New counselor arrives at GBHS


Change is no foreigner to the Granite Bay High School campus.

And after Kathleen Orchard announced her retirement in October, GBHS experienced this once again as her replacement Navjot Singh joined the staff as the school’s newest counselor – overseeing students with the last names Dr-J.

Singh has previous experience in the counseling field, coming from Rodriguez High School in Fairfield where she also worked as a student counselor.

Singh grew up in our local area and graduated from Roseville High School. After studying psychology and human development at University of California, Davis, she attended California State University, East Bay, where she earned a Masters degree in school counseling and marriage and family therapy.

Because of her local roots, Singh felt the urge to “give back to the community,” and the open position at Granite Bay offered her just the right opportunity to do so.

Obtaining the position here, though, wasn’t so easy, as GBHS Principal Jennifer Leighton explained via email.

“We posted for Mrs. Orchard’s position as soon as she announced her retirement and had over 50 qualified people apply,” Leighton said. “We interviewed ten (people), and Ms. Singh was a stand-out.”

Leighton and others were very impressed by her qualifications as an applicant.

“She speaks 4 languages … and brings enthusiasm, experience and talent to GB,” Leighton said.

Singh has also received accolades from students at GBHS.

“She’s very nice,” senior Mackenzie Hall said. “I don’t really know her too well yet, but I think she is a great addition to the staff.”

A new job always takes a bit of adjusting, as it did for Singh.

“It’s just a very fast pace here since it’s a quarter system,” Singh said. “I’m still getting used to Grizz Time and the time schedules.”

Her transition was made easier by the positive atmosphere at GBHS.

“Everyone is very friendly and helpful and won’t hesitate to ask if I’m doing okay,” Singh said. “I think that’s something that sets Granite Bay apart.”

Coming into the job right in the heat of college application season was certainly a challenge for everyone.

“Mrs. Orchard still has access to Aeries and her email,” Leighton said. “(She) has been writing Letters of Recommendations and working with both our substitute counselor, and now Ms. Singh, to make sure all students are taken care of.”

Ms, Singh has also been working diligently to ensure the transition goes smoothly.

“I’ve been a counselor before, so I definitely understand the whole counseling process,” Singh said. “I think I’ve been pretty helpful for anyone coming in looking for assistance on the Common, CSU or UC application.”

Senior Gianna Cassano agrees with this after obtaining assistance from Singh.

“I went to a CSU/UC application workshop in the library after school, and she was one of the counselors that was there,” Cassano said. “Whenever I had a question she would be the first one to come over and help me out.”

Singh offers student assistance and guidance in areas outside of academics as well.

“I’m here for academics, personal, social and career-oriented support,” Singh said

This gives students someone they can invariably rely on even during tough times 一 something that can be extremely important.

“I have an open-door policy where students can always stop by to say ‘Hi’ at any time,” Singh said.

This policy will prove useful for all students at GBHS who are looking for personal advice or support.

In order to meet and get familiar with some of the students she would be counseling, Singh called in some students, including Hall, to talk with them.

“She introduced herself and let me know I can come to her for any college questions or stressful things because she knows I’m a senior,” Hall said.

But Singh didn’t just present herself as an academic resource.

“I saw her the next day for a personal problem, and she let me know that I can use her office if I ever need a break from school,” Hall said. “So she let me know that there are some possible places I can go if I need a mental break.”

Singh, herself, sums her new role at Granite Bay perfectly.

“I want to be that source on campus who students can come to and feel safe and nonjudgmental,” Singh said. “I want students to feel safe to talk about whatever is going on at home or school.”