CCS’ 2017-18 Elementary, Middle and High School Counselors of the Year
Published by Bobbi Jo Pova on February 20, 2017
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Each year CCS selects one deserving elementary, middle and high school counselor for the School Counselor of the Year Award.  Principals and school counselors were asked to nominate a school counselor who they felt exemplified the role of the school counselor.  This role includes implementing a comprehensive school counseling program that supports students’ academic, career, and personal/social development, advocating for students, collaborating with teachers and parents, and holding themselves to high standards in his/her personal and professional conduct.  Each winner is awarded a plaque and a registration scholarship to attend the North Carolina School Counselor Association (NCSCA) Conference the following November. This year there were 10 excellent candidates for the awards made up of four elementary school counselors, two middle schools, and four high school counselors.

(Pictured from left to right: Bottom row – Dr. Myra Robinson (GCHS Counselor), Mrs. Shannon Gemma-Marr (Margaret Willis Elementary Counselor), Mrs. Deborah Martin (Mary McArthur Elementary Counselor), Mrs. Brittany Raines (CPHS Counselor), Mrs. Jennifer Butler (Eastover Central Elementary Counselor), Ms. Stephanie Pilgrim (IDMS Counselor), School Board Member – Mrs. Carrie Sutton. Middle row – School Board Member – Mrs. Porchia McMillian, Mrs. Elizabeth Linville (RRCMS Counselor), Ms. Kristan Fields (TSHS Counselor). Back Row – Associate Superintendent for Student Support Services – Dr. Mary Black, School Board Member – Mrs. Susan Williams, Mrs. Erica Byford (W.T. Brown Elementary Counselor), Executive Director of Student Services, Ms. Natasha Scott, Counselor Coordinator – Kristy Curran, School Board Member – Mrs. Donna Vann)

(Pictured from left to right: Bottom row – Dr. Myra Robinson (GCHS), Mrs. Shannon Gemma-Marr (Margaret Willis Elem.), Mrs. Deborah Martin (Mary McArthur Elem), Mrs. Brittany Raines (CPHS), Mrs. Jennifer Butler (Eastover Central Elem), Ms. Stephanie Pilgrim (IDMS), School Board Member – Mrs. Carrie Sutton. Middle row – School Board Member – Mrs. Porchia McMillian, Mrs. Elizabeth Linville (RRCMS), Ms. Kristan Fields (TSHS). Back Row – Associate Superintendent for Student Support Services – Dr. Mary Black, School Board Member – Mrs. Susan Williams, Mrs. Erica Byford (W.T. Brown Elem), Executive Director of Student Services, Ms. Natasha Scott, Counselor Coordinator – Kristy Curran, School Board Member – Mrs. Donna Vann)

The 2017-18 winners are: 

Mrs. Jennifer Butler – Eastover Central Elementary
Jennifer Butler has been a school counselor for 25 years.  She is the only counselor for the 400 students at Eastover-Central Elementary school.  In addition to her regular counseling activities, Mrs. Butler leads and organizes the Student Counselor and her Patriot Kids club.  Her principal, Mr. Ashley Porter, stated that he felt she deserved to be the CCS Elementary School Counselor of the Year because “Mrs. Butler is the epitome of what a School Counselor should be.  She performs all expected tasks within her role as counselor at an extremely high level while also serving in several extra-curricular roles in the school.  In addition to this, she often serves as a presenter for district-level presentations due to her vast experience and knowledge base.  Her initiative and, most importantly, her care for students is an invaluable asset to our school and is why she is deserving of the honor of School Counselor of the Year.”

Mrs. Stephanie Pilgrim – Ireland Drive Middle
Stephanie Pilgrim has been a school counselor for 14 years.  She is the only counselor at Ireland Drive Middle School who goes above and beyond to ensure the students make a smooth transition to middle school.  In addition, she focuses on helping students get organized, dealing with adolescent issues, bullying, self-esteem, and academic struggles.  Ms. Pilgrim is also the head of the SST and advises the Beta Club. Stephanie was also nominated by her principal Mrs. Tina DiGaudio.  Mrs. DiGaudio said that she believed Ms. Pilgrim should be the Middle School Counselor of the Year because “Ms. Pilgrim is a very hard worker who always puts students first. She works diligently to ensure that parents and community support agencies are working in the best interest of the child, and she uses all available resources to counsel and guide students throughout the day.  She has high standards for all students and works with teachers, administration, and staff members to do whatever it takes to make students successful.  Using a variety of methods (whole group, small group, individual, mediation, etc.) she is able to reach students based upon their needs.”

Mrs. Brittany Raines – Cumberland Polytechnic High
Brittany Raines has been a school counselor for five years.  She is the counselor for the newest high school in Cumberland County, Cumberland Polytechnic High School.  Brittany’s current focus is in a few words, “creative scheduling”.  She works with making sure students take the maximum number of FTCC courses possible to diversify the curriculum available to them.  Her focus is to make sure all students are aligned with a pathway of interest at FTCC as well as taking all the necessary courses to graduate on time.  Rigor and interest have been her priorities when scheduling students.  Brittany also focuses on making as many collegiate opportunities available to students, to guide their focus after they finish with us.  In addition, Mrs. Raines is there to help work with students regarding their personal/social development as they figure out who they are and what they want to be.  Brittany’s principal, Daniel Krumanocker, nominated her for the following reasons,Brittany’s ability to match up her counseling skills to our school vision, creating a unique program, consistent to our innovative high school, is the main reason.  Also she has an excellent ability to work with community college staff to make sure our students are getting the classes and schedules they need. She also demonstrated her versatility by serving as the lead counselor at a comprehensive high school, before taking on this responsibility.”

        
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