 1. Examine how our own culture and identity factor into the way that we serve our students, 2. Understand how culture and diverse identities influence student learning, and 3. Learn strategies for creating a safe, respectful, and inclusive environment.

Integrating Social and Emotional Learning with Career Development to Prepare College and Career Ready Students

Leigh Bagwell

Thursday, January 20 | 2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.



Leigh Bagwell most recently served as the Director of School Counseling Services at the Tennessee Department of Education. She has led transformational work in school counseling throughout the state through the revision of the school counseling model and standards, the creation of a regional peer support network, and the launch of a dedicated communications channel for counselors, supervisors and administrators. As a school counseling leader, her mission is to provide school counselors with the training and resources needed to deliver high quality, student driven, data informed comprehensive school counseling programs to all students. She believes counselors and school leaders need to work together more deliberately. This collaboration is critical to ensure that all students have access to the opportunities and supports they need to successfully move through their elementary, secondary, and postsecondary education into their chosen career.

In addition to her work in Tennessee, Leigh has shared her experiences and knowledge with school counselors and school counseling leaders across the country as well as working with the American School Counselor Association. After teaching school counseling graduate students at Middle Tennessee State University, Leigh was inspired to pursue counselor education. She is currently working on her doctorate in Counselor Education and Supervision at the University of Tennessee. Leigh is also the author of the book 15-Minute Focus – ANXIETY: Worry, Stress, and Fear.


Join Leigh as she presents Integrating Social and Emotional Learning with Career Development to Prepare College and Career Ready Students. When preparing students for success in postsecondary education and the workforce it is important that they have academic and content knowledge and training. College and career readiness begins with early exposure and awareness to a broad range of career fields and employability skills. It also includes helping students connect what they are learning in the classroom to their dreams and future career goals. Another important component of college and career readiness is social and emotional development. Self-awareness, self-management and interpersonal skills are critical to students’ transition to postsecondary and the workforce.

College and career readiness continues to focus on the development and refinement of both academic and social emotional skills. It also broadens the scope from just knowing about different careers to exploring the high demand opportunities in their communities, aligning personal interests and aptitudes to career fields, and identifying specific pathways to move successfully from secondary to postsecondary to the workforce. These skills will not only prepare them for success in the workplace, but also success in both secondary and postsecondary education.

Because school counseling programs integrate academic preparation, social and emotional development with college and career readiness, school counselors are uniquely positioned to lead this important work. It begins by ensuring that school counselors have strategies and practices that will deepen their students’ understanding of the world of work and connect it to their school and life experiences. School counselors will increase their capacity to provide high quality school counseling services and support students as they move along their chosen pathways to and through secondary and postsecondary education and on to the workforce.


Closing the Attitude Gap: How to Fire Up Your Students to Strive for Success

Principal Baruti Kafele

Friday, January 21 | 12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.


SPEAKER BIO: A highly-regarded urban public school educator in New Jersey for over twenty years, Principal Kafele distinguished himself in the classroom and as a school leader. As an elementary school teacher in East Orange, NJ, he was selected as the East Orange School District and Essex County Public Schools Teacher of the Year. As a principal, he led the transformation of four different schools, including “the mighty” Newark Tech, which went from a low-performing school in need of improvement to recognition by U.S. News and World Report Magazine as one of America’s best high schools. Currently, Principal Kafele is one of the most sought-after speakers for transforming the attitudes of at-risk student populations in America.

ABOUT THIS SESSION: Based on Principal Kafele’s best selling book, Closing the Attitude Gap: How to Fire Up Your Students to Strive for Success, Principal Kafele asserts that the various gaps in student achievement continue to rank amongst the most important discussions in education today. Equally important for educators is the continued lack of student motivation, undesirable student behaviors and apathy towards achievement across racial, ethnic and socioeconomic lines. In this high energy, interactive session, Principal Kafele argues that one of the greatest difficulties to closing the various achievement gaps is the overwhelming assumption that achievement is in fact, the problem. He says that the achievement gap is a consequence of the failure to adequately address what he calls, the Attitude Gap (the gap between those students who have the will to strive for academic excellence and those who do not) that continues to persist in American classrooms. Principal Kafele contends that unmotivated, underachieving children are actually “most brilliant and most highly capable” but their attitudes toward themselves, toward learning and toward the prospects for their futures are preventing them from striving to maximize their potential. He says that when educators therefore make the transformation of their students’ attitudes toward themselves, learning and the prospects for their futures a priority, the probability for their achievement increases exponentially! Principal Kafele will provide educators with strategies within a framework for closing the attitude gap toward the ultimate elimination of underachievement in their classrooms and schools. He will simultaneously challenge educators to look honestly within themselves toward ensuring academic success through the following: environment for learning, attitudes toward students, relationship with students, compassion for students and relevance in instruction.


PSSCA Charity

Lowcountry Orphan Relief

The mission of Lowcountry Orphan Relief is to provide support services and aid to meet the needs of Lowcountry children identified as at-risk or suffering from abandonment, abuse and/or neglect. The vision of Lowcountry Orphan Relief is that no child should be without the basic necessities in life, regardless of their life circumstances.

PSSCA has chosen Lowcountry Orphan Relief as their charity for the 2022 Annual Conference! Please consider making a donation to help us reach our $700 goal!