The Student News Site of Niles West High School

Niles West News

The Student News Site of Niles West High School

Niles West News

The Student News Site of Niles West High School

Niles West News

Welcoming New Counselor: Katie Romack

Ms. Katie Romack

Niles West welcomes new counselor Katie Romack, who will be taking former counselor Ann Alegnani’s place. Alegnani retired after the 2022-2023 school year. This will be Romack’s fourth year at Niles Westwhere she previously worked as a counseling intern under Dr. Benjamin Grais, a testing coordinator and a facilitator in the school’s Restorative Practice Center (RPC).

Romack has always wanted to become a counselor after her undergraduate degree in criminal justice and psychology. Psychology in particular grew her passion for the field of counseling because she wanted to help others in a school environment. This led her to earn a master’s degree in school counseling from DePaul University.

“I had positive and negative experiences with my old counselors and through that, I knew how it felt to be a student on that end and how you can be in high school and have adults that don’t listen or don’t respect you. I wanted to be somebody in high school that students felt like actually listened to them and didn’t judge them for whatever was happening and could just be somebody that they felt was on their side through anything,” Romack said.

In her new role as a counselor, Romack makes it clear she also wants students to feel a sense of belonging at Niles West.

“If I can help students feel that there is one space at least here where they feel like they belong then that’s my whole purpose of being here,” Romack said.

Ms. Romack with students at the CEC club’s “Fall Ball” last year. Picture found on Instagram @nileswestcec.

Along with being a counselor, Romack is also a sponsor for the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) which she has sponsored for the past three years. CEC is a club designed specifically for students with special needs, offering them an engaging and inclusive space where they can meet other students and staff members.

This year Romack is also working with a new dean at Niles West, William Shanahan.

“It has been a smooth transition working with Ms. Romack. She goes above and beyond to learn about our students, get to know them and contact parents. She also comes up with ideas to best support the students that she and I work with together,” Shanahan said.

The transition of a new counselor for students can also be overwhelming. However, Romack instantly connected with many students.

“Having Ms. Romack as a counselor has truly been a pleasure. She’s an amazing listener and advisor. She has guided and understood me very well. She also treats me and other students with much respect,” senior Mariya Patel said.

With Romack’s experience and skills, it is no doubt that she is a perfect fit for Niles West. She is not only here for students who have her as a counselor but also for other students around the building.

“If anybody, even if they aren’t my student, ever needs anything and doesn’t feel like they have an adult they can go to, they can always find myself or other counselors. There is always somebody here that cares about you,” Romack said.

Congratulations on your new position, Ms. Romack!

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