Mr. Michael Stone, Director of Guidance
High School Counseling Staff
Ms. Laura Alvarez
Ms. Rachel Cohen
Mr. Michael Zelizo
Middle School Counseling Staff
Ms. Lana Shtofmakher
Student Assistance Counselor/
Ms. Catherine White
Ms. Kristin O'Connell
Meet the Counseling Staff
Mr. Michael Stone, Director of Guidance
Mr. Michael Stone joins the Cresskill School District after working at Northern Highlands Regional High School for the past twenty-two years. Mr. Stone taught Social Studies for three years at NH and had been a member of their Guidance Department for the past nineteen years. Mr. Stone received a Bachelor of Arts in American Studies from Fordham University as well as a Masters Degree in Education from St. Peter’s University. After pursuing his Counseling Certification from William Paterson University, Mr. Stone attained the required New Jersey state endorsement as a Director of Guidance. Additionally, Mr. Stone earned a College Counseling Certification from the University of California graduate program. Mr. Stone enjoyed a thirty-year career as a high school basketball coach, and in his free time he enjoys playing sports, going down the Jersey shore, and doing all sorts of fun stuff with his wife and their three children.
Ms. Laura Alvarez , Counselor
Ms. Alvarez joined the Guidance Department in September 2021. She earned her Bachelor's Degree from Lynn University in 2015 and Master's Degree from New York University in 2017. Ms. Alvarez leads our Financial Literacy program, which is a graduation requirement for all CHS students. In addition to Guidance responsibilities, she strives for excellence and inclusion of all students.
Ms. Rachel Cohen, Counselor
Ms. Cohen joined the Guidance Department in September 2021. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Communications from William Paterson University in 2012 and her Masters in School Counseling from Montclair State University in 2016. Ms. Cohen oversees the Senior Internship Program which allows students to gain field experience before graduation, and she is also one of the advisors for the High School Outdoors Club.
Ms. Lana Shtofmakher, Counselor
Ms. Shtofmakher joined the Guidance Department in 2004. She attended George Washington University where she earned her BS in Biology. Ms. Shtofmakher received her MA in Clinical Counseling at Fairleigh Dickinson University and went on to become a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC). Within her time in the district she has worked as a Student Assistance Counselor at the Cresskill Junior-Senior High School as well as at Edward H. Bryan School and Merritt Memorial School. Currently, she is the School Counselor for grades 6-8. Ms. Shtofmakher is also one of the advisors for the middle school and high school Student Organization, and PACT (Peer Advisors for Cresskill Teens).
Ms. Catherine White, Student Assistance Counselor
Mrs. White came to Cresskill in 2006 as a member of the Child Study Team. In 2008 she moved to the guidance department as a Student Assistance Counselor (SAC). In September 2013 she became the 504 Coordinator for the Middle/High School. Mrs. White received her BA in Psychology from SUNY Geneseo and her Master's in Social Work from NYU. She completed her SAC certification coursework at New Jersey City University. Mrs. White is the district's anti-bullying coordinator and one of the advisors for the middle school and high school Student Organization, as well as PACT (Peer Advisors for Cresskill Teens).
Mr. Michael Zelizo, Counselor
Mr. Zelizo joined the Guidance Department from the Math Department in September 2013. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree from Villanova University in 2005 and his Master’s Degree from William Paterson University in 2011. Mr. Zelizo leads our Ambassadors program, which helps new students to CHS get acclimated to the district. In addition to his responsibilities as a Guidance Counselor, Mr. Zelizo is the HIB specialist for the high school.
Ms. Kristin O'Connell, Administrative Assistant
Ms. O'Connell is a graduate of Fordham University with a BA in English and Teacher Certification from Montclair State University. I have had the pleasure of working for the Cresskill Public Schools at Edward H. Bryan School and Merritt Memorial School for the past twelve years. As Guidance Department Secretary for Middle/High School, I look forward to seeing many former elementary students as well as new students as they continue to pursue their academic journey.