Samantha DeMagistris takes over for Karatkewicz in guidance


Provided by Samantha DeMagistris

Samantha DeMagistris takes her place in the WA Guidance Department.

Anushka Patil, Co-Editor-in-Chief

At eighteen years old, many students have no idea what their futures will look like, especially career-wise. Although they may have an idea of what they’re interested in, many students can’t fully predict where they will end up professionally.

Westford Academy’s new guidance counselor Samantha DeMagistris went to school for sociology and then spent ten years of her life in commercial real estate. It was only until 2017 did she realize her passions didn’t lie in real estate, but instead, in school counseling.

“I enjoyed working in real estate. I truly did. However, I never felt as if it was my true calling. I wanted to help students, and so, I sought out counseling,” DeMagistris said.

DeMagistris joined the WA staff at the start of this school year, replacing previous WA Guidance Counselor Jill Karatkewicz who was in charge of last names M-P, roughly.

Counseling was a career that DeMagistris considered her whole life, a consideration positively impacted by her experience with her own high school counselor. However, DeMagistris did not go forward with getting her master’s after her time studying sociology at St. Anslem’s College, because of other commitments in her life.

“The timing didn’t work out. I wasn’t at a point in my life where I could continue on the counseling track, because I had other priorities, such as my kids,” DeMagistris said. “I decided on commercial real estate because it gave me the most flexibility while also including my passion for sustainability as I taught businesses the sustainability benefits of  buying certain properties.”

Finally, after debating it for years, she made the decision to get her master’s in counseling at Salem State University, needing a more personally fulfilling occupation.

While in the process of getting her master’s, DeMagistris interned, at separate points in time, at Burlington High School, Methuen High School, and Lexington Middle school. She found these school counseling internship experiences to be quite beneficial, as they strengthened her passion for this type of work.

“My internships definitely helped me grow as a counselor with a great deal of hands-on experience. In addition, I feel like I learned what type of community I wanted to be part of, in terms of school size and setting,” DeMagistris said.

DeMagistris’ enthusiasm for working with high school students stems from her interest in the four-year college process. She specifically took on this job because of her drive to help students through the stress of the high school experience.

“My favorite part of the year is college application season. I really enjoy helping students with these big, impactful decisions as well as help students gain a voice in the college process,” DeMagistris said.

As for her decision to work at Westford Academy, DeMagistris credits WA’s community for sealing the deal. Aside from her ideal amount of students and the location, WA stood out to DeMagistris because of the commitment that the staff and faculty have for their students.

“Westford Academy has great school spirit and the people are just so nice. I feel extremely fortunate that I get to work at a school where the students are so driven and the faculty is so passionate about their jobs,” DeMagistris said.

In addition, DeMagistris felt connected to WA already before replacing Karatkewicz, as she served as a long-term counseling substitute at Blanchard Middle School ( – 

The tight-knit atmosphere of WA carries over to its guidance department, according to DeMagistris, as her fellow guidance counselors have been more than helpful to her as she adjusts to her new position at the school.

Even further, the positive attitudes of her guidance colleagues have helped in the student transition from Karatkewicz to DeMagistris.

Along with the detailed notes and materials that Karatkewicz compiled for DeMagistris, the guidance team Google Drive and the weekly guidance meetings have helped DeMagistris organize herself in order to make sure that students don’t feel a great change in their counseling affairs.

“Our guidance team works very well together, so I always feel comfortable seeking them out in case I need any help,” DeMagistris said. “I also think my substitute experience at WA helped make the transition even smoother as I was able to work with Mrs. Karatkewicz and the other guidance counselors before taking on this permanent job.”

In terms of her goals, DeMagistris hopes to build a strong rapport with all students, parents, and faculty, help students achieve their academic and personal goals, and advocate for those who can’t advocate for themselves.

These goals of DeMagistris’ seem attainable, according to her colleague, guidance counselor Heidi Hider, who sees DeMagistris as a great addition to the guidance team.

“She’s bright. She’s a quick learner. She’s amazing,” Hider said. “Her work ethic is strong, and she brings a great deal of energy into the WA guidance department. She really is a great fit, and I think she will do really well in our community.”

While she is busy right now adjusting to WA, preparing students for college, and taking charge of the WA Guidance Instagram page, DeMagistris is eager to get involved in WA activities in the future.

“I was involved in cross country and track in high school as well as SADD (Students against Destructive Decisions), so those are definitely possible avenues in which I could contribute even more to our community,” DeMagistris said.

All-in-all, DeMagistris looks forward to her future at WA and hopes to have a positive impact on students. 

“I want to connect with the students and let them know that I am always here for them. From the waves in the hall to the “thank you” [statements], even the smallest acts of kindness can be really validating, showing me that I am making a difference,” DeMagistris said.