Vista Verde Counseling


Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) is the process through which children and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, establish and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships and make responsible decisions. (Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning, CASEL)

Irvine Unified School District and Vista Verde School support the social-emotional development of your child.  We understand the foundation SEL provides for safe and positive learning, which enhances student’s ability to succeed in school, careers, and life.

Meet Our team

Nori Deatherage- Counselor


Christina Kee- Elementary Resource Counseling Specialist

Hello! I am Christina Kee, the Elementary Resource Counseling Specialist at Vista Verde. While my role can be very diverse, I am overall here to support students (K-5) with their social-emotional needs. Some of the services that I provide are individual counseling, group counseling, classroom support and interventions, education for staff and students on social-emotional topics, parent support and linkage to outside resources. Being another support here at the school site, it is not uncommon for me to also check-in with students as needed for things such as friendship issues, having a difficult day, and struggling with overwhelming feelings. At times, a teacher may also contact me to assist in mediating difficulties between students and I may help the students through the use of restorative practices. My background is in counseling, and I am a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. My specialty is children and adolescents, and I have been working with this population for over 13 years. 

If you feel your student may benefit from counseling services, you may start by contacting your student’s teacher, or ask me any questions by emailing me at I am at Vista Verde on Monday and Friday and my phone number is 949-936-6785.


Nicole Matilla- Guidance Assistant

Hello everyone! My name is Nicole Mattila and I will be running the Second Step classroom lessons and providing small groups to support with social skill building. I am very excited to be a part of the Vista Verde community! To give you a little background on myself, I am currently getting my Master’s degree in School Counseling from Concordia University. I have experience in ABA and students with special needs. My passion has always been working with children and I am eager to work with the students here.  I will be at Vista Verde on Tuesday’s and Thursday’s from 8:00a- 2:30p. 



The Elementary Guidance Assistant Program is designed to offer social-emotional learning to students during their school day using an evidenced based social-emotional classroom curriculum called Second Step. Second Step is designed to teach children how to understand and manage their emotions, control their reactions, be aware of others’ feelings, and have the skills to problem solve and make responsible decisions. These lessons will increase students learning-readiness and help them to move ahead successfully in school. Guidance Assistants are trained para-professional staff and are assigned at each of IUSD’s K-6 school sites to teach Second Step in the classroom and provide small group workshops for children who would benefit from additional support. Students with parent permission may participate in “TOOLBOX” groups, the small group workshops, which are a series of once-a-week, 30-45 minute small group lessons during the school day. Groups usually last for 10-12 weeks.

Please note: information will be kept confidential unless there is an indication that your child is in danger of hurting himself/herself or others, that someone may be hurting your child, or if there is an intent to cause significant property damage.  If you have any further questions, please contact the classroom teacher or your Elementary Resource Counseling Specialist. 




The Elementary Resource Counseling Program is designed to provide opportunities for students to participate in individual and small group counseling experiences that provide support and skill building for coping with family stressors, academic struggles, and personal issues.  It is not unusual for students to need focused help to strengthen their social- emotional skills in order to be more learning ready during different times in their childhood. Many children struggle from time to time with a range of family and life circumstances (divorce, loss, moves, stress) that make coming to school more difficult and we are here to offer tools and support.  Small group and individual counseling can be an excellent way for students to learn new skills, develop self- confidence, adjust behaviors, and learn to deal with challenges in healthy ways.  


Services are provided during the school day, once a week for approximately 30 minutes. These services are free of charge and voluntary. Every effort will be made to minimize the loss of important instructional time.  Please Note: Information shared by your child in counseling sessions will be kept confidential unless there is an indication that your child is in danger of hurting himself/herself or others, that someone may be hurting your child, or if there is intent to cause significant property damage.