Celebrating Our School Counselors

Celebrating Our School Counselors
Posted on 02/01/2023

Celebrating National School Counselors Week
By: Christina McCaw
Director of Social Emotional Learning, Behavior & Intervention 

National School Counseling Week 2023, “School Counselors: Helping Students Dream Big,” sponsored by the American School Counselor Association (ASCA), will be celebrated from February 6–10, 2023, to focus attention on the unique contribution of school counselors our school systems and how students grow as a result of what school counselors do. National School Counseling Week highlights the tremendous impact school counselors can have in helping students be successful in school and plan for a career or education after high school. 

The special week honoring school counselors provides recognition for school counselors who “implement comprehensive school counseling programs, a vital part of the educational process for all students as they meet the challenges of the 21st century,” according to the ASCA.  As we celebrate National School Counseling Week, I am reminded of the abundance of support our school counselors offer to students and parents across the district. I have the pleasure of working with all of the school counseling departments, and it never ceases to amaze me how hard they work day in and day out to support our kids. Our school counselors play a vital role in the students' academic, social and emotional growth over the course of their school careers. 

Although the roles of the school counselor may look different at each level, they all work to help kids be their best selves. At the high school level, the school counselors are not only helping students navigate the social and emotional challenges of being a teenager, they are helping our students grow by guiding them to find the path they are going to take after high school.  Mr. Brad Ellebracht, high school principal said, “The role of the school counselor is so important.  They face new and different challenges every day and are a critical resource for our school and our kids. Our counseling team at the high school is amazing and work incredibly hard to support our kids and our teachers.”  If you have high school questions reach out to Freshman and Sophomore counselor Jillayne Chancellor; Junior counselor Angie Moeller; or Senior counselor Lindsey Yancey.  

Suzanne Evans and DaeJera Aaron are the middle school counselors. The middle school years bring unique challenges for students as they are beginning to figure out who they are and they are growing so much at this stage emotionally, socially and academically. Ms. Julie Lower had this to say about the school counselors at the middle school. “Our counselors constantly go above and beyond to help students and staff at MMS. They have such caring hearts and work tirelessly to make sure our kids have the tools they need to be their best every day.  If we give them a need, they’re always there to help.   Suzanne and DaeJera are such a vital part of our team. We don’t know what we’d do without them!”

Our elementary school counselors are the heart of our elementary buildings. We have one school counselor in each of the elementary schools. Victoria Finn is at Hawthorne and is in her second year there.  Both Mrs. Lehnen, principal, and Mr. Balsamo, assistant principal, said that Hawthorne was lucky to have her! Mrs. Lehnen also said, “Mrs. Finn is a kind and caring person, who makes meaningful connections with our students.  She goes above and beyond for our students.” 

Mrs. Pezley and Ms. Caine, principal and assistant principal, also said that they are lucky to have Samantha Porter as the school counselor at Eugene Field.  Ms. Caine said, "Ms. Porter is always willing to jump in and help any student struggling with overwhelming emotions or other issues. She is quick to offer ideas for support and things that we can provide to help students have a better day. Eugene Field is lucky to have Ms. Porter." 

Our youngest students begin their school careers with Misty Werkmeister as the school counselor. Even though this is only her second year as a school counselor, she brings lots of experience with her.  Ms. Misty, as the littlest students call her, is in and out of classrooms in pre-kindergarten and kindergarten, teaching lessons and providing social and emotional support. Dr. Billington and Mrs. Echelemeier, principal and assistant principal of McMillan Early Learning Center, both said how blessed they were to have a school counselor with the knowledge and skills Ms. Misty brings. Dr. Billinton said, “Through weekly counseling lessons, small social groups, and individual student support, Misty works hard to provide the students the emotional and behavioral skills sets needed to ensure their success.”  

If you are a parent of a student, I encourage you to take a few moments to thank your school counselors. Even a short thank you note with an acknowledgement of their hard work and support can mean a lot. Let's give a round of applause for these individuals working tirelessly to support the well-being and success of all of our students.