Our Counselors

Enlightium Academy counselors collaborate with teachers to ensure students are provided the attention they need to succeed in an online learning environment, schedule courses to meet graduation requirements, and provide academic and/or emotional support.

Enlightium counselors are trained to review and evaluate a wide variety of incoming student documentation: report cards, transcripts, entrance assessment scores, and any additional documentation (health records/academic assessment and evaluation documents). At the high school level, the counselor then collaborates with parents to develop an individualized 4-year plan and provide guidance with a career choice, and assist with college admission. For grades PreK-8, the counselor assigns courses based on the student’s grade level and interests.

Families who prefer to speak with a counselor prior to enrolling with Enlightium Academy may schedule a consultation with an Enlightium Academy counselor. Discounts do not apply to counselor consultations.

Meet Our Counselors

Prospective Student Consultations

Parents who prefer to speak with a counselor prior to enrolling with Enlightium may schedule a consultation with an Enlightium counselor.

Each consultation consists of a 30 to 60-minute session with a qualified Enlightium counselor to discuss your student's unique situation—including evaluating transcripts and other appropriate documentation you provide—to discover how Enlightium can benefit your student, and what enrollment with Enlightium will look like in your circumstances.

Schedule Your Counselor Consultation



  • $75




  • $75




  • $150


Discounts do not apply to counselor consultations.
Have questions about enrolling? Contact us at (866) 488-4818 // option 2.


Additional Counseling Resources

Education, Career, & Life Readiness

Enlightium counselors use a grade-specific comprehensive Education, Career, and Life Readiness (ECLR) curriculum via the Naviance platform. ECLR lessons provide a blueprint to prepare middle and high school students for success after graduation and provide students with the necessary tools to persevere toward their long-term goals. 

Students in grade 8 will have the opportunity to explore who they are and how their talents, aptitudes, and interests could lead to their ideal career. It provides lessons on using their strengths, goal setting for success, teamwork, stress management, time management, and more.

Students in high school (grades 9–12) will have the opportunity to continue to enhance their skills in goal setting, time management, stress management, and career planning. Students will explore their post-high school education options, networking, budgeting, financial options including scholarship searches, internships, and the college admissions process.

Naviance Platform

More than 10 million students rely on Naviance to achieve key readiness milestones and answer critical questions, such as:

  • Who Am I?
  • What Do I Want to Be?
  • How Will I Get There?
  • Will I Be Successful?

Enlightium counselors follow the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) model of counseling while guiding students in self-discovery, skill development, career exploration, and college and life planning activities using the Naviance platform.

Naviance accounts for grades 6–7 are provided upon request and grades 8–12 will be provided a Naviance account alongside course assignment.

Enlightium students in grades 9–12 are required to complete ten hours of community service annually to fulfill Enlightium's graduation requirements.

Both the Naviance and x2VOL platforms are provided as part of most tuition packages.

High School Counseling

Enlightium counselors provide proactive, comprehensive, and developmentally appropriate support to students in grades 9–12. By partnering with parents, Enlightium enables students to become fully engaged in the educational process.

Enlightium high school counselors use the ASCA model of counseling to structure programs geared at equipping students to be active stakeholders in the pursuit of their academic, career, and life goals. They assist with course planning to help students meet credit requirements for graduation and prepare for their beyond high school plans.      

The Enlightium high school counselors keep students informed about upcoming events that are related to career pursuits and college admissions. However, it is important for students and parents to take ownership in filling out college applications, scholarships, financial aid, and to communicate to their counselor if assistance is needed.

Additional Resources

In case of emergency when Enlightium counselors are not available, please utilize the following resources: 


Students can visit RemedyLive.com when our counselors are not available (such as nights and weekends) or if students want to remain anonymous in their conversation. This organization, while not affiliated with Enlightium, is available for young students who need help.

Soul Medics is also available through chat or text. They provide testimonies and words of encouragement for students experiencing abuse, bullying, depression, and more.

2-1-1 First Call for Help

2-1-1 First Call for Help counselors assess the needs of the caller and offer the most accurate information, provide resources, and make referrals to the agency and program that can best meet their needs. You can dial 2-1-1 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

National Suicide Hotline

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a suicide prevention network of over 160 crisis centers that provides 24/7 service via a toll-free hotline with the number 1-800-273-8255. It is available to anyone considering suicide or who is experiencing emotional distress.

High School Counselors

Hillary Benedict

Ms. Hillary Benedict, M.S.

High School Counselor, Student Last Name: A-C
Director of School Counseling and Guidance

Ms. Benedict graduated with a Master’s of Science degree in School Counseling in 2019. During her time there, she became invested in working with high school students on social-emotional issues, particularly anxiety, and post-secondary planning. She began working with Enlightium Academy in 2019. She is state and ACSI-certified.

Ms. Benedict graduated from Western Washington University with a bachelor’s degree majoring in Business Management and minoring in English. While she was in the business world, she began volunteering with the youth program at her church and teaching Junior Achievement classes in local elementary schools. This fostered her passion for encouraging and working with students and led her to attend Eastern Washington University. She believes in fostering nurturing, encouraging relationships with students and parents and loves seeing students grow through cooperation and learning self-advocacy.

In her free time, Ms. Benedict loves taking long walks with Hank, her golden retriever, reading, spending time with her friends and family, writing, baking, and trying new foods and recipes.

"Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life."
Psalms 143:8

Not yet enrolled and would like to speak with a counselor? Schedule a counselor consultation session.

Alicia Whitaker

Mrs. Alicia Whitaker, M. Ed., LCMHCA

High School Counselor, Student Last Name: D-G

Mrs. Whitaker graduated from Liberty University in 2021 with a Master’s of Education in School Counseling. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in 2017 from Guilford College, majoring in Criminal Justice and minoring in African American Studies. Mrs. Whitaker has always been committed to helping and guiding youth toward positive achievement. She started her career as a state licensed School Counselor in elementary and has also worked with high school students as an intern. Mrs. Whitaker is ACSI certified.

Mrs. Whitaker is married with two daughters. She enjoys spending time with family telling stories, laughing, and playing games. She also loves cooking (feeding people) and going on vacation. She is passionate about encouraging students to be their best selves while gaining an education that can be carried through any life journey.

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
Isaiah 41:10

Not yet enrolled and would like to speak with a counselor? Schedule a counselor consultation session.

Monica McCune, M.S.

Ms. Monica McCune, M.S.

High School Counselor, Student Last Name: H-K

Ms. McCune graduated from Houston Baptist University with a Masters of Arts in Psychology and a Certificate in School Counseling in 1992. She earned a Bachelors Degree in Elementary Education in 1987 at Pan American University in Edinburg, Texas. Ms. McCune knew from a young age that working with children was her calling and believes that building relationships is the key to success in education. Ms. McCune is ACSI certified.

Ms. McCune has two adult sons and recently became a grandmother. She and her family love all things outdoors, especially in the mountains of Colorado. She loves to cook and enjoys running a small antique business.

Ms. McCune has 28 years experience as a high school counselor and has loved every minute of it.

"Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the Earth."

Psalm 46:10

Not yet enrolled and would like to speak with a counselor? Schedule a counselor consultation session.

Kim Vogler

Mrs. Kim Vogler, M.Ed

High School Counselor, Student Last Name: L-M
College and Career Program Coordinator

Mrs. Vogler graduated from Prairie View A&M University with a Masters in Education degree with an emphasis in school counseling in 1996. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Education Curriculum and Instruction from Texas A&M University. She is certified to teach English and Journalism in grades 6-12. Mrs. Vogler is ACSI-certified.

She and her husband have been happily married for over 30 years and have two adult children. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family, cats, and rabbits. She loves the outdoors, traveling, and crafting for local Texas craft shows.

Mrs. Vogler comes to Enlightium Academy with over 30 years of experience in education, with the majority of her experience being in high school counseling. She is very excited to get to know her students and assist in any way.

"A person's steps are made secure by the Lord when they delight in his way. Though they trip up, they won’t be thrown down, because the Lord holds their hand."

Psalm 37: 23-24

Not yet enrolled and would like to speak with a counselor? Schedule a counselor consultation session.

Angie Van Egdom

Mrs. Angie Van Egdom, M.Ed.

High School Counselor, Student Last Name: N-R
Advanced Placement Coordinator

Mrs. Van Egdom graduated with a Master’s of Education in School Counseling from Whitworth University in 2020. She obtained her bachelor’s degree from the University of Washington; during her undergrad, she worked as an Academic Advisor for the college preparatory program TRIO Upward Bound. It was then when her passion for working with high school students grew. She began her career as a school counselor with Enlightium in 2018. She is both Washington State and ACSI Certified.

Mrs. Van Egdom now resides in Central New York. One of the hobbies she and her husband enjoy is exploring their new settings. The relocation to Central New York also allowed them to become fur-parents when rescuing their dog Rachel, a Shepherd-mix.

Growing up, the value of education was instilled in Mrs. Van Egdom, and she wishes to do the same with her students while also building a trusting relationship and sharing the love of Christ with them.

“For we live by faith, not by sight.”

2 Corinthians 5:7

Not yet enrolled and would like to speak with a counselor? Schedule a counselor consultation session.

Tia Wade

Mrs. Tia Wade, M.S

High School Counselor, Student Last Name: S-Z
NCAA Coordinator

Mrs. Wade obtained a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Phoenix and a Master of Science in School Counseling degree from Capella University. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of LA at Monroe. In an effort to increase her knowledge in mental health services, she also earned a Graduate Certification in Contemporary Mental Health Services from Capella University in 2021. Mrs. Wade is ACSI-certified.

She is happily married to her husband and together they have four children (3 girls including a set of twins and 1 boy). In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family, going to family entertainment centers, parks, and having family movie nights.

Mrs. Wade has always believed that you can never stop learning and one of the most valuable things to have is an education. Her goal is to reach students “where they are” by advocating for them and providing them with applicable and valuable resources to help them along their academic journey.

“But they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”

Isaiah 40:31

Not yet enrolled and would like to speak with a counselor? Schedule a counselor consultation session.

Tia Wade

Mr. David Buldenko, B.A.

High School Counselor Assistant

Mr. Buldenko is currently in pursuit of his Master’s of Education degree for School Counseling at Whitworth Univeristy. He received his Bachelors of Arts degree in Sociology with a minor focus in Psychology from Eastern Washington University in the spring of 2021. After earning his degree, Mr. Buldenko worked in the Social Services and the medical field with students in the foster care system as well as students with autism. Through these professional experiences, Mr. Buldenko has not only been able to learn what it truly means to serve someone else the way God intended for us to do but also to view the world from a completely different perspective. Mr. Buldenko is ACSI-certified.

Mr. Buldenko was born and raised in Spokane, Washington. He enjoys spending this time helping out in various worship groups, as well as cooking for the youth ministry group at Pilgrim Slavic Baptist Church in downtown Spokane. Mr. Buldenko spends most summers helping as a camp counselor and worship night organizer at local teens and youth camps. He is very passionate about music and spent a good portion of his undergrad exploring the world on what he likes to call a “student's paycheck”.

“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” 

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Not yet enrolled and would like to speak with a counselor? Schedule a counselor consultation session.

Middle and Elementary School Counselors

Alissa Schneider

Mrs. Alissa Schneider, M.A.

Grade 8 Counselor

Mrs. Schneider has experience in both school and professional counseling. She began working in the school setting in 2014 and fell in love with helping students to succeed spiritually, academically, and personally. She graduated with her Master’s degree in 2015 from Olivet Nazarene University. She enjoys encouraging others and it brings her joy to see others succeed. Mrs. Schneider enjoys helping students to focus on what really matters in life and looking at the “big picture” goal of ultimately glorifying God in all that we do.

In her free time, Mrs. Schneider enjoys spending time with close friends and family, going to the beach, sitting by a campfire, swimming, visiting nature trails, reading, and playing games.

“Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him; for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything.”

1 John 3:18-20

Not yet enrolled and would like to speak with a counselor? Schedule a counselor consultation session.

Heather Blackburn

Mrs. Heather Blackburn, B.A.

Grades 6-7 Counselor
Elementary and Middle School Counseling Team Lead

Mrs. Blackburn graduated from Trinity Western University with a B.A. in Psychology and a minor in Human Services in 2005. After graduating university, she worked in all facets of youth ministry including as the Youth Center Director at Youth For Christ in Spokane, WA, as her church’s Administrator of Ministries, and at a residential treatment center for struggling teens in Texas. She enjoys working with children of all ages.

Family is very important to Mrs. Blackburn. She enjoys spending time with family, running around with her three kids, and drinking coffee. She has a passion for helping others and serving God in whatever capacity He has called her to.

“The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.”

Psalm 9: 9-10

Not yet enrolled and would like to speak with a counselor? Schedule a counselor consultation session.

Mary-Catherine Dochert

Ms. Mary-Catherine Docherty, M.Ed.

Grades 3-5 Counselor

Ms. Docherty joined Enlightium Academy as an Assistant Counselor in 2021. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Childhood and Family Development from American Military University in 2017 and a Masters of Education in School Counseling from Liberty University in 2022.

Ms. Docherty has worked with children and families in the community and church as a volunteer and professionally as a Child Life Specialist in the community and hospital systems. She is ACSI certified.

Ms. Docherty enjoys traveling to new places, trying new foods, photography, being an auntie and spending time with others. She is a veteran who served in the United States Army. The Gospel continually inspires joy in her endeavors–especially as she shares the good news of Jesus and serves others as a school counselor.

Her goals are to help students be successful in their academics and find confidence in who God created them to be.

“The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.”

Zephaniah 3:17

Not yet enrolled and would like to speak with a counselor? Schedule a counselor consultation session.

Stephanie Crisp

Mrs. Stephanie Crisp, M.A.S.W.

Elementary School Counselor

Mrs. Crisp joined Enlightium Academy in 2018. She received a B.A in Psychology with a minor in Sociology, a certificate in Leadership, and a Master of Social Work Degree from Eastern Washington University. She is ACSI certified.

Mrs. Crisp enjoys spending time with her husband and two daughters. She enjoys reading, drinking coffee, and exploring nearby cities. She has a passion for helping others and telling people about Jesus.

"For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
Jeremiah 29:11

Susanna Talley

Mrs. Susanna Wilson, B.A.

Middle and Elementary Counselor Assistant

Mrs. Wilson graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Simpson University with the desire to support children and families in all facets of life. Upon graduating from University, she developed her counseling skills as a Domestic Violence Youth Advocate at YWCA Spokane, where she worked with women and children affected by Domestic Violence. She has additional experience in the Enrollment Services sector, both as an Admissions Counselor Assistant and Enrollment Services Representative. Mrs. Wilson is ACSI certified. 

Mrs. Wilson is passionate about Christian education, as her own experience as a student at Christian schools had a significant impact on her faith foundation and personal walk with Christ. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband, playing games, going on walks, and enjoying all the coffee shops that Spokane has to offer.

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
Hebrews 4:15-16

Not yet enrolled and would like to speak with a counselor? Schedule a counselor consultation session.

Bronze Counselor

Adel Nemes

Mrs. Adel Nemes Thompson, MBA and MDiv

Bronze Counselor for Grades 3-10

Mrs. Thompson has a Masters of Divinity and a Masters of Business Administration. She has been a teacher since 1999. Mrs. Thompson is passionate about helping children succeed and believes that every child has a God-given talent. She sees beauty in the different skills and competencies that God gifted every human being. She enjoys building lasting relationships with students while serving families and assisting students in growing in their faith. She is ACSI certified.

Mrs. Thompson was born in Romania, and she is ethnic Hungarian. She and her husband love Hungarian and Romanian folk music and dancing. She enjoys swimming, walking in nature, and taking pictures of trees, flowers, and the sky. Mrs. Thompson is passionate about showing her children, Norman and Hanna, the beauty of her country, Romania, and the importance of faith in life.

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go."

Joshua 1:9

Not yet enrolled and would like to speak with a counselor? Schedule a counselor consultation session.

Homeschool Coordinator

Haylee Long

Mrs. Haylee Long, B.A.S.

Homeschool Coordinator

Mrs. Long earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and Communications from East Texas Baptist University, and later added a Post-Baccalaureate Certification in Elementary Education. She is a state certified teacher with over ten years of teaching experience. Prior to joining the Enlightium team, Mrs. Long taught multiple grades from preschool to third grade. She also homeschooled her son and a group of children during the pandemic.

Mrs. Long has been married to her college sweetheart for over twenty years and has three children, one grandchild, and a German Shepherd/Husky mix dog. Originally from Texas, she has lived in the Spokane area since 2017. In her spare time, Mrs. Long enjoys making art and tries to sketch or paint each day. She also enjoys reading, embroidery, jigsaw puzzles cooking, long walks, and watching movies with her family. She spends as much time as she can with her granddaughter Aria. She loves Mexican food, chocolate and coffee

Mrs. Long loves to see children learn and grow both academically and spiritually. She looks forward to helping families meet their educational goals for their child.

For the LORD your God is living among you. He is a mighty saviour. He will take great delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.

Zephaniah 3:17

Not yet enrolled and would like to speak with a counselor? Schedule a counselor consultation session.

Chandra Burghart

Mrs. Chandra Burghart, M.I.T

3rd - 8th Grade Homeschool Coordinator

Mrs. Burghart was born and raised in the Spokane area. Raised a small town country girl, she moved to the big city after graduating with a Bachelors in Communications from CWU. A few years later she married her college sweetheart. She has two children (one married and one in college) a cat, and a dog. She began teaching preschool when her children were in elementary school and has been teaching ever since. She received her Masters in Teaching and has private school teaching experience in Kindergarten, 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade. She spent several years as both a long-term and permanent substitute teacher in a local school district. Mrs. Burghart is ACSI-certified.

In her spare time, Chandra enjoys hiking, walking, quilting, knitting, hand embroidery, reading, and cooking. Her favorite hike was when she and her family climbed Mt. St. Helens. She loves baseball, football, and basketball. You will find her cheering on the Mariners, Seahawks, and the Zags. Family is very important to Chandra, and she spends as much time with them as possible.

Chandra is passionate about teaching kids to be life-long learners and followers of Christ. She loves worshiping the Lord. She looks forward to meeting Enlightium families and helping them meet their academic and spiritual goals.

“…in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loves us.”

Romans 8:37

Not yet enrolled and would like to speak with a counselor? Schedule a counselor consultation session.

Anna Zelyak

Ms. Anna Zelyak, AA

Counselor Assistant

Ms. Zelyak earned an Associates in Applied Science in Business Administration with two Certifications in Small Business Management and Marketing. She plans to pursue a Bachelor's Degree in Human Development and hopes to work as an Academic Counselor in the future. It has always been Ms. Zelyak’s passion to make an impact in the lives of students and work in higher education empowering students to pursue what they love. 

Ms. Zelyak’s nationality is Ukrainian; she was born and raised in Vancouver, Washington. After living twenty years in Vancouver, she decided to relocate with her family to Spokane, Washington.

In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends. She enjoys reading and has a love for writing/poetry. She especially likes going hiking, traveling, and visiting her close friends and family in Vancouver Washington. She loves sushi, peppermint tea, and ferrero rocher chocolates. 

Ms. Zelyak’s passion is to bring glory to God through her work, and to be a blessing to all those around her.

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”

Romans 8:28

Not yet enrolled and would like to speak with a counselor? Schedule a counselor consultation session.

Family Alliance Counselors

Kim Allen

Ms. Kim Allen, M.A.

Manager of School Partnerships

Ms. Allen has been with Enlightium since 2015. She is ACSI certified.

Ms. Allen grew up in Seattle, Washington and attended a Christian school through 12th grade. She received her bachelor's degree in Social Work at Washington State University. While raising three children, she also became passionate about education, college, and career planning. Ms. Allen returned to school and received her Master’s degree in School Counseling K-12 from Gonzaga University.

During her spare time, she and her husband enjoy reading and spending time with friends and family. Spending time with family usually includes traveling, which Ms. Allen also loves to do. It is her desire to build a trusting relationship so her students can come to her with any issue, no matter how big or small it may seem. She especially likes helping students explore their own goals and passions for life beyond high school.

"As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another."
Proverbs 27:17

Not yet enrolled and would like to speak with a counselor? Schedule a counselor consultation session.

Erin Lawellin

Ms. Erin Lawellin, M.Ed.

Manager of Academic Services

Ms. Lawellin received a Masters in Education specializing in School Counseling from John Brown University in 2021. For her undergraduate education, Ms. Lawellin graduated with a BS in Psychology, minoring in Addiction Studies/Treatment and Cognitive Neuroscience. Before joining Enlightium Academy’s Alliance Program team, and after years of working in Young Life Ministries, she was on the Community Outreach team for a counseling center in Arkansas where she facilitated Social/Emotional Learning workshops for students, teachers, and parents. She also worked as a School-Based Behavioral Specialist for the counseling center. Ms. Lawellin is ACSI-certified.

Ms. Lawellin spends most of her time outside as a self-proclaimed ornithologist, with her cat Bandura (named after her favorite psychologist). She collects antiques and knows every single word of at least eight different Broadway musicals. She has coached volleyball and track for many years, but she enjoys her slower hobbies nowadays. 

"Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them."

Luke 11:16

Not yet enrolled and would like to speak with a counselor? Schedule a counselor consultation session.

Desiree Towner

Mrs. Desiree Towner, M.Ed.

New School Partnership Consultant

Mrs. Towner received a Masters in Education with an emphasis in School Counseling from Heritage University. She graduated from Northwest University with a BA in Psychology and a minor in Pastoral Care. She joined the Enlightium Academy team in 2014 and works as the Alliance Program consultant and counselor. She is state and ACSI-certified.

Prior to joining the Enlightium team, Mrs. Towner worked as a high school counselor in a public school in Central Washington State. She also volunteered as a registered therapeutic riding instructor through the North American Riding for the Handicapped Association (now known as PATH International).

Mrs. Towner volunteers at her church as a worship leader for Kidz church, leading and mentoring a team of 8-12-year-old singers and dancers. In her free time, she and her husband enjoy spending time with their two children, and horse, Aspen.

"The mountains and the hills shall break forth into singing before you, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands."
Isaiah 55:12

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Enlightium Academy is a private Christian school serving homeschool, online, and Alliance school students on their journey to embrace their God-given talents and develop a lifelong thirst for knowledge from the biblical worldview.

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