Student Formation and Learning Support

At St. John’s, we meet students where they are and take them as far as they can go. To help us on the journey, we have a Student Support Team (SST) focused on students’ learning, social and emotional, and spiritual needs. Each division has an SST consisting of the Director of Student Formation and counselor, learning specialist, and division head. The chaplains, dean of students, and nursing staff may also consult with the SST. When teachers or parents have concerns about a student, they can make a referral to the SST. A member of the team will typically observe the student, and the team will meet with the referring teacher to determine the best course of action. The outcome may be a parent meeting, a recommendation for a psychoeducational assessment, tutoring, counseling, a behavior plan or checklist, or simply monitoring the student closely. The SST also presents and coordinates outside professionals to speak to teachers and parents on social, emotional, and learning topics.

At St. John’s Episcopal School, Student Formation comprises learning support, counseling support, student leadership, travel, behavior, chaplain services, and wellness. Families with children who have had or are seeking a full or partial psychoeducational evaluation have access to consultation with a member of our Learning Support team. All families and students also have access to our School Counselor who provides short-term intervention and outside referrals. Please contact Mary Odom  with any questions related to Student Formation.

Members of the Student Formation Team are:

•    Mary Odom, Director of Student Formation and Dean of Students
•    Jayme Johnson, Associate Head for Academic and Student Affairs
•    Izzy Alvarado, Director of Learning Support, supporting Middle School students
•    Marthe Turlington, Primary and Lower School Learning Specialist, supporting preschool-4th grade students
•    Dave Ray, Counselor
•    Jake Minton, Assistant Dean of Students for Primary and Lower School
•    Andrew Wermelskirchen, Middle School Chaplain
•    Shannon Newsom, Primary and Lower School Chaplain


Mrs. Shannon Newsom and Mr. Andrew Wermelskirchen guide us in the fulfillment of our spiritual mission to educate students in a Christian, Episcopal environment. We worship together as a community (first through eighth grade) each Monday and Wednesday. Mrs. Newsom leads chapel for our Primary and Lower School students and Chaplain Werm leads chapel for our Middle School students. On their non-chapel days, students work with their homeroom teachers (Lower School) or advisors (Middle School) on small-group social emotional learning lessons that focus on character development.

Through their work, Mrs. Newsom and Chaplain Werm embody the five tenets of Episcopal education to which we, as a school, are committed:

  • Academic excellence
  • Corporate worship (Episcopal/Christian chapel)
  • Religious studies based on basic Biblical content
  • Meaningful and integrated community service and service-learning projects
  • An inclusive community where the dignity of every human being is respected.