GMS Counseling Staff


Picture  Contact Information  Bio
Bruce, K Dr. Kevon Bruce
Director of Counseling

Hi everyone! My name is Dr. Bruce, and I am so excited to become a Gunston Hornet. I grew up in Brooklyn, NY and has lived all over the world before finding my way to the wonderful Arlington community. A surprise fact is that I have an acting degree from a conservatory. I also have a master’s in school counseling, a doctorate in counselor education & supervision and currently working on my M.B.A. I love to listen to music, travel and spend time with my loved ones.

Favorite quote: “The ends you serve that are selfish will take you no further than yourself but the ends you serve that are for all, in common, will take you into eternity.” – Marcus Garvey

Carr, L Lindsay Carr
8th Grade Counselor

Hello!  I joined the Counseling Department at Gunston Middle School in 2018 after teaching 7/8th grade English here for one year.  Prior to moving to VA, I was a middle school and high school English teacher in Pittsburgh, PA for 13 years and a middle school teacher in Brooklyn, NY for 3 years.  I currently live in DC, so I enjoy taking long walks to explore different neighborhoods and to browse local small businesses.   I adore animals and have two cats (Franklin and Eleanor) and a dog (Susie).  I also love to read, so it’s rare to see me without a book in my hand!

Favorite Quote:  “My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive, and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor and some style.”  Maya Angelou

Coles, M Mathew Coles
6th Grade Counselor
Mathew Coles

Hello Gunston family! This is my second year with the counseling department, and I am so excited for the opportunity to learn and grow with you all. I grew up in Tucson Arizona, home of the famous Sonoran hot dog, where I earned my Bachelor’s in Psychology from the University of Arizona. Later, I attended St. Bonaventure University where I received my Master’s in Education in School Counseling. Outside of school I love to spend time with my wife and two dogs engaging in a variety of outdoor activities such as hiking, rock climbing and sports ball. On the weekends you will likely find me relaxing in a hammock reading fantasy and sci-fi novels, most likely by Brandon Sanderson, and playing Dungeons and Dragons with friends.

“Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you!” – Dr. Seuss

Gibbs, J Jaelin Gibbs
7th Grade Counselor

Hi everyone! I am so excited to become a Gunston Hornet. I grew up in Fort Washington, MD and moved to Arlington in middle school. After graduating from Washington-Liberty HS in 2014, I received my Bachelor’s in Psychology from Virginia Commonwealth University. This past June, I graduated with my Master’s in School Counseling from Capella University. My favorite foods are pizza and pasta. I love to listen to music, advocate for students, and have fun with my two-year-old son.

Favorite quote: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Maya Angelou

Kolody, S Sharon Kolody
Programs Counselor

Hello!  I’m a proud member of the Gunston Counseling Department and have been for 23 years. I grew up in southern Maryland where I also attended the University of Maryland at College Park. Go Terps!  Then, I earned my Master’s Degree in School Counseling from Trinity University of Washington and have spent most of my career in APS both as a teacher and school counselor.  In my free time, I love to watch classic comedies or HGTV, ride in my husband’s antique car in parades, go to concerts or Paint Nites, and spend time with family and friends.

Favorite Quote:  “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”     Maya Angelou

Cordero, M Marlene Cordero
English Learners Counselor

My name is Marlene Cordero, I am a school counselor for the English Learners at Gunston Middle School. I am originally from Bolivia; I completed my bachelor’s degree in Computer Science at Mayor de San Simon University. I received my master’s degree in School Counseling from George Washington University. As a school counselor I am encouraged to support students to strive for their personal best, supporting them in their academic, personal, and socioemotional needs, career exploration and more. When I am not at Gunston, I like to spend time with my family, and friends, travel and listen to music.

Mi nombre es Marlene Cordero, soy consejera escolar para los estudiantes que están aprendiendo inglés en la Escuela Intermedia Gunston. Soy originaria de Bolivia; Completé mi licenciatura en Ciencias de la Computación en la Universidad Mayor de San Simón. Recibí mi maestría en Consejería Escolar de la Universidad George Washington. Como consejera escolar, estoy animada en apoyar a los estudiantes para que se esfuercen por dar lo mejor de sí mismos, apoyándolos en lo académico, personal, socioemocional y con su orientación vocacional. Cuando no estoy en Gunston, me gusta estar en compañía de mi familia y amigos, viajar y escuchar música.

“No matter where you are from your dreams are valid.”  Lupita Nyong’o

Zorilla, V. Vanessa Zorilla Zuniga
Substance Abuse Counselor

Hello, my name is Vanessa Zorrilla-Zuniga and I am the Substance Abuse Counselor here at Gunston Middle School. I am originally from Peru and grew up in Arlington County. I obtained my undergraduate degree from The George Washington University where I majored in Psychology and my graduate degree in Counseling Psychology from Marymount University. Prior to joining APS I worked for 16 years as a Child and Family Therapist for Arlington County Department of Human Services where I provided mental health and substance abuse treatment services. In my spare time I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, traveling to new places, going to the beach, and practicing yoga.

Favorite Quote: “The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members.” Coretta Scott King
Substance Abuse Counseling Website 

Dean, T Tessa Dean
School Psychologist

Hello! My name is Tessa Dean and I am Gunston’s school psychologist for the 2022-23 school year. I grew up in Fairfax County and attended Virginia Tech for undergrad where I majored in Psychology and Philosophy. I then ventured up to the Boston area to complete my graduate training at Tufts University where I received my M.A. and Ed.S. in school psychology. I completed my graduate internship in APS and am excited to be back after spending a year in Fairfax County. In my spare time, I enjoy traveling to new places and spending time with my friends, family and my 5 year old bulldog, Tugg.

Favorite quote: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” -Margaret Mead

Shimizu, M Michelle Shimizu
Social Worker

Hello I’m Michelle Shimizu. This is my second year with APS as a school social worker. Prior to joining APS, I was a school social worker for the City of Alexandria for three years. I earned my MSW from VCU in 2018. I am most proud of being a mother of two amazing and strong willed children, Liani age 11 and David age 9. I’ve been married to my husband, David, for 14 years. I spend all of my free time with my family. We love the outdoors. WE spend our time exploring, traveling, and eating.

Favorite quote: “I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I am changing the things I cannot accept.” — Angela Davis

Romero, M Maria Romero
Bilingual Family Specialist

Mi nombre es María Romero, soy la especialista en familias bilingües en Gunston. Crecí en Quito, Ecuador. Estudié Arquitectura en la Universidad de las Américas en Quito. Hace seis años mi familia y yo nos mudamos a vivir aquí en Arlington. Cuando llegamos aquí no entendíamos el sistema educativo, con la ayuda de algunos profesores de Gunston, porque fue la primera escuela de mi hija mayor, me convertí en una madre líder aquí. Ahora, puedo ayudar a muchas familias a entender y navegar por el sistema educativo. He sido líder de padres durante 5 años y tengo un año trabajando como especialista en familias bilingües.Es una gran satisfacción para mí poder empoderar a las familias para que ayuden a sus hijos a tener éxito y alcanzar sus sueños.En mi tiempo libre me gusta escuchar música y ver películas con mi familia. Mi comida favorita es el marisco.

My name is Maria Romero, I am the Bilingual Family Specialist at Gunston. I grew up in Quito, Ecuador. I studied Architecture at the Universidad de las Americas in Quito. Six years ago my family and I moved to live here in Arlington. When we arrived here we did not understand the educational system, with the help of some teachers from Gunston, because it was my oldest daughter’s first school, I became a parent leader here. Now, I can help many families to understand and navigate the educational system. I was a parent leader for 5 years and I have one year working as a Bilingual Family Specialist.It is a great satisfaction for me to be able to empower families help their children be successfuland achieve their dreams. In my free time I like to listen to music and watch movies with my family. My favorite food is seafood.

Ford, S Shanna Ford

Hello! My name is Shanna Ford and I joined the Gunston family in January of 2020. I took over as the SPED secretary and most recently became the registrar in August of 2022. I am a native of Washington, DC, but came to the Arlington area in middle school. In my spare time I like to spend time with my daughter, family, and friends. I also like to listen to music, watch tv, and relax.

Favorite Quote: “ Focus on the journey. Not the destination.” Anderson

hornet Celes Smith
Interlude Therapist
I’m Mr. Smith licensed clinical social worker and therapists for the interlude team. A native of Louisville KY, where I earned my bachelors and Masters degrees from the University of Louisville. I enjoy live music, art, and roller skating.