Palos Verdes High School

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CEEB Code: 052358 PVPUSD

Staff | Counselors

Mrs. Paula Stapleton
Gr. 9-12: A-Da
Room: Counseling Office
Phone: 310-378-8471 Ext: 220

Paula Stapleton has been a counselor at Palos Verdes High School since 2002. She started her career as a social studies teacher and has taught at the elementary level as well.

Paula earned her Bachelor of Arts in History from Loyola Marymount University where she also earned a Masters of Arts degree in Counseling as well as a Pupil Personnel Services Credential.

She is a native of the South Bay and has four children who attend PV schools.

Ms. Megan Lichter
Gr. 9-12: De-H
Room: Counseling Office
Phone: 310-378-8471 Ext: 246

Megan Lichter was born and spent the early part of her childhood in Johannesburg, South Africa. She later immigrated to San Diego, where she went to high school.

Megan’s passion for counseling and guidance started in high school, where she was a Peer Counselor. Her journey in the education field continued, and led her back to South Africa, where she taught English for a summer during college. These experiences inspired her to make counseling and education a career. Megan earned her Bachelor of Science in Family Consumer Sciences Education, with a minor in Judaic Studies, as well as her secondary teaching credential from the University of Arizona (Go Cats!). She moved to Los Angeles five years ago to pursue her Masters Degree in Counseling, at LMU, where she received her Pupil Personnel Services Credential as well.

Prior to coming to PVHS, Megan was a counseling assistant at Redondo Shores, a continuation high school in Redondo Beach, and a counselor at Santa Monica High School. So far, Palos Verdes is her favorite place to be, and she is looking forward to a fun-filled year ahead as a member of the Sea King family!

Megan’s other passion is teaching Zumba. When she’s not busy with either of her jobs, Megan is most likely plotting a creative way to travel around the world. Megan currently resides in Brentwood, where she has lived for the past five years.

Mrs. Kristen Nelson
Gr. 9-12: I-Mc
Room: Counseling Office
Phone: 310-378-8471 Ext: 293

Kristen Nelson has been a staff member at PVHS since the school reopened in 2002. Prior to becoming a counselor, Kristen ‘s roles included  Activities Director, History Teacher and Coach . Kristen obtained her Bachelors of Arts Degree from UC Santa Barbara, a Masters Degree in Secondary Education from Loyola Marymount University and her Pupil Personal Services Credential from UCLA. Kristen is a native to the  Palos Verdes Peninsula and currently lives in Rolling Hills Estates with her daughter Davia who is in Kindergarden at Montemalaga School. 

Mrs. Merika McHugh
Gr. 9-12: Me-R
Room: Counseling
Phone: 310-378-8471 Ext: 217

Amerika McHugh grew up in Singapore and attended Singapore American School. She moved to Los Angeles to attend Loyola Marymount University and received a Bachelors Degree in Psychology. She later returned to Loyola Marymount University to receive her Masters Degree in Counseling and a Pupil Personnel Services Credential. She also holds her College Counseling Certificate from UCLA extension. She currently lives in Redondo Beach with her husband, Mike, and their children, Brendan and Molly.

Ms. Christina Sunada
Gr. 9-12: S-Z
Room: Counseling
Phone: 310-378-8471 Ext: 216

Christina is a proud Palos Verdes High School Alumni.  She attended California State University of Long Beach for her Bachelors or Arts in Child Development and Family Studies.  She holds a masters degree in Educational and Clinical counseling along with her Pupil Personnel Services Credential and LPCC License (License Professional Clinical Counselor) from Azusa Pacific University.  She is excited to be back at her alma mater serving the community that gave her a love for education.

She is currently resides in the South Bay with her husband, and dog, Kalbi.

Mrs. Joanne Lewis
Director, College & Career Center
Room: 318
Phone: 310-378-8471 Ext. 618

Joanne is a native of Long Island, NY where she attended Dowling College and Adelphi University. Joanne enjoyed the wonderful opportunity of living and working in both Switzerland and Kenya, and received her Master of Science degree in Management and Organizational Development from the United States International University in Nairobi.  After moving to Palos Verdes with her family in 2001, Joanne eventually began working with the PVPUSD in the office of Pupil Services. Joanne is especially proud to work together with the counseling department and to assist students in their aspirations related to college and career. Joanne is a member of WACAC (Western Association of College Admission Counselors) and NACAC (National Association of College Admission Counselors). She has one daughter who attended schools within the PVPUSD.

Mrs. Teresa Hoffman
Scholarship & Financial Aid Coordinator
Phone: 310-378-8471 Ext. 347

Teresa Hoffman attended the University of California at Davis, graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Studies. She worked for Ashland, Inc. for several years in marketing and technical support. Before joining the staff at PVHS in 2009, she volunteered extensively in the College and Career Center and experienced the college admissions/financial aid process with her two children. She is currently a member of the Western Association for College Admission Counseling (WACAC) and has attended several of their workshops on financial aid and scholarships. Teresa and her husband, Larry, have lived on the Palos Verdes Peninsula for over 20 years. They have two children who attended schools within the PVPUSD.