New psychologist plans to bring change based on student body needs

Kavita Ajmere sits in her sparse Seaver office while a technician explains how to use her new desktop and laptop setup.

While she is still settling in, Ajmere,  the new Director of Counseling and Psychological Services, is excited to work with students.

“I like the idea of being able to have an impact on young minds and [being] able to have students have a healthier perspective and make healthy choices,” Ajmere said.

This is the first year the job of Director of Counseling and Psychological Services has been available as a full-time position.

In prior years, Sheila Siegel, who left at the end of last year, held the position part-time.

As part of her job, Ajmere will teach psychology and Choices and Challenges and help train the student leaders in Peer Support.

“The students seemed to be very loyal to Harvard-Westlake, very proud to be part of the student body here,” said Ajmere. “I want to be in a school where people feel proud of where they go to school.”

As the school’s psychologist, Ajmere will also consult with students who feel overwhelmed with work, have trouble with relationships or have other mental health concerns.

Ajmere plans to be the link between parents and teachers in case problems arise between the two.

“I am the liaison person between, at times, parents and faculty members when there are certain concerns or needs arise for a student in whatever psychological capacity they might be,” Ajmere said.

Previously, Ajmere worked as a psychologist at Francis W. Parker School in Chicago. An avid yoga fan, Ajmere also led the school’s yoga club.

She hopes to find additional work as a yoga instructor in Los Angeles or lead a yoga club at school.

Ajmere was attracted to Harvard-Westlake because she will be able to work with  students at the middle school and upper school campuses.

At her previous job, Ajmere worked only with high school students.

“For me, it was an exciting opportunity to expand my work with students,” Ajmere said. “I’m excited to expand my understanding of adolescents and be able to reach out to middle school students.”

Once she gets to know the student body, Ajmere will make adjustments.

“I’d like it to be driven by the students’ needs,” said Ajmere.

“I want to get an assessment from the students and what the students want more of,” Ajmere said.

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