New Counselor Brings An Open Heart To Highland


Gabriel Hammond, Staff Writer

Self improvement books and motivational quotes decorate the shelves and walls of Claudia Kassner’s office, and while this could indicate a kind of tired cynicism in some counselors in this case it shows a genuine compassion and drive in her work. This is made easily apparent by the sincerity with which she describes her passion for helping students. 

Even for an educator, Kassner has a considerable amount of experience in schools. Highland’s new counselor was born in Curvelo City Brazil, where she was child number 10 out of 13. Growing up on the family farm her parents emphasized the value of a good education, and so she went to college and paid for it herself. Kassner already had a degree in social work when she moved to the United States, and since then she has gotten two other degrees and worked in a variety of schools in the Salt Lake Valley. After working at West Jordan for eight years, Kassner briefly served as an Assistant Principal at West High, a position that she very much enjoyed.

In all of these jobs one of her primary concerns has been the well being of the teenagers that she is entrusted with. With this goal in mind, she would like to end up working in school administration so that she is able to impact more students, 

“If I can reach out to teachers, I can impact all of the people they teach as well as the students that I work with.”

Kassner has a wide range of tools available to her in her work. Her broad education, outward compassion, and linguistic abilities all allow her to connect with students. She is fluent in English, Portugese, and Spanish, and actually worked as a translator for Zion’s Bank for eight years lending yet more experience to her position. Her personal history has given her special skills in her work. According to her husband, 

She loves helping students who are learning English. She knows the challenges that come with learning English and living and thriving in a new culture.”

When she isn’t working, Kassner can often be found outdoors. She enjoys hiking, running, and biking, considering living so close to the mountains to be a major plus to Utah where she wants to stay for at least the immediate future. One way that she frequently unwinds and works out whatever is on her mind is by hiking while listening to music. She is particularly partial to Enya, as the Irish singer is able to help her relax and work out what is truly important in the matter at hand. Kassner is excited to be working at Highland, and brings a unique perspective to the job.