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Wellness Tips from Our New and Returning Counselors

As a school, we recognize the growing mental health issues affecting today’s children—nationally and right here at Country Day. As Head of School Marcel Gauthier shared earlier this year, “Focusing on the well-being of our students will be a priority this year. With a second experienced counselor added in each division, we look forward not only to being more responsive to student and family needs but also to being more expansive and proactive in our social and emotional programming.” Additionally, we’ve added a new counseling position specifically for athletics.

  • Aleya Willis, Lower School Counselor
  • Jo Malveaux, Middle School Counselor
  • Mallika Rajan, Upper School Counselor
  • ChaChi Sullivan, Athletics
Group photo of counselors in front of gazebo.

We’re delighted to welcome our four new counselors. We asked them, along with our three long-term returning counselors—JG Bailey, Janani Buford, and Samantha Bosco—to share a few wellness tips to help students get off to a great start for the new school year.


Middle schoolers still need at least eight hours of sleep at night (nine to 10 is truly what’s recommended). Prioritize sleep for your kids as this helps fuel their brains as well as their bodies for a great day of school. And remember, devices and phones should be charged outside the bedroom.

Practice self-care

This can come in many forms, but the bottom line is to make sure you are making time for you. That could mean regular exercise, establishing healthy boundaries in relationships, taking social media breaks, staying connected to family and positive friends, just to name a few. 

Break it up

If something feels overwhelming, try to break it into pieces! Large assignments, college applications, household tasks—anything that feels insurmountable. Allow yourself time (and grace!) to work on things slowly and methodically. Mountains are climbed one step at a time.

Give yourself grace

The first few days of a new school year, mistakes will happen. You may forget lunch at home, not have all your materials for class, mispronounce someone’s name. Mistakes will be made and that is okay. Mistakes are opportunities to learn and grow! Give yourself grace.

Practice Positive Self talk

I am ready for school. I am confident, brave, and friendly. I can remember new things. I am ready to work hard. I am going to take a deep breath, and I will do great. Learning is my superpower. I learn from my mistakes. I can do hard things. I am a problem solver. I will always try my best.

Come talk with us

Your divisional counselors are here for you! Parents and students should always feel free to reach out to us whenever your family is going through a transition, or your child is feeling anxious or stressed, or facing challenges.


Meet Our New Counselors

Aleya Willis, Lower School Counselor
Aleya comes to us from Lebanon Road Elementary in Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools, where she has served as an elementary school counselor. Prior to her time at Lebanon, she served as a school counselor in Stanly County Public Schools. She holds both a BA and an MA from Andrews University. Aleya will focus on junior kindergarten-first grade, and JG Bailey’s focus will be on 2nd-4th grade.

Jo Malveaux, Middle School Counselor
A New Orleans native, Jo earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology at Hampton University, her MEd from Colombia University Teachers College, and has an additional master’s degree in school counseling from Lenoir-Rhyne University. Jo most recently worked in Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools for 15 years as a school psychologist and counselor. She will counsel our students alongside long-time Middle School counselor, Janani Buford.

Mallika Rajan, Upper School Counselor
Mallika comes to Country Day after five years of serving as a school counselor at Weddington High School in Union County. At Weddington, Mallika provided students with social-emotional, academic, and career/college support and was heavily involved in initiatives around multicultural awareness and mental health advocacy. She earned a double bachelor’s degree in psychology and comparative literature from UNC-Chapel Hill and a master’s degree in counseling from UNC-Charlotte. She also holds licensure as a Clinical Mental Health Counselor Associate (LCMHCA). She will counsel our students alongside long-time Upper School counselor, Samantha Bosco.

ChaChi Sullivan, Athletics
ChaChi has over 15 years of experience working with adolescents in the field of counseling. As a former collegiate athlete and coach, he has a unique perspective in his area of counseling, being able to understand and connect with students and coaches alike. His skill set will allow him to uplift, motivate, and encourage our students to become better, well-rounded leaders and to reach their higher potential. ChaChi graduated from South Carolina State University with a Bachelor of Science degree, then went on to obtain his master’s in arts degree from the University of South Carolina. In this new role, he will aid student-athletes and coaches with athletic performance, academic performance, character and leadership development, and provide resources to enhance the student-athletes’ well-being.