Meet the Student Services Team
The Student Services Department is composed of a team of service providers dedicated to meet the educational, social, and emotional needs of CHS students.
Patrick Podgorski Assistant Principal of Student Services
Brian Melvin, Last Names A – Dr, Dual Credit Students
Back to School Video (Mr. Melvin)
I attended North Park University in Chicago and studied Physical Education and Business. I started my career in the corporate world, however, in coaching football I realized that I was happiest when I was working with high school students. I went back to school to become a school counselor. I graduated from National Louis University and worked for four years at East Aurora before coming to Central High School. I am extremely proud to be a school counselor and head football coach at Central!
Gina Tauer, Last Names Du – Lav
Back to School Video (Ms. Tauer)
I completed my undergraduate degree in Performing Arts Management from Columbia College Chicago and started my career as an Event Coordinator. While working on the side as a coach, I quickly realized my passion is working with teens, which led me to pursue a Masters degree in School Counseling from Lewis University. I started my counseling career at Riverside Brookfield High School as a long-term substitute counselor for two years and then spent two years as the school counselor at Hinckley Big-Rock High School. During my counseling experience, I have been a Varsity Poms Coach, JV Volleyball Coach, Junior and Senior Class Sponsor and NHS Coordinator. I am extremely honored and excited to now be a School Counselor at Central High School and look forward to the year ahead!
Rachel Ginter, Last Names Law – Ry, Life Skills Students
Back to School Video (Ms. Ginter)
Ever since I was a high school student, I knew I always wanted to become a School Counselor; it was through the relationship I had with my high school counselor that inspired me. I enjoy connecting with students by providing a positive learning environment. I now have a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Northern Illinois University and a Master’s degree in School Counseling from National Louis University. I am also a National Board Certified Counselor, a Licensed Professional Counselor and am currently working towards my clinical license. I started my career working as a Therapist in a therapeutic day school followed by a vast school counseling experience working at Elgin High School, Prairie Ridge High School, Libertyville High School, and West Leyden High School. I’m grateful my path has led me to Central High School and I look forward to working with all my students!
Megan Marciniec, Last Names Sa – Z, EL Students
Back to School Video (Mrs. Marciniec)
I completed my undergraduate degree from the University of Iowa and upon graduation spent 7 years in the health and fitness industry. During that time I was introduced to the world of coaching and I am now in my 17th year as a high school cheerleading coach. Coaching propelled me into the world of education and I obtained my Masters degree in School Counseling from National Louis University in 2014. I worked as the AVID Coordinator at Rolling Meadows High School before coming to CHS as a school counselor and cheerleading coach this year. I love sharing my experiences with my students and look forward to what the school year will bring.
School Social Workers
Cara Bussman, Last Names A -G, Dual Credit Students
As a school social worker, my goal is to provide social and emotional support to students in order to help them navigate the obstacles they face in adolescence. I assess the needs of students and families in order to assist in removing any barriers to their success. I received my Bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology and went on to receive my Master’s degree in Social Work at Aurora University. I have completed two internships in the high school setting, the first at West Aurora High School and the second at Addison Trail High School. I am excited to work with the students at Central High School and look forward to the year ahead!
TBD, Last Names H – O
Sophia Baier, Last Names Law – Z, Life Skills Students, EL Students
DeLena Byanski, ALOP & Life Skills Students
Additional Student Services Staff
Elizabeth Covington, School Psychologist
Originally from Long Island, NY, I graduated in 2011 from the State University of New York (SUNY) College at Potsdam. I double majored and received a Bachelor’s degree in psychology and English creative writing. After graduating, I decided I wanted to become a school psychologist. I attended Adelphi University and graduated with my Master’s in School Psychology in May 2015. I moved to Illinois and worked in an elementary school in Oswego, but realized I really loved working with older kids and looked for a position in a high school. I joined the Central Rockets in 2016. As a school psychologist, I provide specialized support in the areas of student learning, behavioral intervention, consultation, and assessment. I work as a data coach and help guide interventions and instruction on data-based decisions.
Jeff Herman, RtI Coordinator
I attended Illinois State University majoring in Health Education and minoring in Physical Education. I then earned a Master’s degree in Educational Administration from Aurora University and also completed 28 Master’s level School Counseling hours at NIU. I started working at CMS in 1996 as a Health and PE teacher, then later spent 10 years as the Student Services Director and Athletic Director. I’ve also coached football for 20 years with the Panthers feeder program. I currently serve as the Response to Intervention Coordinator. I teach 3 sections of College and Career Prep class and coordinate all intervention programs at CHS including ELA and Math Momentum, Credit Recovery, and Summer School.
Trent Lange, Speech/Language Pathologist
I have worked in D301 since 1997 as a speech pathologist for all but five years when I was principal at Lily Lake Grade School. In that time I have worked in every building in the district except for Prairie Knolls. I graduated from NIU with a degree in Communicative Disorders in 1990. I obtained master degrees from NIU in Speech Language Pathology in 1992 and Educational Administration in 2004. I have been the speech language pathologist at CHS working with students with language, articulation, fluency (stuttering), and voice impairments since the 2012-2013 school year and currently also provide services at Central Middle School.Amanda Alfaro, Speech/Language Pathologist
Melissa Baumgartner, School Nurse
I received my nursing degree at the College of DuPage and have been a rocket since 2012 when I returned to the workforce full time. I spent 13 years raising my three daughters which included nursing, teaching, volunteering, and coaching both volleyball and softball. In addition to my employment here I also work as a private duty nurse for a family in Mt. Prospect. In my desire to serve people and help them to be healthy, I also run a medical mission that serves the poor in Guatemala. I make two trips a year with my team to provide healthcare to the indigenous mayan population in eastern Guatemala.