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Q&A: North County High School Counselor Kristin Krycia

The Pasadena resident just finished her first year as a counselor at the high school in Glen Burnie.

Patch caught up with 's head of counseling and career center Kristin Krycia of Pasadena in May.

Patch stopped her to ask .

Glen Burnie Patch: How long have you been in education?
Kristin Krycia: Since 1992 ... I was an elementary school counselor for a long time. Then I moved to high school to create the state—in Virginia—the state's first [English for speakers of other languages] counseling program for non-English speaking students. Really I've been in education my whole life, but '92, technically, from graduate school. This is my first year [at North County]. I was at South River for three years before this, Broadneck before that and before that I was in Fairfax County, [VA]. I came to Anne Arundel County in 2007.

Patch: How did you decide to go into education?
Krycia: The real answer goes all the way back to Marion Barry—he did do some good things back in the '70s. I grew up in DC and he had this thing called "keep the kids off the streets," and he would get the kids to work. And I was 12 years old and I got my job to work in this school called BCDC—Broadcasters' Children Development Center. And it was all the broadcasters of the television programs had their children go to daycare. And they called me "teacher," that was my identification, so I considered myself a teacher and that's how it all began. So I started working with kids then and as my teenage years went on I was a lifeguard but I taught swim lessons. So I was always working with kids in some function.

Patch: You said you started in elementary level. What made you decide to start with the younger kids?
Krycia: I loved the kids. I never considered doing high school. I just loved working with little kids. I loved elementary school. I loved being around little kids. It made me happy. I wasn't going to move [to high school]. I went over to the high school to try to make some sort of program from the elementary school that fed into the local high school. And I was telling the principal and I had all these things laid out and he just pushed them aside and said, "I want you to come work here. I need your compassion. I need somebody like you to with our students." There were so many refugees coming in because of the [9/11] bombing—this was in October 2001 ... My ultimate decision to do it was because if the opportunity arose next year and I wanted to do it, it probably wouldn't be there. Then my principal wouldn't let me go. She was really angry at that principal for stealing me. They got in a fight over me and I had to be split between two schools for one year. So I was half-day elementary and half-day high school for one year and at the end of the year I got to pick my school. And so I stayed at high school because I wanted to do something new and try something bigger and different. Plus I really liked working with those kids. The cultural diversity was just so rich. And they were so beautiful. And these kids were just so grateful. I loved it. It was totally gratifying.

Patch: Where did you go to high school? College? What degree do you hold?
Krycia: I went to private girls school in Silver Spring. It's closed down now. It's called Academy of the Holy Names. I started at Catholic University and then I went to St. Mary's College in Maryland for two years. And then I went back to Catholic, but I ended up graduating from San Francisco State. But most of my education was from Catholic and St. Mary's. My degree was in psychology. I went to the University of San Diego. I have a masters in counseling—M.Ed. counseling, master's in education counseling.

Patch: What do you do in your free time?
Krycia: I have three children. And one of them is disabled, so I'm on the management team of Special Olympics in Anne Arundel. So I'm very involved in the Special Olympics. And I have two other kids. And I live on the water so we do a lot of water activities. Mostly boating. And being around my kids. I like to sew and make my daughter her clothing because she's very eclectic. And we spend a lot of time on the farm because my daughter's a rider.

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