By Christopher Roberson
After 20 years at Lynnfield High School (LHS), Kathryn Moody was recently chosen as the new director of the school’s Guidance Department.
“I am honored to have been given the opportunity to step into this position,” said Moody. “While I know there will be challenges ahead, the Lynnfield community is such a strong advocate for education, it makes going to work a really great experience.”
Regarding staffing for the 2018-2019 school year, Moody said Samantha Pindara will be joining the department as a new counselor and Kristen Dee will be returning to fill the adjustment counselor position. “Kristen worked for LHS part-time in this role several years ago, and we are thrilled to have her come back,” said Moody.
She said Counselor Scott MacKenzie and Secretary Patricia Brangiforte will be returning in the fall, having worked together for the past two decades. Moody also said that Clerk Gina Gustafson will not be returning in the fall as her position was cut during the budget process.
In addition to the continuation of Breakfast with Guidance and evening programming, Moody said, she and her staff will be exploring new ways of engaging with students during the school day. “The students are our main focus; we are looking to offer more workshop-style programs in order to be able to reach out to more students,” she said. “We are also working on getting more involved with both Freshman Orientation as well as our school-wide Compass Program.”
Moody also said conversations regarding students’ social emotional well-being “have become stronger and more frequent” in the aftermath of the school shootings in Connecticut, Florida and Texas. “There’s much more of a sense of being proactive rather than reactive; that’s a noticeable change even from when I first started many years ago,” said Moody. “We are spending more time working with the various support teams within the high school to get to know our students better and to potentially identify a student who needs support or who may be in crisis.”
She also said the Guidance Department has been communicating with the other schools in the district to “get a sense of how students are transitioning.” “We are working to balance the sense that LHS is a safe place to be with the reality that tragedies are very real and we are not immune to them,” she said.
Prior to starting at the high school in 1998, Moody spent five years as an assistant admissions director at the University of New Hampshire. “My time there gave me exposure to working with both high school students as well as guidance counselors,” she said. “I worked to recruit students to the university and in that capacity, I had a lot of direct contact with students and families around the college admissions process.”
However, something was missing, which ultimately, is what drew her to Lynnfield. “While I loved this work, once the freshman class was brought in, I moved on to another senior class,” said Moody. “I was missing the follow-through piece.”