Student Support

A true learning community needs to do more than simply teach its students. It must support them as they navigate the complex waters of childhood and their teen years. Students benefit from an extensive network to help them traverse the challenges they face both in and out of the classroom, and to guide them to make decisions about their future. Brentwood helps its students find the kind of balance and equilibrium that will allow them to thrive academically, artistically, athletically, and socially, and to anticipate their future with a sense of confidence.


In the Upper School, students are assigned a Faculty Advisor who works closely with them throughout their Brentwood journey. Besides weekly small advisory group meetings, advisors and advisees also interact informally, having lunch together or sharing leisure time. Advisors often act as liaisons between parents and the school, working with the Upper School Director and Class Deans to facilitate conversation.

Academic and College Counseling

All Brentwood School students meet regularly with an academic advisor to develop an appropriately challenging curriculum and to ensure that all graduation requirements will be met. In the 10th Grade, students are officially assigned one of Brentwood’s three full-time college counselors. In addition to academic counseling, the college counselor will help students identify and apply to colleges that fit their unique talents and aspirations.

A variety of events help students and parents navigate the process of choosing and applying to colleges, including Case Study Night and College Fair, a number of parent evenings, and essay-writing workshops. Approximately 100 college admissions deans and representatives visit Brentwood School each fall and winter.

The school sponsors two college trips for Brentwood School students. The sophomores take a three-day trip to California colleges and universities, including Stanford, UC Berkeley, and other institutions. Juniors take a spring break trip to the east coast, concentrating on Northeast and Mid-Atlantic colleges and universities.

Personal Counseling

Professional counselors are available on campus for an extra layer of support for students and their families. When students face challenges at home or in school, they often need an accepting, nonjudgmental adult to help them process their feelings and get through these difficult times. School counselors provide listening skills and encouragement as students and families navigate through these high school years.

Also available on campus is a learning specialist. She discusses ways that teachers and families can support students in their learning. When students present with a documented learning difference or disability, she facilitates the process of them receiving appropriate accommodations in school. She also assists these students with receiving accommodations with the College Board and/or in college.

Student Support Staff

Emily Elson

Foundations & Counseling, Upper School

Robert Jost

Foundations & Counseling, Upper School

Denise Mahdesian

Psychology & Counseling, Upper School

Stacey Siegel

Learning Specialist, Upper School

Donnie Todd

Counseling Chair, Social Psychology & Foundations, Upper School