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.
Alex Paszt, Assistant Principal of Student Services
Stephen Buchs, Assistant Principal for Student Behavior and Environment
I attended the University of Wisconsin-Platteville and the University of Wisconsin Stout. I have a Bachelors of Science degree in Technology Education where I started my professional education career. I started my teaching in School District U-46 and taught at Bartlett High School. I sponsored and coached multiple clubs, sports, and activities during my 12 years at Bartlett. I worked at Waubonsie Valley High School for one year sponsoring the robotics team and building sets for both the plays and musical during that year. I spent the remainder of my teaching career at Woodstock North High School building the PLTW program and competitive technology skills for students. During my teaching years, I continued my personal learning by obtaining a Masters of Arts degree in Educational Technology from Aurora University followed by a Master of Arts in Educational Leadership from American College of Education. I am a passionate educator who embraces technology and enjoys working with students on creating goals that set them up for success.
Brian Melvin, Last Names A – Dr, Dual Credit Students
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
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
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
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 – Lav, 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!
Sophia Baier, Last Names Law – Z, Life Skills Students, EL Students
I received both my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in School Social Work at Aurora University. I have been a school social worker at Woodstock High School for the past seven years, however this past year I stayed home full time to take care of my two daughters, ages one and three. Fun fact, I was originally born in Ukraine and speak fluent Ukrainian! I have always been passionate about mental health and helping others. Throughout my experiences of working at a therapeutic day school prior to obtaining my degrees, as well as interning at Suicide Prevention Services, I discovered my passion for social work and working with adolescents. As a school social worker, my goals are to support and empower students through various challenges that they face, as well as identify and address barriers that may be impacting their academic performance. I believe in the power of connection, collaboration, and building meaningful relationships. I am so excited to get to know the students and families at Central High School this year!
Madeline Tomlinson, ALOP
As a certified school social worker at Central High School, I provide social/emotional counseling support and help assess the needs of students. I have experience with students ranging from kindergarten through 12th grade. I started at CHS in 2014 and I enjoy being a part of the D301 community. I earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Drawing from NIU and a Master of Social Work from Aurora University. My door is always open here at CHS for anyone who needs a helping hand!
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
I grew up in Michigan and received a Bachelor’s of Science with an emphasis in Speech-Language Pathology at Grand Valley State University. In 2014 I moved to Illinois to attend graduate school at Midwestern University. Here I received a Master’s in Speech and Language Pathology in 2016. Since then I have worked in multiple therapeutic day schools, a pediatric clinic, and a skilled nursing facility. I have worked with clients as young as 3 weeks old through 90 years of age. I joined the Central Rockets in 2019 and provide services for students who are working on expressive/receptive language, social language, fluency/stuttering, articulation, and augmentative and alternative communication.
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.