Sage Creek School Psychologist Supports Students’ Mental Health


Bailey Daynes

Jaime Zielinski works at her desk as Sage Creek’s school psychologist for the 2017-2018 school year. She currently works across from the counselors in the office.

Ari Beckett, Staff Writer

Down one floor under the office, in the counseling center, you’ll find a soft-spoken, hard working woman in her office, a place not often visited, but a hub of important goings on for Sage Creek.

Not a lot of people know Sage Creek has a school psychologist, although this friendly face is not one to miss. Psychologist Jaime Zielinski can be found in her office or in meetings throughout the day, testing with students or sitting in on classes. Although she is very soft spoken, she plays an essential role at Sage Creek helping students get the tools they need and to overcome obstacles to ensure their academic success.

Zielinski got her bachelor’s degree in human development at Arizona State University and master’s degree at National University in San Diego.

“I had changed my major a couple of times,” Zielinski explained, “where originally it was education, then I changed it to psychology and I decided that I kind of liked both so I put the two together.”

Before coming to Sage Creek, she worked in the Hawaii School District (the only statewide school district in America) with mostly elementary school students. Working with older students has been quite a change for her, although it is an overall positive change.  However, she works one day out of the week at Magnolia Elementary School, so she still gets to work with younger kids.

“This is my third year here at Sage Creek, working with students in high school. It has been a completely different experience…” Zielinski added, “I like working with older aged students because they have a say in what they want to do and how they want to learn.”  

Student support services chair Andrea Williams has worked with Zielinski to make learning a better experience at Sage Creek. She has worked closely with her to find the best ways to support students and their unique situations.

“[Zielinski] brings a lot of compassion to what she does, so I know she cares about the kids and she cares about the things we’re working on,” Williams noted.

Williams is sure to note how hard working and thorough Zielinski is in her work. Anyone who interacts with Zielinski is sure to notice her quiet and thoughtful nature. Williams compliments her patience and ability to “let there be silence for a little while before she gets things going,” a characteristic which is invaluable.

Zielinski worked mostly with students who have Individualized Education Programs, a goal based program specified to the child’s needs, or are candidates for them. One of the really fulfilling parts of her job was the ability to see them achieve those goals every year and all the small victories in between.

“[I love] when I see students progressing, [especially] when I see a change in something that has always been a weakness for them,” Zielinski said, “Seeing them progress in those areas: that’s what keeps me doing this job.”

Last year, there was talk about starting a psychology club where students could learn about various mental health issues or get more information if they knew someone going through that. The club never officially got going, but Zielinski remains open to the idea of starting the club if a student were to start it up.

Although not a lot of people know the crucial part Zielinski plays in our school, she is definitely doing her part and willing to do more.

“I am always available for students if they are having severe emotional difficulties… I am definitely a resource if they feel like they need somebody to turn to or they need somebody to talk to. I’m here,” Zielinski expressed.