• Meet our Staff


    Dr. G Dr. Jennifer Giordano joined the Columbia High School Counseling Department in 2005 and became the Director of Guidance for the district in August of 2006.  Since that time she has thoroughly enjoyed being a part of such a diverse community. The faculty, staff and administration of Columbia High School are passionate professionals who share a vision of academic excellence. However, what’s best about her job is working with students.  While there is often not enough time spent in direct contact with the wonderfully talented students in our district, each interaction is a chance to learn and grow as a counseling professional. Students are the wind in the counseling department’s sails, and there is a talented staff of professionals guiding each child on his/her journey through CHS.

    Prior to coming to SOMSD, Dr. Giordano received her Bachelor’s and Masters degrees from Vanderbilt University and earned a distinguished Doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania.   She is a licensed clinician and has spent over 15 years working with adults and adolescents struggling with adjustment issues.  When not at work, “Dr. G.” enjoys running, cycling, traveling, photography and cooking.  “Quality Time” is defined for her by being with family and friends as much as possible.  jgiordan@somsd.k12.nj.us  x 1033


     Mrs. Hernandez  Mrs. Hernandez came to Columbia High School in 2010 with more than 15 years of experience in educational administrative support.  She loves young people and thrives on the “energetic” environment a school provides.  Mrs. Hernandez is happy to be at CHS and looks forward to many years of working with our students.  In her off-times, Mrs. Hernandez enjoys spinning, shopping and traveling. chernand@somsd.k12.nj.us  ext. 1030


    Mrs. Bellini  Mrs. Bellini joined the CHS guidance department in 2007.  Upon her arrival, she brought with her a variety of experience from both the educational and private sectors.  She graduated from Montclair State University with a BA in Business and Marketing Education.  As a Marketing Education/Work Coordinator she taught for five years at the high school level.  Sheila also taught at the post secondary level and held the position of Director of Admissions. After raising two boys she is happy to be back in education at Columbia.  Today, as our high school registrar, she manages the entrance and exit of our students to and from other high schools.  She processes the distribution of transcripts for our graduates and communicates the verification of high school diplomas to businesses. At some point in time, every student at our high school has information which passes through Mrs. Bellini’s desk.  sbellini@somsd.k12.nj.us  ext. 1032

     Ms. Goldsmith   Ms. Goldsmith lives in Livingston and has two teenage sons, Julian and Ethan. After graduating from CHS she went to college in Massachusetts, then lived in Manhattan, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Kennebunk, Maine before moving back to New Jersey. She joined the Guidance Department last February and is happy to be back at CHS!  lgoldsmi@somsd.k12.nj.us  ext. 1031


    Mr. Berrios Mr. Berrios - is a 9th grade counselor who started here at CHS in 2003. He is very happy to be working as a school counselor. As a member of our community, he takes great pride in helping students excel academically. He graduated from the University of Puerto Rico where he completed a BA in Humanities and a MA in Rehabilitation Counseling. Mr. Berrios also completed an MBA in Accounting, became certified as a Spanish teacher and a school counselor. Some of his interests include travel, baking, skiing and singing.  wberrios@somsd.k12.nj.us  ext. 1035
    Ms. Scinto  Mrs. Renelle is a 9th grade counselor who began in 2009. Her immediate goal is to make the transition to high school a positive experience for each of the 9th graders. She is a graduate of Immaculate Heart Academy; she attended Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania, graduating with a BA in Psychology in 2002.  Prior to becoming a Guidance Counselor Mrs. Renelle worked as a Child Life Specialist at St. Barnabas Medical Center.   In addition to school and work, it is interesting to note that she played four years of high school basketball for Immaculate Heart and four years of college basketball for Elizabethtown. She truly enjoys working with everyone at CHS!  srenelle@somsd.k12.nj.us  ext. 1034
    Ms. Cristalli Ms. Cristalli came to Columbia High School after working as a guidance counselor at South Orange Middle Schoo lsince 1999. In her role at SOMS, she worked to help students make the transition from eighth grade into high school. Ms. Cristalli is excited to continue her counseling career assisting students as they progress on their journey into high school.  Prior to this, Ms.Cristalli worked as a guidance counselor and teacher in the New York City public school system. Ms. Cristalli received her Master’s in School Counseling, as well as a Bachelor’s degree from St. John’s University. An avid student, Ms. Cristalli has numerous additional credits in education and counseling, understanding the importance of keeping abreast of current trends. In her free time, she enjoys exercise, particularly spinning and yoga.  fcristal@somsd.k12.nj.us  ext. 1152
    Mrs. Tenenbaum  Mrs. Tenenbaum joined the CHS Counseling Department in 1999.  Prior to her current position as Guidance Counselor, Mrs. Tenenbaum worked as a teacher in our Special Education Department for eight years.  She received her Bachelor of Science from Slippery Rock State in Pennsylvania, holds a Masters Degree in Education from John Hopkins University, and earned a certification in Student Personnel Services from Montclair State University.  Mrs. Tenenbaum has contributes to our high school community in a variety of capacities.  As a special Education teacher she was among the original co-teachers in the English department, as the district introduced in-class support.  She served as the Yearbook Advisor for three years and as cooperating teacher to student teachers and guidance interns.  She has worked as an Adjunct Professor at Seton Hall University teaching Methods and Curriculum of Special Education.  Mrs. Tenenbaum also remains a devoted member of “Cougar Nation” and sells tickets to our home basketball and football games.  She is a loyal Mets fan. ntenenba@somsd.k12.nj.us  ext. 1036
    Mr. Maietta   Mr. Maietta joined the Columbia staff in 2007 and is thrilled to be here in such a great school district.  He is truly happy coming to school every day, working with the staff, administration and most importantly the students.  His education includes a Bachelor’s in Psychology and a Master’s in School Counseling from Mercy College (NY) and now is working on his Supervisory Certificate.  In high school he was a three sport athlete and then moved on to play four years of college baseball.  He has been coaching baseball since 2005 and is currently the JV Head Coach here at CHS.  Mr. Maietta loves traveling and has lived in Miami, Denver, and Napa Valley, California.  He also enjoys playing softball, watching movies and spending time with his family and friends. smaietta@somsd.k12.nj.us  ext. 1039
    Ms. Nazaire  Ms. Nazaire - has been a member of the counseling department since 2008.  She graduated from Montclair State University with an M.A. in Counseling, Human Services, and Guidance. She is excited to be working in an environment such as Columbia High School that stimulates student personal growth and development through the enhancement of classroom instruction. As an Adjunct Professor at Middlesex County College, she challenges herself as a classroom instructor working with a myriad of students with diverse personal educational and professional interest. In her spare time, she likes to read, workout, and enjoy the simple pleasures of this beautiful thing called “LIFE.”  pnazaire@somsd.k12.nj.us  ext. 1040
    Ms. Boer  Ms. Boer has an extensive background in education and counseling. She began her career as a high school English teacher. She has also worked in a residential alcohol and drug treatment program as Clinical Coordinator. She has worked in Adult alcohol and drug treatment as a family and individual counselor. She has years of experience as a Student Assistance Counselor and Guidance Counselor. She also has a private practice. Ms. Boer has a BA in English with teaching certification in English for Secondary Education and Elementary Education, an MA in Counseling, Human Services and Guidance and an MA in Educational Administration, as well as her LPC.  sboer@somsd.k12.nj.us  ext. 1037
    Ms. Bleiberg  Ms. Balassone joined the Columbia High School Guidance department in 2011, after serving as School Counselor at North Star Academy Charter School of Newark.  Prior to discovering her passion for working with high school students, Ms. Balassone worked in college admissions at Caldwell College and Drew University.  Ms. Balassone received her bachelor"s degree at Muhlenberg College, where she had a transformative college experience and became dedicated to helping teenagers have such educational opportunities. Ms. Balassone continued on to graduate school and earned her master"s degree in School Counseling from Montclair State University.   A true student advocate, she believes that all students should have equal access to higher education and is committed to providing the tools for all students to do so.  fbalasso@somsd.k12.nj.us  ext. 1151
    Mrs. Hicks  Mrs. Hicks currently works with our Columbia High School Independent Learning Academy and the Minority Achievement Counsel Scholars Program.   Mrs. Hicks has worked as a student advocate for over 15 years and joined our CHS Guidance staff in 2002.   Mrs. Hicks graduated from University of Connecticut in 1992 with a Masters in Counseling Psychology.  She has worked with high school students as a college counselor in West Hartford, Connecticut and Zurich Switzerland. In addition, she has taught at Indiana University and worked at University of Connecticut. As a former track athlete and Coach Mrs. Hicks still enjoys running to stay fit. mhicks@somsd.k12.nj.us  ext.1237

     Ms. Conway  Ms. Conway considers herself lucky--having worked with adolescents at South Orange Middle School before moving on to teenagers and CHS in 2003. Proud to have recently acquired a Licensed Professional Counselor certification,  her Masters in Education was earned at Kean College, preceded by teaching certifications in English and elementary education.  When she"s not busy at work, she keeps busy by walking/hiking, reading, gardening and collecting cactuses.  Her two daughters, Cait and Elizabeth, along with Mia the cat and Harry the dog manage to keep her laughing. "The students are the best part of my job; I learn something new from them every day!"  dconway@somsd.k12.nj.us  ext. 1041

    Mr. Matthews    Mr. Matthews joined the Guidance Department at Columbia High School during the 2013-14 school year. He comes to us with a passion for helping students find their way down the path they most eagerly want to travel. He is very excited to be a member of such a vibrant school community and enjoys collaborating and learning with the students, parents, and faculty. Mr. Matthews has served in the role of school counselor prior to his arrival at CHS, with experience in motivating students to maximize their potential by establishing goals and developing a plan to achieve them. After earning his Bachelor of Arts from the State University of New York at Binghamton and his Masters of Science in Education from Fordham University, Mr. Matthews moved to New Jersey to develop his professional career. Mr. Matthews enjoys spending time with his family and friends, traveling, exercising, reading, and watching movies. cmatthew@somsd.k12.nj.us  ext. 1038
    Mrs. Cohen  Mrs. Cohen graduated from Columbia High School and then attended Case Western Reserve University where she obtained her baccalaureate degree. She subsequently attended Montclair State University and received her Master’s degree in Counseling and Human Services. Mrs. Cohen continued her education and became certified as a Substance Awareness Coordinator, the role in which she currently serves at CHS. In 1971, Mrs. Cohen returned to the South Orange and Maplewood School District as an English teacher and has been in the district ever since!! Since 1992 she has been a Student Assistance Counselor/ Crisis Counselor for grades 9-12. Mrs. Cohen is also the advisor to the Peer Leadership Program, chairperson to the CORE team and coordinator of the Freshman Orientation Program. Mrs. Cohen also has the distinction of holding the longest tenure of any Columbia graduate on staff. jcohen@somsd.k12.nj.us  ext. 1043
    Mr. Lester  Mr. Lester has been with our school district since 1992 serving as a middle school guidance counselor and SAC for nine years before coming to CHS where he has worked for the past eight years as a Student Assistance Counselor.  He currently serves as a Student Assistant Counselor, peer leader advisor, and guitar club advisor. He received his Master’s in Education and ED. S in Counseling from the University of Florida. He is a professional guitarist and recording artist. He enjoys performing, working out, surfing, photography, and writing. plester@somsd.k12.nj.us  ext. 1044

Last Modified on November 18, 2014