The Counseling Office is open from 7:30- 4:00p.m. M-F. During this time, there will always be someone at the desk to assist and answer general questions.
SRHS is lucky to have five wonderful Counselors. Counselors are generally in their office from 7:45 -3:15 p.m. M-F and are available for drop in of students before school, at break, and after school as well as scheduled appointments. We feel strongly that students should take advantage of the “drop in” times so that they do not miss valuable classroom instruction. Students can also fill out a request to see their counselor which is located in the Counseling Office, if they are unable to utilize “drop in” times or if their counselor is unavailable. Once the Counselor receives this request from a student, they will send a pass for the student during the school day to address any concern or question they may have.
Generally, students are assigned to a specific counselor by the alphabet of the student’s last name. The alphabet changes slightly from year to year but 98% of students remain with the same counselor for all four of their high school years. Counselors are generalists who have a wide breadth of experience, training, and education. They can address ALL aspects of the high school experience: academic,career, social, emotional. The Counselor’s role at SRHS is to deliver services to students, parents, teachers, and administrators to promote maximum student success in the educational setting. While the focus of the counseling relationship is upon the individual, the Counselor recognizes the need to consider the student as a member of the school, the home, and the community.
SRHS Counselors have a ratio of approximately 400 students on their caseload. Though speaking to a school counselor can be therapeutic, the counselor does not practice psychotherapy. Many times, Counselors must rely on referring students to outside resources to assist with in depth social emotional needs.
From Left to Right: Mr Seth Geffner, Ms Kris Bertsch-Rydell, Ms Kristine Erken, Ms Jerri Jones, Ms Amber Bowman, Ms Blaire Murphy
Seth Geffner is from Southern California and a proud supporter of the LA Kings and LA Dodgers (we don’t hold it against him). He graduated from the University of Arizona in 1996 and then attended graduate schools at the University of Michigan and Sonoma State University where he earned his Master’s in Counseling. Seth is married to a special education elementary school teacher in Santa Rosa City Schools, and they have two children. Their son attends middle school while their daughter attends a local elementary school. Seth has been a counselor at SRHS since 2003.
Kristine Erken is a LONG time Santa Rosa resident. The joke is that she seems to know everyone and she is not shy about walking up to anyone and saying Hi. Kristine began her college career at Santa Rosa Junior College, after graduating from SRHS rival high school of Montgomery High School (where she was a swimmer, cheer leader, and a mascot). She claims that she has been converted to a Panther where the spirit and pride shines above all the rest. Kristine graduated from San Francisco State University in 1989 and earned her Master’s Degree in Counseling from the University of San Francisco. Kristine as been a counselor at SRHS since 2013.
Amber Bowman is a Rancho Cotati High School graduate and a lifelong Sonoma County resident. Amber started her college career at Santa Rosa Junior College, while being a cheerleader there, and then transferred to Sonoma State University where she earned her Bachelor’s Degree. Amber went on to earn her Master’s Degree in Counseling at the University of San Francisco and actually was a classmate of Kristine Erken. Amber is married and has a 3 year old daughter and welcomed a new daughter into the world in May 2017. Although Amber is new to SRHS, she is excited and proud to wear orange and black and to be a Panther! Amber has been a counselor at SRHS since 2015.
Blaire Murphy is from Southern California yet we feel she IS “Nor Cal”. She and Kristine Erken were both high school mascots. Blaire graduated from Long Beach State after transferring from a local So Cal junior college. Blaire went on to earn her Master’s Degree in Counseling from Sonoma State University. Blaire is married and they have two children. Their daughter attends the local middle school while their son is a student in a local elementary school. Blaire can be found rocking out at most local music venues and it seems like she is always on the go. She is our “go to” when anyone wants to know what is happening in Sonoma County. Blaire has been a counselor at SRHS since 2007.
Kris Bertsch-Rydell is from the San Joaquin Valley (Modesto to be more exact). Kris grew up a “farm girl” and still loves the smell and feel of freshly tilled dirt. Kris graduated from UC Santa Barbara in 1989 then earned her Master’s Degree from Sonoma State in 1994. Kris is remarried and has a combined family of 8. She has three grown daughters, all of which graduated from SRHS, and she has three step children, two who are currently at SRHS, and the youngest who is at a local middle school. Kris was a college athlete and two of her daughters were/are college student athletes. She has a lot of knowledge and experience working with student athletes and the NCAA eligibility system. Kris began her counseling career at Piner High school in 1994. Kris has been at SRHS, off and on, since 1995.
My name is Urjita Parekh (Jita), and I am very excited to join the SRHS Counseling Team as a part-time MFTI counselor. I am at SRHS on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays and will be meeting with students by referral through their school counselor. My role is to assist those students who may benefit from more intensive social and emotional counseling interventions by providing short term therapy and referrals for students and families to community resources. I also anticipate conducting small group counseling to address specific identified areas of concern for SRHS students.
I have worked with children and families in the residential care, elementary, middle and high school environments for over ten years. I earned my bachelor’s degree from Grinnell College in Grinnell, Iowa, and my Master of Arts in Counseling from Sonoma State University. For the past several years, I’ve been working in higher education at Oregon State University as well as at Sonoma State. I live in the town of Sonoma with my two kids: my daughter who started middle school this year, and my son who is in third grade. I look forward to getting to know the SRHS community!
College and Career Counselor
Jeri Jones is originally from Sonoma County (Healdsburg) though she has had many adventures prior to coming “home”. Jeri began her college study at Santa Rosa Junior College then transferred to Dominican University of California where she earned her Bachelor’s Degree. Jeri then went on to Northern Arizona University and graduated with her Master’s Degree in Counseling. After earning her degree, Jeri embarked on a 10 year world tour with work experience which gives her special insight into work and education abroad as well as a chance encounter where she met her husband. Jeri is celebrating her recent marriage and she and her husband are excited for the next chapter. Jeri and the “New” College and Career Center have been at SRHS since 2015.
Mayra Gonzalez is the new Restorative Specialist here as part of the implementation of BEST Plus within the Santa Rosa City School District. She will be working with parents and students to support and assist in creating positive relationships with peers and staff which will lead to positive personal and academic outcomes.
We are excited to have the opportunity to tell you what a invaluable tool the Crisis Assessment, Prevention and Education (CAPE) team has been to Santa Rosa High School. As you may know, SRHS has the largest student population of any high school in the county. We have five full time school counselors for a counseling ratio a little over 400 to 1. Needless to say, our counselors are stretched pretty thin on a daily basis. When a student is in crisis all the other demands on that counselor have to be put on hold. The Counselors do not have the expertise needed to deal with the intense and often extreme emotional crisis our students are displaying at school or the ability to navigate the mental health services in the community. Many times, these student crises have required hospitalization, the creation of a safety plan, and follow up with community resources and families; all of which are beyond what a school can provide. This year, in particular, has been the most demanding and exhausting, year to date, in regards to the overall mental health of our students and their families. Wendy Tapon, the CAPE worker assigned to SRHS, also provides amazing support to our counseling staff. We feel a sense of relief knowing that an expert can be called on when we are at a loss or feel we are over our heads with a situation. Having CAPE at our side – just a phone call away – has truly made the difference in the lives of MANY.
In addition to their immediate response to our calls for help, they provide valuable follow-up, family assistance that we simply cannot do without. The extra benefit of having a CAPE member on campus twice a week is HUGE. Wendy Tapon is called upon to help us figure out the best plan of action for students approaching crisis. She also spends a great deal of time providing training in classes. We, at SRHS, do not know how we functioned prior to CAPE joining our department. CAPE has become an integral part of the counseling services Santa Rosa High School offers their students and families.
If you would like to contact Wendy, referrals go through your student’s school counselor. Please call 528-5302
PSYCHIATRIC EMERGENCY SERVICES……………………………………………………………. 576-8181
3322 Chanate Road Santa Rosa, CA 95404
If you or someone you know is in an immediate life threatening crisis, please call 911 immediately.
SRHS has put together a list of local therapists who we have received positive feedback from some of our families. Therapy is very personal and painful (at first) therefore, it is very important to find a therapist that resonates with you and your style. What works for one person does not mean it will be a good fit for another. If you have a positive experience with a local therapist, please e mail your school counselor with the information so we can add the name and contact information to our list.