Meet the Counselors



Jackie Smith
 Ms. Smith is a graduate of Sunnyslope High School.  After completing her four years there, she went to Mesa Community College to play basketball for one year.  After that, she went to, and graduated from, University of Missouri-Columbia.  She then attended the University of Wisconsin-Steven Pointe where she received her Masters.  Ms. Smith stayed at UW for a year to assist with coaching basketball and then she came to begin work at Independence.  When she has the opportunity, Ms. Smith makes it a point to spend as much time with her family as possible. She also enjoys playing golf, working out, and hanging out with her friends.  Her number one hobby, however, is traveling.  She has set a personal goal to visit every island in the world.

Terry Cass
Mrs. Cass is a graduate of Arizona State University where she completed her BA in Education.  She continued her schooling and received her Masters in Education/School Guidance Counseling.  She was previously a teacher in the Glendale Elementary School District where she taught grades 5-8.  Here at Independence she fulfills her duties as a guidance counselor and also helps with coaching Badminton.  When she is not at work, you can find Mrs. Cass spending time with her family or watching good movies.

Laura Trezza

Ms. Trezza is a graduate of the Arizona State University where she earned a BA in Secondary Education and Math Specialization.  She received her Masters in School Guidance Counseling from Ottawa University.  She has taught Algebra and Geometry at Independence High School for the past 5 years and will be a part of the counseling department this year.  During her free time, she enjoys spending time with family and friends. She also enjoys traveling on the weekends, especially to Northern Arizona, movies,working out,and her favorite place is the beach. 

Elissa Koole
Department Head

Ms. Koole has a B.S. from ASU and a Masters in Counseling from ASU. Her previous school experience is as a Counselor and a  School Social Worker. Prior to working in the school system, she worked in behavioral health. She is currently a counselor. In her free time, she enjoy spending time with her two children. She loves watching movies, football and shopping. 


Dr. Sylvia Rodriguez

Dr. Rodriguez is a graduate from GUHSD, obtained her BA from Arizona State University, Masters from Northern Arizona University and a Ph.D in Psychology.  Her prior teaching experience includes Washington High SchoolMadison School District, Luke Air Force Base and is an adjunct faculty professor in the Psychology Department with Maricopa Community Colleges.  At Independence she assists the English Language Learners and Refugees. Dr. Rodriguez enjoys spending time with her family and friends. She enjoys traveling.