By: Staff Reports | Gwinnett Citizen
L-R: GCPS CEO/Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks, Mrs. Zorn, GCPS director of advisement and counseling Dianne Thompson, and Mason Elementary Principal Mr. David Jones.

Zorn named 2014 National Counselor

The Gwinnett County school counselor who was instrumental in launching the school district’s Elementary School Peer Leadership Conference, has been named the 2014 ASCA National School Counselor of the Year. A representative from the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) traveled to Mason Elementary in the Peachtree Ridge Cluster on Tuesday, December 3, 2013, to surprise school counselor Robin Zorn with the news.

Mason Elementary students, school faculty, and staff members were joined by district leaders as the school system celebrated the national accolade presented to one of its own.

“As a school district, we could not be more thrilled that Robin Zorn has received this national distinction out of thousands of professionals from around the country who every day help and guide school children,” says Dianne Thompson, GCPS’ director of advisement and counseling. “Robin is so deserving of this honor. She works diligently to remove barriers to student achievement as evidenced by her compassion for her students, her innovative programs, and her leadership skills. Because of Robin’s initiative, Mason Elementary earned the national RAMP distinction for its data-driven, comprehensive school counseling program.”

In October, the American School Counselor Association named Mrs. Zorn one of five finalists for the national award that honors the professionals who devote their careers to serving as student advocates. The other four finalists included two elementary school counselors from Florida and Texas and two counseling professionals at the high school level from Arizona and New Jersey. A panel of representatives from national educational organizations selected the finalists based on several criteria, including: school counseling innovations, effective school counseling programs, leadership and advocacy skills, and contributions to student advancement.

Leading to the national announcement, Mrs. Zorn had earned state and local recognition as the 2012 Georgia Elementary Counselor of the Year and the 2012 Gwinnett County Elementary Counselor of the Year. She has dedicated two decades of service to Gwinnett County Public Schools students and is known for her innovative guidance lessons and programs. For example, hundreds of elementary school peer leaders come together during the annual conference that Mrs. Zorn launched in 2010. At the conference, elementary school students from across the district gather to learn about how to be a better leader. Topics at this conference typically include: Leadership, 7 Habits of Highly Effective Kids, Bullying Prevention, and Reading and Mathematics Strategies. Since the first annual conference, the event has become a popular learning gathering for students, counselors, principals, and community members.

Ms. Zorn earned both her master’s degree and specialist’s degree from Georgia State University in school counseling.

The American School Counselor Association has invited Mrs. Zorn, Mason Elementary Principal David Jones, and guests to a formal celebration in Washington, D.C., in January.

During the visit, she will meet with members of Congress, attend a congressional briefing, and be formally recognized at a black-tie gala.

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