Meet Your Counselors

Meet Your Counselors


Deanna Mahan: Lead Counselor

My name is DeAnna Mahan, and I am the Lead Counselor at Murchison Middle School. I received a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education with endorsements in special education and guidance studies from the University of North Texas. I worked as an elementary school teacher for 15 years before I earned my Master’s degree in School Counseling from Southwest Texas State University.  

 The majority of my counseling experience has been in the central Texas area, where I have served as an elementary, middle, and high school counselor. During my 19 years as a school counselor, I have adopted a student-centered and solution-focused philosophy. I believe in a comprehensive counseling program that addresses the academic, career, and personal/social development of all students.   

I have lived and worked in the Murchison Middle School community for eleven years. I enjoy early mornings at the gym, walking my Goldendoodle, Priscilla, and spending as much time as possible with our blended family of five daughters, three sons-in-law, and six grandchildren.   

 My most embarrassing moment involved a rodeo and a horse with a mind of her own, and my most challenging moment was finding the courage to scuba dive to a depth of 35 feet. The best way to contact me is via email at


Wellness Counselor: Sarah Maldonado

My name is Sarah Maldonado and this is my first year at Murchison Middle School as the Wellness Counselor. I have a Masters Degree in Counseling and I am a Licensed Professional Counselor. I have lived in Texas for most of my life, but also have lived in Oklahoma, Chile, and Ireland. I am getting married in August and have a Springer Spaniel named Lola who makes me smile every day.

Some of my favorite hobbies include going for hikes around Austin, reading books, playing board games, spending time with my family, traveling, and exploring new places. One of my favorite experiences was going paragliding off a mountain in Columbia!

The best way to reach me is via email at I’m looking forward to getting to know each of you!


6th Grade Counselor: Kate Plifka  

I am so excited to start my third year at Murchison as the 6th Grade Counselor! 

A little about me: I grew up in Dallas, TX and attended St. Edward’s University where I earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology. Immediately following graduation, I started a new adventure in New York City where I earned a Master’s Degree in School Counseling from New York University.

I worked for two years in New York City as a high school counselor for the Alternate Learning Center, an alternative school for students (9th-12th grade) serving a 6-90 day suspension. Although the experience in New York was amazing, I knew Texas had my heart. In 2014, I moved back home where I worked as a high school counselor at Del Valle High School for three years. 

My passions and hobbies include: being outside in any capacity (hiking the greenbelt, swimming, and taking walks around Austin with my beloved Australian Shepherd Finn). I also love to travel and explore new places, exercise, board games (I love a good game night) and just spending time with my husband, family and friends. 

I truly feel blessed that I get to do what I do! I am inspired everyday by my students and strive to help each individual student achieve their unique personal goals. I am here for support and a safe place for students to become the best versions of themselves:)

The best way to contact me is via email at

Looking forward to a great year!


7th Grade Counselor: Kady Maxwell

 I graduated with my Bachelor of Science in Education and English as a Second Language from Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas. From there, I moved to Austin to pursue my Masters of Arts in Counseling from St. Edward’s University. Prior to my three years as a school counselor at Murchison, I taught 5th and 7th grade English Language Arts and ESL. 

In my free time, I enjoy hanging out with my husband and our two dogs. I love practicing yoga, taking my dogs on hikes around the greenbelt, biking around town, delving into a great book, and traveling as much as I can.

Middle school students are my passion and everyday is a joy working with them! The best way to reach me is by email at I’m looking forward to a wonderful school year!


8th Grade Counselor: Emily Blouin

A little about me… born and raised in Vermont, I’ve made my way south in search of warmer weather. Austin is the perfect fit! When I’m not working with children I love being outside in my hammock, taking my pup to Barton Springs, coffee, cooking vegan dishes and reading.

I hold a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and a Master’s Degree in Counseling & Human Development, both from George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. I have counseled in Fairfax County, VA and Fort Myers, FL prior to living in Austin.

The best way to reach me is via email:

I look forward to another great year at MMS! 🙂