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Counselor brings life experience to elementary school

March 29, 2019 GMT

LAUGHLIN — Janell Dietz once rocked out with Canadian country bands. She made a gospel album. She ran a DJ business. She performed for United States military troops in South Korea.

That was then. This is now.

Now, Dietz is a K-3 counselor at William G. Bennett Elementary School in Laughlin and a part-time therapist who still performs today, but on a much different stage.

Today, she assists students at Bennett. However, she still gets into character by occasionally using puppets and songs to help the students learn.

“The kids love it,” Dietz said. “It keeps them and me entertained. Every two weeks at Bennett, I do a show on character education based on the word of the month.”

She grew up in Glendive, Montana, singing gospel music and left to attend a college in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. Eventually, she found herself singing in nearby venues.

From there, she found herself touring on the road all over Canada with a band called David Boone and the Crocketts, performing country rock music.

After a while, the Canadian cold got to Dietz and she decided it was time to move on.

“I was laying outside in my backyard in (Canada) during the summer and I said to myself, ‘I like the sun,’ ” Dietz said.

So, she packed up her things in 1985 and moved to where it’s sunny 210 days out of the year: Las Vegas.

Dietz continued performing off and on for a decade, doing contract-based singing and modeling work. The money she earned helped her get back to college, as she never finished in Regina.

Dietz attended the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, four times. She first completed her bachelor’s degree in marketing. She went back almost immediately to get a master’s degree in school counseling.

“I ran into someone who said if you get a master’s in education you can start teaching in the Clark County School District,” Dietz said. “It was stable and allowed me to continue performing during the summers/weekends.”

After a few years of teaching, Dietz went back to UNLV to get a doctorate in education.

“I thought I wanted to be an administrator,” she said. “However, I have yet to use it.”

She went back to UNLV for a fourth time to get her most recent degree, a master’s degree in therapy.

Dietz left the school district to become a fulltime therapist. It’s how she got to know Gabriela Cruze, the owner of Serenity Mental Health.

“We first opened Serenity in 2010 and she (Dietz) was an intern for us while getting her therapist license,” Cruze said. “She mostly worked with kids but also did stuff with adults. She was always a pleasure to work with.”

Dietz eventually left Serenity and went back to work for CCSD. She now calls Laughlin home and has worked at Bennett since the start of the current school year.

She and Cruze always have kept in touch, even more so now that Dietz is starting to do part-time therapy with the Serenity name in Laughlin.

The company has three locations, one each in Las Vegas, Pahrump and Carson City. Cruze is working on potentially bringing a full-time site to Laughlin.