School Counseling Department

As school counselors, we are passionate about providing a comprehensive, data-driven program that emphasizes the academic, career, and social-emotional success of all students. We work directly with students, staff, families, and the community; as well as consult with and refer to outside resources when needed. 

Additional Supports and Outside Partners 

Charles City Community Schools partners with local organizations to provide mental health services for our students while they are in school.  Contact your school counselor for more information. Additionally, we collaborate frequently with our district social worker.  

Some outside counseling resources can be found at this link: Floyd County Resources

Important Links

2024-25 High School Coursebook
High School Student Handbook
Middle School Student Handbook
Lincoln Elementary Student Handbook
Washington Elementary Student Handbook

Social Media 

Facebook page 

Graduation Requirements

According to board policy 505.5, Graduation Requirements, students must successfully complete the courses required by the school board and Iowa Department of Education in order to graduate. 

The following credits are required for graduation:

English/Language Arts 8 credits
Mathematics 6 credits
Science 6 credits
Social Studies 6 credits
Physical Education 4 credits
Electives 24 credits

Total: 54 credits

Graduation requirements for special education students will be in accordance with the prescribed course of study as described in their Individualized Education Program (IEP). 

School Counselors

Sandy Thomson

Washington Elementary School Counselor 

Call 641-257-6570 or email to connect with Mrs. Thomson.  

Education:  M.Ed. with a Specialization in K-12 School Counseling, Iowa State University; B.A. in Psychology, University of Northern Iowa; Current Viterbo University Doctoral Student in Counselor Supervision. 

Hi, Mrs. Thomson here,  and I am honored to serve as the PK-2nd grade Washington Elementary Counselor in the Charles City Community School District.  I have been serving in the Charles City District since 2007.  I served as the  Lincoln Elementary Counselor for many years before transferring to Washington Elementary six years ago.  

As a school counselor, I am passionate about making connections and relationships with students and families.  My goal is to provide a caring, collaborative and inviting environment where I believe every student and family can achieve success. I believe the early elementary years are critical in developing positive, lasting relationships and rapport with students and families.  My hope is by offering a caring climate to families in the early elementary years, we can set up a successful school career for our students and their families.

I have a unique perspective on the early developmental stages of students, therefore, I am able to design and deliver a  developmentally appropriate comprehensive counseling program through individual student meetings, family meetings, small group meetings and classroom curriculum.  I believe in having a collaborative and communicative culture with parents, teachers and students.  

Joanne McAvoy

Lincoln Elementary School Counselor 
Call 641-257-6560  

Education:  University of Northern Iowa, M.A. K-12 Professional School Counselor

University of Northern Iowa, B.A. Secondary Education Psychology & Sociology

 I am excited for the opportunity to be the school counselor at Lincoln Elementary!   I have 25 years of school counseling experience prior to coming to Charles City. I have had 5 years of experience as an elementary counselor, 18 years as a middle school counselor, and 2 years as a high school counselor. 

 My goal is to continue to build a culture that nurtures positive relationships and inspires students to do their personal best in their lives. Working with children and helping them grow academically, socially and emotionally is what I love most about my role as a school counselor. I provide weekly classroom guidance lessons, small groups, and short-term individual counseling to our students.  I am looking forward to working with our students, staff, and community!!

Ray Cole

Charles City Middle School Counselor

Families may call 641-257-6530 or email to connect with Mr. Cole. 

Students can request to see a counselor by (Chromebook)

Education: American Public University; M.A. School Counseling, Wartburg College; B.A. School Liaison. 

I am honored to be able to serve the Charles City Middle School 5-8 student body. Before joining the Charles City School District, I served as a middle school counselor for the Waterloo Community School District, for 9 years. 

Becoming a school counselor was not a choice but a calling. Growing up with empathy and compassion for others, I knew I would be able to give students the support they would need in challenging times. I wanted to help students in a meaningful way to overcome barriers to learning along with emotional struggles. 

As a school counselor, one of the best things is I also get to advocate and work with all students to bring out their full potential.   

Casey Brandau

Charles City High School Counselor 
Classes of 2024, 2026

Families may call 641-257-6510 or email to connect with Ms. Brandau.
Students may connect with Ms. Brandau at

Education: Associates of Arts from Iowa Central Community College, Bachelors of Arts in Psychology and Human Services from William Penn University, and Masters of Science in Education - Professional School Counseling from Buena Vista University

I am thankful for the opportunity to be a high school counselor at Charles City High School. This is my first school counseling position and I can confidently say that I chose CCCSD because of all the support they have given me, even before I was offered the job. I am so excited to grow as a professional and individual here.

As a high school counselor, my work includes helping all students apply academic achievement strategies; manage emotions and apply interpersonal skills; and plan for postsecondary options (higher education, military, work force). Some of the roles I serve include: individual student academic planning and goal setting; classroom lessons; short-term counseling; referrals to resources and  long-term support; collaboration with families, teachers, administrators, and community; advocacy for ALL students; facilitating improved equity and access achievement, and opportunities for all students; and more.

If you have any questions, thoughts, or concerns, you are welcome to contact me so that we can support our students’ success together. I am happy to connect you with the right people and helpful resources.

Laurie Smith

Charles City High School Counselor 
Classes of 2025, 2027

Families may email or call 641-257-6510 to connect with Mrs. Smith.
Students may connect with Mrs. Smith at

Education: University of Northern Iowa, M.A. Counseling; Iowa State University, B.A. in Child, Adult, and Family Services

I provide services to Charles City High School students in the graduating classes of 2025 and 2027.  Prior to moving to Charles City in 2020, I served as a 7-12 School Counselor at Gladbrook-Reinbeck Junior-Senior High School for two years.  

My school counseling program encompasses college and career exploration, short-term individual counseling, classroom lessons, crisis counseling, and referrals to outside resources when necessary.  I am passionate about the process of building relationships with students and families so their high school experience can be the best it can be.  A priority of mine as a school counselor is to communicate to staff, teachers, parents, families, and the community as much as possible, so please feel free to call or email me if there is anything I can do to help your family and your student(s) be successful.

Website Links

988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline
Bullying Prevention
Mobile Crisis
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
Northeast Iowa Food Bank
Pass the Love