As part of National School Counseling Week, celebrated this year Feb. 5-9, Gwinnett County Public Schools (GCPS) highlighted the key role school counselors play in the academic success and overall well-being of all Gwinnett children. In doing so, the school district named its top counseling professionals of the year. The 2018 GCPS top counseling professionals are:
• 2018 Gwinnett County Elementary School Counselor of the Year Sherry Ferguson of Ferguson Elementary School. As a professional school counselor, Ferguson readily recognizes the need to support academic, social, and emotional growth by assisting students and staff in various ways. She continually seeks opportunities to make a difference one day, one child and one possibility at a time. Note: This recognition is especially heart-warming as the school at which she works is named after her grandmother.
• 2018 Gwinnett County Middle School Counselor of the Year Laura Ross of Five Forks Middle School. Ross always has the best interests of students at the heart of everything she does. “She is without a doubt a true champion,” said Five Forks Middle School Principal Christine Douthart. “She reminds all of us that our connections with students can make all the difference in the world.”
• 2018 Gwinnett County Secondary School Counselor of the Year Bobby Gueh of Lanier High School. Gueh has a way with words. Lanier High School Principal Dr. Christopher Martin says, “The rhythm and cadence he has with words makes someone want to sit and listen to his wisdom for hours. He has the ability to create connections with others that are of the utmost sincerity and genuineness despite any differences.”
• 2018 Gwinnett County Mary Joe Hannaford Counselor Administrator of the Year Christine Douthart, Principal of Five Forks Middle School. According to the counselors at Five Forks Middle, Douthart believes in a comprehensive school counseling program that gives counselors two important things: space and a place. “Space” to implement interventions and initiatives that support school needs, and a “place” for counselors in all areas of the school, including leadership.
• 2018 Gwinnett County Counselor Writer of the Year Teshia Stovall Dula of Hull Middle School
• 2018 Gwinnett County Louise Radloff Advocate of the Year Anthony Smith, assistant superintendent for high schools and former principal of Duluth High School. In nominating Mr. Smith for this honor, the Duluth High counseling team wrote of his unwavering dedication to helping others become successful. They said, “He works tirelessly to ensure that students graduate on time. With a unique ability to diffuse almost any situation with humor, Smith’s charismatic personality has helped navigate potentially contentious situations.”
GCPS counselors continue to be among the most recognized with state and national honors. Recent honorees include Stacey Miller, a 2016 semifinalist for the national honor, Jennifer Diaz, a finalist for 2015 National Counselor of the Year; Andrea Hodgin, a semifinalist for the 2015 national honor; and Robin Zorn of Mason Elementary, who was named the 2014 National School Counselor of the Year.
For more about the award winners and the counselor’s role in GCPS, news media representatives can contact Tinisha Parker, Director of advisement and counseling, at 678-301-7372.