Meet the Board
Courtney Cook (President Elect) is the Social-Emotional-Behavioral Health Coordinator at Prairie Lakes AEA where she is also co-lead of School Counselor support. Beyond her role as SEBH Coordinator, she is also a certified trainer of Youth and Child Mental Health First Aid and Nonviolent Crisis Intervention, and serves on the Systems Leadership and Future Ready teams. Courtney is also the Prairie Lakes - Mental Health Awareness Training Grant Project Director and serves on multiple Mental Health & Disability Services advisories. Before working at Prairie Lakes AEA, she served as the 6-12 School Counselor for Graettinger-Terril CSD in Northwest Iowa and was a Secondary English teacher in Colorado Springs prior to that. Courtney is a graduate of Adams State University (MA-School Counseling) and University of Iowa (MA-Educational Policy & Leadership Studies, BA - Communication Studies). She is a passionate advocate for school counselors becoming school leaders as more districts continue to prioritize and value social-emotional learning as part of students becoming "future ready". In her free time, Courtney enjoys being at home with her family of six and four pets. Chances are she's either playing Chickapig or other family favorite board games, or binge-watching something from Magnolia Network, Disney+, or Netflix.
Becky Lins (President Elect-Elect) is in her 16th year as a school counselor, serving the last twelve at Peet Jr. High in Cedar Falls. Her previous experience includes working for Waterloo Community Schools at the middle school level and with Des Moines Public Schools as an elementary school counselor. Becky was born and raised in Cedar Falls and graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with an undergrad in Psychology and a masters in School Counseling and has recently joined Upper Iowa’s staff as an adjunct professor for their School Counseling graduate program. Some career highs include presenting at ISCA's conference 5 times, being named Middle Level School Counselor of the Year (2015), representing Iowa for ASCA’s 2017 School Counselor of the Year and earning RAMP designation for Peet (2019)! Becky is passionate about all things leadership, collaborating with students and helping other counselors embrace and thrive in the ASCA National Model. She enjoys running, traveling and spending time with her husband and children.
Melissa Murphy (Past President) is the school counselor at Springville Secondary School, where she serves approximately 200 students in seventh through twelfth grades. She is fortunate to work with students, families, faculty, and staff who value the work of school counselors and what they do to support students. Melissa earned her M.A. in school counseling from The University of Iowa, an M.A. in English from Western Illinois University, and a B.A. in Sociology from Iowa Wesleyan College. Prior to becoming a school counselor, she taught English/language arts to middle and high school students. As advocacy chair, Melissa provides school counselors the tools they need to advocate for themselves and their students in their districts and beyond. In her free time, Melissa enjoys bicycling and tromping through the woods when the weather allows, and reading, cooking, and crossword puzzles when it doesn't.
Nyla Mowery (Vice President - Elementary Level) is an elementary school counselor at Studebaker Elementary in the Des Moines Public Schools district. Nyla completed her undergraduate in elementary education in 2005 from the University of Iowa. Prior to being a school counselor, she taught upper elementary for three years and preschool for five years. Nyla completed her masters in school counseling in 2013 from Drake University and has been working as a school counselor for the Des Moines Public Schools since graduating. In her free time, Nyla enjoys reading, playing video games, going for walks with her dog, Bandit and cuddling with her cats. Nyla has a daughter, Angel, who is a senior in high school this year.
Brianna Porter (Vice President - Middle Level) currently serves as middle school counselor(grades 6-8) with Mount Pleasant School Community School District at Mount Pleasant Middle School. This is her 2nd year as a middle school counselor and going into her 5th year as a school counselor. She has served as a school counselor at all three levels and loves her work. Brianna has a goal of eventually RAMPing her school. Prior to becoming a school counselor Brianna worked in the human services field and served in a variety of positions working with at risk children and family which has helped her in her role as a school counselor. In her spare time Brianna enjoys spending time with her family, outdoors, movies, and Disney.
Alyssa Cobie-Nuss (K12 VP) is a K-12 School Counselor serving as the At-Risk Coordinator for West Central Community School District. She grew up on a farm near Ackley, lowa and earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Central College in Pella in 2012. After that she worked for a short while in schools as a paraeducator before earning her Master of Arts degree in School Counseling from the University of Northern lowa in 2016. She is passionate about mental health and trauma informed care in our schools. She enjoys being outside and exploring Northeast lowa with her husband, reading, and spending time at the gym.
Erin Lane (VP Counselor Educator) is a counselor educator at Western Illinois University – Quad Cities and feels honored to serve on the ISCA Board. Erin has worked in public and private education in Iowa for almost two decades. Prior to her position as an assistant professor, she was employed as a teacher and administrator; however, she found the most fulfillment as a school counselor in the Southeast Polk School District. She received her Bachelor’s degree from Beloit College, and her Master’s in School Counseling and Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision from the University of Iowa. Her professional passions consist of helping school counselors strengthen advocacy skills, enhance professional identity, and better incorporate data-driven programming. Erin’s research interests include school counselor advocacy, Post-secondary Readiness (CCR), and the needs of gifted students in the K-12 setting. Erin lives in Iowa City with her husband and three daughters. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with family, listening to podcasts, and attending as many Hawkeye events as possible.
Katherine Sterling (Treasurer) is the school counselor at LaSalle Catholic Middle School in Cedar Rapids, serving grades 5-8. She has worked as an elementary and middle school counselor for 23 years in multiple Iowa, Missouri, and Illinois districts. Katherine has extensive experience working with urban low income and minority students. She is passionate about advocating for the role of the school counselor as well as the importance of school counseling within the educational experience. Katherine has developed several competitive school counseling programs, while demonstrating acute sensitivity to socioeconomic and cultural differences among students. She enjoys grant writing and locating resources to meet the needs of her students and staff. Katherine has a MA in Counseling and Human Development and a BA in Elementary Education with a Reading Specialist endorsement from the University of Iowa. She resides in Solon with her husband, Mike, and her one-year old puppy named Lucy.
Lauren Cerqueira (Advocacy Chair) is currently the school counselor at Hills Elementary, Grant Elementary, and Weber Elementary in the Cedar Rapids School District. This is her first year with the ISCA board.
Trina Roos (Conference Chair) is Springville's Elementary School Counselor (K-6). Trina earned her BA in psychology and family services from the University of Northern Iowa. She worked in various roles at Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Central Iowa supporting mentoring relationships. Trina then returned to school to earn her MA in School Counseling from Concordia University Wisconsin. She is a member of the American School Counselor Association, in addition to the Iowa School Counselor Association. Her interests include camping, movies, and bargain shopping. She spends much of her time attending her children's activities and playing with her two dogs.
Jenna Hardersen (Membership Chair) is a counselor in Anamosa. She has been at the middle school for nine years and will be moving to the high school in Anamosa this year. She also coaches middle school volleyball and track and teaches as an adjunct professor for Buena Vista University in the Professional School Counseling Program. She received her bachelor’s degree from Iowa State University in Child Adult and Family Services her master’s in professional school counseling from the University of Northern Iowa and her Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Drake University. Her doctoral research focused on growth mindsets specifically in teaching students how to preserve through challenges and focusing on personal growth. She has a passion for connecting counselors with resources and strategies to help in their day to day jobs and hopes to help ISCA in supporting new members thrive in their roles as the Membership Chair. Jenna and her husband Lee welcomed their first child Thea on March 15 and are loving every minute of watching her grow and learn. She also enjoys volunteering with the local 4-H program reading baking riding horses and spending time with her family on their farm.
Shelly Adams (Awards and Recognition Chair) is a Program Administrator/Communications Specialist with ISL Education Lending in West Des Moines. Her primary responsibility is managing a free email service called SP3 – Student Planning Pointers for Parents, which delivers college and career information twice-monthly to parents of eighth through 12th grade students via articles that include tips, resources and helpful prods to trigger conversations between parents and students.
Shelly was previously a financial aid administrator at both Loras College and the University of Iowa and is very active in the Iowa Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators – an organization that’s very similar to ISCA. She has a BA in Elementary Education and is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Communication Leadership at Drake University. This is her first time on the ISCA Board, and she is looking forward to getting to know school counselors across the state and recognizing the work they do with students.
When not working, Shelly enjoys gardening and home renovation projects, along with binge-watching Netflix and DIY shows with her new husband, Gary. They both enjoy spending time with their combined five adult children and spouses, along with Gary’s two grandchildren.
Sheila Kinyon-Johnson (Newsletter Chair) is a school counselor with the Muscatine Community School District. Prior to her current occupation as a school counselor I was a high school AP Language and Literature instructor as well as a Speech and Debate coach. Her educational background consists of attending the University of Northern Colorado where she received her B.A. in both Journalism Mass Communication and Secondary Education in Speech Communication. From there, she attended the University of Alabama for a M.A. in Human Communication (Rhetoric) and the U of Iowa for a M.A. in Counselor Education. Sheila looks forward to collaborating with ASCA and ISCA board members to deliver up-to-date information both educational and informative information for school counselors through the quarterly newsletter.
Brett Steelman is currently finishing a Master of Science in School Counseling from Drake University (Fall 2022). A graduate of Luther College (2014), he has studied English, writing, and education. For five years, Brett worked as an associate at an elementary school for Ames Community School District. During the 2021-2022 school year, he substitute taught for Des Moines Public Schools. Throughout his professional career and pursuit of a M.S. in School Counseling, he has learned to love PBIS, trauma-informed practices, lenses of equity, among so much more
Scotti Hagensick (Ex-Officio) is a School Improvement Facilitator for SEBH and a Crisis Response Team member at Keystone AEA. Scotti earned her Master of Arts degree from the University of Northern Iowa and holds a Professional School Counselor K-12 license. She has served as a school counselor in Iowa at both the elementary and middle school level and is currently involved in the AEA Statewide Well-Being Task Force. Scotti lives in Waukon, IA with her husband Michael, and their twin boys, Heath and Oliver, and their twin girls, Ruth and Stella.
Brittania Morey (Ex-Officio) is the Vice President, Marketing and Communications for ICAN where she spends her days creating programs to help students make informed decisions about life after high school, and assisting school counselors in their role in the Career and College process through resource and curriculum development, and professional development training opportunities. As an ICAN representative she works between the two organizations on various partnership programs including the school counselor professional development webinar series and the School Counselor Resource Guide, and has previously chaired the ISCA Communications Committee. Brittania holds a Bachelor's degree in Art and Journalism from the University of Northern Iowa and a Masters in Business Administration in Marketing from Marylhurst College, and has worked in education for more than15 years. In her free time she enjoys spending time with her family, movies, gardening, reading, cooking, attending concerts, and traveling to new and exciting places.
Jamie Covell (Ex-Officio) is a Community Engagement Consultant with Iowa College Aid. She coordinates the statewide Course to College program. Course to College is an all-encompassing program to support high schools in creating a college-going culture through five steps: prepare, apply, finance, decide, and go. Previously, Jamie was the Director of the Reach and Rise Mentoring Program and Coordinator of the Foster Grandparent Program both in Dubuque, IA. Jamie is compassionate about student success, especially for underrepresented students, as she herself was a first generation student. She really enjoys her career and is honored to work with such admirable school counselors! Jamie holds a Bachelor's degree in Social Work from Loras College and Master's degree in Social Work from the University of Michigan. In her free time, you can catch Jamie at the farmer's market, running, organizing something, or traveling. She enjoys spending time with family and friends, visiting national parks, providing belly rubs to pups, and eating pizza, tacos, and ice cream!