Debra Gaeta




As a School Counselor, it is my role to help students achieve to their highest potential and to help remove obstacles to learning. My goal is to teach students healthy social skills, positive work habits, and the self-advocacy skills they will need to accomplish whatever goal they choose! I hope to guide, encourage, teach, listen to, and inspire my students. This year I will work primarily with our 1st and 2nd grade students.

Professional Background

I earned my Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from the University of Virginia in 1996 and then went on to earn my Master’s Degree in Education with a concentration in School Counseling from the University of Maryland at College Park in 1998. My first job was as a full-time elementary school counselor at Christa McAuliffe Elementary School in Prince William County, where I worked for 14 years. In 2011 my school counseling program was nationally recognized as a R.A.M.P. program (Recognized American School Counseling Association Model Program). After moving to Washington, D.C., I began working in Arlington in 2012. I previously worked at Oakridge Elementary, Claremont Immersion School, and Jamestown Elementary. This year I will be at Discovery on Fridays. I can be found at Taylor Elementary and Glebe Elementary the rest of the week.

Personal Interests

My favorite thing to do in my free time is to spend time with my family, including my five-year-old son and infant daughter. We live a block from Rock Creek Park, so together we enjoy watching the deer, foxes, groundhogs, chipmunks and bunnies in our backyard, playing in the dirt, and taking walks in our neighborhood. As a family we love rooting for our UVa football team, the Washington Nationals and the New York Yankees. I enjoy cooking Italian food and celebrating my Italian roots!

Literary Connection

One of my favorite books to share with students is One by Kathryn Otoshi. I experienced teasing and bullying as a child, which propelled me on the path toward becoming a school counselor. I believe every child has a right to learn in a safe, supportive environment. I want all children to know that they can be the “One” who stands up for both themselves and others. They have the power to speak up. I hope all children can find their strong, confident voice and unite for a positive cause. Our community must look out for and care for one another. Together we are stronger than we are alone!