About

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). They then collaborate with parents to develop for elementary, middle, and high school students an individualized 4-year plan and provide guidance with a career choice, and assist with college admission.

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

  • PROSPECTIVE FAMILIES

    ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

  • $75

    FOR 30 MINUTES

  • PROSPECTIVE FAMILIES

    MIDDLE SCHOOL

  • $75

    FOR 30 MINUTES

  • PROSPECTIVE FAMILIES

    HIGH SCHOOL

  • $150

    FOR 60 MINUTES

  • CURRENT FAMILIES

    ENROLLED STUDENTS

  • FREE

    TIME BLOCKS VARY

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 middle school (grades 6–8) 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. A minimum of 0.5 Career and Tech Education high school credit is fulfilled by completing the grade-specific ECLR requirements.

Naviance and x2VOL Platforms

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 68 are provided upon request and grades 912 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. Community service hours are tracked within our partner platform x2VOL.

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 8–12. 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: 

RemedyLIVE.com

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.

Ms. Yohe

Ms. Yohe, M.Ed.

Director of the High School Counseling Department, Senior, & Dual Enrollment Counselor

As the Director of Enlightium Academy’s High School Counseling Department, Mrs. Yohe collaborates with Enlightium’s Administration Team and other Department Heads to support a Christ-centered high school counseling program that benefits students, parents, teachers, administrators, and Enlightium’s overall learning environment.

Mrs. Yohe has been with Enlightium Academy since 2017. She earned her bachelor's degree in Education from Lewis-Clark State College. While raising eight children, she earned her Master’s Degree in Guidance and Counseling and graduated cum laude from City University of Seattle. Currently, Mrs. Yohe is earning her Doctorate in Education with an emphasis in eLearning and is currently magna cum laude at Northcentral University. Mrs. Yohe is an ESA and ACSI certified guidance counselor with a Professional Teaching Certificate.

During her spare time, she and her husband enjoy camping, hiking, reading, and spending quality time with their children.

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


Tia Wade

Mrs. Tia Wade, M.S

Junior Counselor, Advanced Placement, Concurrent Credit Coordinator, & National Junior Honor Society Lead Advisor

Mrs. Wade obtained her master’s degree in Business Administration 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. Currently, she is completing a Graduate Certificate in Contemporary Mental Health Services from Capella University.

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.


Angie Van Egdom

Mrs. Angie Van Egdom, M.Ed.

Sophomore Counselor and Student Council Lead Advisor

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.


Hillary Benedict

Ms. Hillary Benedict, M.S.

Freshman Counselor, NCAA Coordinator, and National Honor Society Lead Advisor

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. She is currently working on her ASCA U Specialist Training in Anxiety and Stress Management.

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.


Marina Vagin

Mrs. Marina Vagin, B.A.

Director of the Elementary and Middle School Counseling Department, Grade 8

Marina has been working with Enlightium Academy since 2009. She earned her bachelor's degree in Social Services from Whitworth University and is certified by ACSI.

Marina was involved in developing the Enlightium counseling and admissions departments and contributed to the expansion of many other areas of our rapidly growing school. Marina oversees the elementary and middle school departments and collaborates with other department heads to ensure that we are working together to achieve our goals of serving others in a Godly way. She is our 8th grade counselor who is working with parents and students focusing on preparing them for high school.

Marina loves spending time with her family. In their free time they love to travel, meet with friends, and be involved at their church where she is involved in the MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) program.

"Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart."
Psalm 37:3-4

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


Heather Blackburn

Mrs. Heather Blackburn, B.A.

Grade 7 Counselor

Ms. Blackburn graduated from Trinity Western University with a B.A. in Psychology and a minor in Human Services. 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.

Ms. Blackburn began her professional journey with Enlightium as the elementary and middle school assistant counselor in 2020. Starting in the 2021-2022 school year, she began serving grade 7 students and their families. She is ACSI certified.

Family is very important to Ms. Blackburn. She and her husband are licensed foster parents in the State of Washington. 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.


Leah Wolters

Mrs. Leah Wolters, B.A.

5-6th Grade Counselor

Mrs. Wolters graduated from Whitworth University with a B.A. in Religion and minors in Sociology and Philosophy. She is currently working on her Masters in School Counseling through Indiana Wesleyan University. Through the years she has continued to work with children and youth in various capacities such as camp ministry, before and after school care, youth and children's ministry, and working and volunteering in public classrooms.

Mrs. Wolters joined Enlightium Academy’s counseling team in summer of 2021 and serves students in grades 5 through 6. She is ACSI certified.

Mrs. Wolters loves spending time with her husband and two children, along with extended family and friends. She enjoys doing puzzles, reading, and spending time outdoors hiking, walking, boating, and camping. She wants to use her passion for helping others to further God's kingdom and show them His unending love.

"Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

Psalm 139:23-24

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.

3rd-4th Grade 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, photography, 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

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


Adel Nemes

Mrs. Adel Nemes Thompson, MBA and MDiv

Bronze Program Coordinator (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.


Marina Ustimenko

Mrs. Marina Ustimenko, B.A.

Primary School Program Counselor (PreK-2)

Ms. Ustimenko earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from Whitworth University. She is state and ACSI certified. Prior to joining the Enlightium team, Ms. Ustimenko worked as a teacher in a private school and taught a wide range of classes there. She also volunteered at her local church as the Sunday School Coordinator for many years.

During her spare time, she and her husband enjoy traveling, hiking, reading, playing volleyball, and spending time with friends and family. She is ambitious and strives to encourage student enthusiasm for learning. She enjoys getting to know the primary school students and parents.

"Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans."

Proverbs 16:3

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


Kim Allen

Ms. Kim Allen, M.A.

Co-Op Counselor (Grades 3-12)

Ms. Allen has been with Enlightium since 2015. She 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 playing volleyball, reading, and spending time with friends and her three adult children. Spending time with family usually includes traveling, which Ms. Allen also loves to do. It is her desire to get to know all of her students, and her hope is 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.


Desiree Towner

Mrs. Desiree Towner, M.Ed.

Co-Op Counselor (Grades 3-12)

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 co-op and micro school 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 kid’s church. 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

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


Danielle Lopez

Mrs. Danielle Lopez, B.A.

Gifted & Higher-Level Learner (GHLL) Coordinator and Teacher

Mrs. Lopez earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Cognitive, Educational, and Developmental Psychology from the University of Hawaii. Additionally, she studied the Hawaiian language. She is ACSI certified.

Mrs. Lopez is the Gifted and Higher-Level Learner Program (GHLL) Coordinator and Primary Mentor/Teacher at Enlightium Academy since 2017. She has experience teaching at learning centers, online, and in students’ homes since 2011. She mentored gifted students and students with disabilities. To meet the needs of these children, she designed specialized learning programs and intervention methods.

Mrs. Lopez focuses on creating educational opportunities for every unique learner so that all students can succeed. She strives to encourage student enthusiasm for learning, and eagerness to pursue and achieve individual goals. Mrs. Lopez is motivated to help students become independent so that they can learn beyond her instruction. Her teaching philosophy is based on the principle: "Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.”

"Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me."
Luke 9:23

Hanna Griffing

Ms. Hanna Griffing, MA

English Language Learner (ELL) Coordinator

Ms. Griffing holds a Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature and Writing from Whitworth University and a Master’s Degree in Teaching English as a Second Language from Northern Arizona University. She is ACSI certified.

Ms. Griffing started teaching English abroad in 2011, before returning to the United States to start her master’s program, which she completed in 2015. While completing her coursework, she worked as a teaching assistant, teaching Freshman Composition at Northern Arizona University. She started teaching for Enlightium Academy in 2015, before returning to teach abroad for the 2016-2017 school year. Since returning to Enlightium Academy in 2017, Ms. Griffing has taught a variety of courses and worked to write specialized English courses to meet student needs. She particularly loves to teach writing because this is a chance for students to express themselves and learn a skill they will use for the rest of their lives.

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.”

2 Timothy 1:7

Enlightium Academy is a private Christian school serving homeschool, online, and co-op students on their journey to embrace their God-given talents and develop a lifelong thirst for knowledge with a Christ-like spirit.

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