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Our Team

Student Services Program Mission Statement

The Student Support Services Department at Hickory Ridge Middle School is focused on helping students by removing obstacles, providing support, and empowering student learning. Each of our team members has an impact on student success, and will work collaboratively with parents and students, and within our school and community, to ensure student success and assist all students in their devleopment. We love middle school and are excited to work with and support all of our Hickory Ridge Mavericks! 

Grade level counselors will be delivering classroom guidance lessons throughout the school year. Lesson topics will follow the American School Counsling Association National Model and adhere to CCS Policy 3200. Lessons will address the three ASCA domains: Academic, Personal/Social, and Career Devleopment. If you have any questions about these lessonsor would like to opt your student out of participation, please contact Dr. Taylor. 


School councelors, social worker, and school psychologist posing outside of the school building.


Navy Blue Divider - Meet Our Team

  • Dr. Megan Thompson
    6th Grade School Counselor

    Hello! My name is Megan Thompson, and I am excited to be joining the Maverick’s this year as the 6th grade Counselor. I have over 15 years of experience working as a Middle School counselor. In addition to being a licensed school counselor, I am also a licensed clinical mental health counselor and work with adolescents and young adults in my private practice. I am passionate about helping middle school students thrive, both academically, socially, and emotionally. I love being able to make connections with students and help support them on their journey through school. It is awe inspiring to witness the academic, social, and emotional growth that young people experience from 6th to 8th grade! 
    I consider myself a lifelong learner and student at heart; I earned a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Sweet Briar College, a Master of Arts in School Counseling from UNC-Charlotte, and a PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision from Regent University. In addition to pursuing my own academic goals, I also help others pursue their goal of becoming a counselor as an adjunct counseling professor. In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my husband cheering on our children at their swim meets, lacrosse games, and volleyball tournaments, as well as relaxing at the beach!  

  • Dr. Candace Gray

    7th Grade School Counselor

    My name is Candace Gray and I am a Licensed Professional School Counselor (k-12). I have 20 years of experience as a school counselor working with youth and young adults. I am the 7th grade school counselor at Hickory Ridge Middle School. This is my first year at Hickory Ridge and I’m super excited about my new chapter at HiRMS. I attended Hampton University, which I am proud to say paved the way for my educational success. I received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology, a Master of Arts Degree in School Counseling, a Specialist in Education Specialist degree in Counseling, and a PHD in Counselor Education and Supervision from Hampton University. As a school counselor, one of my roles is to be committed to aiding students with achieving their full potential, both academically as well as socially/emotionally. In addition, I am truly passionate about supporting students with navigating through life’s challenges and obstacles. In my free time I enjoy spending time with family and friends, attending sporting events, and eating at local restaurants. 

  • Kimberly Ifill PortraitKimberly Ifill
    8th Grade School Counselor

    My name is Kimberly Ifill, I am thrilled to be the 8th grade school counselor at Hickory Ridge Middle School. I have over 20 years of experience in the field of education. I have earned a Bachelor of Science in Psychology, a Master of in Science in Agency/School Counseling, and a Post-Graduate Certificate in School Administration from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. I am a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor as well as a National Certified Counselor. One of the coolest things about being a school counselor is that I get the opportunity to work with all students in the areas of academic success, career development, AND in the personal/social realm. I am looking forward to a successful school year!

  • School social worker portrait, LaRhonda BrysonLaRhonda Bryson
    School Social Worker

    Hello! My name is LaRhonda Bryson, and I am your School Social Worker. I serve at both Harrisburg Elementary and Hickory Ridge Middle School. My role is to empower students and students’ families so they may overcome barriers that inhibit a student’s learning. As your School Social Worker, I provide a variety of services to help link school, home, and community in order for students and families to overcome challenges that prevent academic and social/emotional success. Some specific services that I offer are crisis intervention, individual/group counseling, parent education, family outreach, information for community resources, attendance intervention and McKinney Vento/Homeless Education support. I am looking forward to a fantastic school year.  If you ever need to reach me, please call the school, or email me at

  • Megan Payne

    School Psychologist

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