New counselors join Lewistown Schools

By 
Miriam Campan
Reporter
Friday, August 27, 2021
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Steve Zieglowsky

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Shalon Wilson

Garfield and Highland Park Elementary, along with the Lewistown Junior High School, welcome new school counselors to the district: Shalon Wilson and Steve Zieglowsky. Both counselors bring years of education and experience in meeting the needs of children whether in elementary school or transitioning through Junior High School.

Shalon Wilson at Garfield and Highland Park schools
Since 2003 Wilson has been involved in one capacity or another in meeting the social and emotional needs of the youth and families of Central Montana. She began her journey by serving the children of Central Montana Head Start as a home-based traveling teacher, visiting families from Roy to the local Hutterite colonies. Wilson later transitioned to an in-house teaching position at Head Start for two years.
On her Head Start experiences she said, “I loved those little children.”
Moving on from Head Start, Wilson accepted a mentoring position through the local Yellowstone Boys and Girls Ranch.  
She said, “At YBGR I mentored kids and provided support for both the child and the family in and out of the home.”
Wilson also was a part of YBGR’s Comprehensive School Community Treatment program. Wilson was frequently seen in the hallways of the elementary schools, through her work with CSCT, providing therapeutic support for children, school personnel and families.
She continued to counsel children and families as an agent for Child Protective Services and Families United. Wilson was responsible for securing court-ordered parent visitation times and for monitoring the interactions between family members during the visit. After a long and difficult family visit, Wilson took the long road home and decided on a different path for her life. She applied to be a substitute teacher and decided to return to school, as a student herself, in pursuit of a Master’s in school counseling, a vision that will be realized this coming December.
“I was terrified my first day subbing at the high school. Turned out these kids were great,” said Wilson.
Wilson’s two years as a substitute teacher covering all grades further prepared her for new role as the K-3 school counselor at both Garfield and Highland Park Elementary schools.
On her substitute experiences she said, “The kids were the best part. I got to sub these last two years, in all grades, I have a great amount of respect for educators.”

Wilson anticipates some challenges in her new position, one being getting to know the school population. She will be working both in and out of the classrooms, conducting whole class, small group and individual lessons on social and emotional strategies unique to a younger population.
She said, “There are so many issues for children this day and age. Just being there and making one little person’s life better is what I want to do.”
She added, “I can’t wait to get the year started. It’s an honor to work with school counselor Ashley Jenness, and school principals Mr. Ventresca and Mr. Lewis.”

Steve Zieglowsky: School counselor and LCPC
Finding Lewistown was like finding home for Steve Zieglowsky and his family.
“My wife has family in northeast Montana. We’ve been through Lewistown numerous times and we really liked the town. When I saw the opening for school counselor, I applied and made the transition to a new home and a new position,” said Zieglowsky.
Prior to moving to Lewistown, Zieglowsky and his family lived in the Bitterroot Valley.
“I was a supervisor for a counseling program where I went up and down the Valley, but I missed working with kids,” he said.  
Junior high students are Zieglowsky’s favorite age group. With his daughter Olivia starting middle school this year, one of his concerns is whether his daughter would think it is too weird to have a dad as a counselor.
Zieglowsky said, “The junior high student population is so excited about school. There is a lot for them to figure out, in particular, with their personalities that blossom during middle school. It’s my job to help them navigate that process.”
His main responsibilities at the junior high school are counseling students on emotional regulation and teaching coping skills, instructional strategies for academic success and stretching their imaginations towards selecting a career path.
“It’s helping kids discover what their natural talents are. They have a lot of challenges to navigate, like dating and how to set appropriate boundaries,” he said.
Adding to the stress of a junior high student is coming back to school after COVID.
Zieglowsky said, “I think the biggest challenge for this first year is helping kids get back on track. COVID disrupted their lives.  Kids are coming back in a more fragile place.”
According to Zieglowsky, being a male counselor in a predominantly female profession means he can offer a welcome new perspective.
 “I can offer students a lot of normalization. To have a male as a counselor can create some openness and can also model good behavior and healthy friendships. Male counselors provide a strong support,” he said.
Zieglowsky has a Masters in school counseling and is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor qualified to provide psychotherapy and other counseling services to treat mental, behavioral and emotional problems for children, adults and families.

 

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