Meet the Counselors
6th Grade School Counselor
Mr. Damion Strong
Mr. Strong was raised in Lakeland, Florida. His educational pursuit led him to Tallahassee, Florida where he attended Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, FAMU and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education and a Master of Education degree in Counseling. He has been a Counselor for 16 years and enjoys motivating and influencing students to believe in themselves, seek greatness and to always remember, “failure is NOT an option”.
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7th Grade School Counselor
Mrs. Claudia Black
Mrs. Black is originally from Colombia and now calls Florida home. She received her Master of Guidance and Counseling from Nova University and has been a school counselor for the past 10 years. She enjoys working with students to help them transition into a new country, new culture, new language, and new school environment. At the same time, she works on their personal and social skills, home and life situations, and to help them become successful and productive students. Mrs. Black has two adult children and lives in Palm Beach Gardens with her husband and dog Ollie.
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8th Grade School Counselor
Ms. Herele Oakley
Ms. Oakley serves as a Professional School Counselor with twenty-plus years of experience guiding kindergarten to high school students. She earned her Master's in Guidance and Counseling from St. Thomas University in Miami, FL, and is certified in Educational Leadership from Nova University, Davie, FL.
In 2012, the Florida School Counseling Association named Ms. Oakley the School Counselor of the Year.
In 2015, Ms.Oakley was honored at the national level as an American School Counseling Association School Counselor of the Year Semi-finalist.
Ms. Oakley believes in a comprehensive school counseling program (Following the ASCA National Model) that addresses all students' academic, social/emotional, and career development needed to achieve learning and lifelong success. She cultivates a supportive, safe, equitable school environment in which students are treated with respect and demonstrate inclusion and acceptance.
Ms.Oakley strives to support students, parents, and teachers to ensure student success. In her spare time, Ms.Oakley enjoys spending time with her family and enjoys a little competition on the tennis courts.
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ESOL School Counselor
Mrs. Nayda Odigie
Mrs. Odigie was born and raised in Puerto Rico. She came to the United States at age 16 and was an ESOL student herself. Mrs. Odigie has been working for the Palm Beach County Schools for ten years and as the ESOL/bilingual school counselor for the past five years. She earned her Master’s degree from Florida Atlantic University and is pursuing a specialist degree also at FAU. Mrs. Odigie enjoys helping her students and their families navigate the social emotional changes of a new academic system, a new country and social environment.
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ESOL School Counselor
Mr. Paul Mathias
Mr. Mathias is a Haitian-American educator. For the past 19 years, he has been working as a school counselor in Palm Beach County. He was born, raised and educated in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. He came to the U.S. when he was 21 years of age. Mr. Mathias earned his bachelor’s degree in French, his master’s in Counselor Education both from FAU. He also earned a specialist degree in Educational Leadership from Liberty University Online. Mr. Mathias is completing a Ph.D. program in Religion with a concentration in Christian Counseling at Bethany Divinity School and Seminary. His aspiration is to make a difference in others’ lives and bring about change in society one person at a time.
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