Get to Know Your Counselors


Julia Kim

Ryan Itchon talks with students Brennan Sasaki, Tyler Sylvester, and Brendan Sung about Naviance.

Julia Kim, A&E Editor and Co Business Manager

From the time school starts to when school ends, counselors are hard at work, fixing schedules and supporting students both academically and emotionally on campus. The department consists of:

Melissa Gibson: Last Name (A-G)

Ryan Itchon: Last Name (I-P)

Debby Dodd: Last Name (Q-Z)

Gibson, the head counselor, has been in the counseling department for two years. She works hard to not only lead her department but also to establish an effective future counseling system. For the 2017-18 year, two new counselors, Itchon and Dodd, have joined Gibson.

Itchon said he enjoys supporting learners in any way he can, whether academically, personally or socially. Aside from his job on campus, he is also part of a bowling league.

“What I do every day spans from a variety of things,” Itchon said. “It can be fixing a student’s schedule, but a student can also come in and talk about any drama – they come to me for basically anything. My goal is to help support our learners and create programs to help them think about what they want to do for their futures.”

Dodd said she loves to be able to talk with not only students, but also teachers and parents about any concerns they may have. She stated that she enjoys interacting with members of the campus community and knowing that she is helping the students’ growth over time.

“The things that I work with range from when the students come in with a question about their schedule, or grades, like if they aren’t passing their classes,” Dodd said. “I also meet with students who have social/emotional problems, parents who have questions, or teachers who have concerns. I basically talk to anyone who has a concern or wants to talk here at Portola.”

Other than her job on campus, she loves watching and playing sports, along with travelling.

“One thing I would do forever is travel. I love seeing different countries and different cultures,” Dodd said.

The counseling department unanimously agrees that the most enjoyable part of working on campus is that they are able to observe students’ growth over time.

“I love seeing students being successful, even if it’s small, like a grade bump,” Dodd said. “I love interacting with students and letting them know that there is someone on campus that they can talk to.”

Itchon and Dodd both have said they enjoy having students visit their offices.

Itchon shared his final hope, expressing: “Our counseling team would of course love more visitors.”