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Meet NHS’ New Guidance Counselor: Mrs. Lauren Birnbaum

After the retirement of guidance counselor Dr. Mitchell this summer, Nutley High School gained its newest addition to the School Counseling Department, Mrs. Lauren Birnbaum. Her transition from John H. Walker Middle School has been well received as she meets with her new students and helps them prepare for life after high school. Recently, Mrs. Birnbaum met with students from the Nutley High School journalism class to talk about her new position at Nutley High School.


Before becoming a counselor, Mrs. Birnbaum originally studied advertising at the University of Maryland. After college, she worked in sales and logistics before going into counseling in 2010. “I decided to pursue the counseling field as a way to be able to build relationships with others and hopefully make a positive difference through those interactions,” said Mrs. Birnbaum.


When she first came to Nutley in 2013, Mrs. Birnbaum began counseling in John H. Walker Middle School. Freshman Leah Navarra, who has had her for two years, says Mrs. Birnbaum helps with any problem she has. “She listens,” said Navarra.


In her transition to Nutley High School, Mrs. Birnbaum has found herself to be very busy. With multiple meetings per day with students as well as working with colleagues, Mrs. Birnbaum enjoys how each day is different. “From meeting individually with students, planning for the future, or working with colleagues, every day brings different opportunities and the chance to learn something new,” explains Mrs. Birnbaum.


Compared to her responsibilities at John H. Walker Middle School, Mrs. Birnbaum’s focus has switched to life after high school. For the freshmen, she gets to know their interests so she can help them begin to research potential career paths or areas of study. Sophomore year, she encourages her students to continue exploring their interests by taking guided surveys that identify potential career paths. By junior year, Mrs. Birnbaum holds conferences which involve exploring colleges and the application process with the student and their parent. “Right now, I am working with seniors as they navigate finalizing and submitting their college applications,” says Mrs. Birnbaum.


School counselor Mrs. Carrie-Ann Vos has known Mrs. Birnbaum for several years, since she has been on the counseling team. Mrs. Vos believes she has been, “a wonderful addition to the counseling department. Since Mrs. Birnbaum came from the middle school, she has been a good resource for the rest of [the counselors] when it comes to the freshmen transitioning to the high school.”


Other Nutley High School counselors agree. Mrs. Meredith Gerckens is excited about the addition of Birnbaum because of her knowledge of technology. “Mrs. Birnbaum is very tech savvy and has helped our department integrate some new ideas already,” said Mrs. Gerckens.


Nutley High School students and staff have welcomed Mrs. Birnbaum with open arms and in the words of Principal Denis Williams, “She’s fantastic!”