WACO, Texas - Today, Education Service Center (ESC) Region 12 held its Annual School Counselor Appreciation luncheon and named Munirah Tarver from Miller Heights Elementary in Belton ISD and Deborah Fay from Manor Middle School in Killeen ISD as Region 12 Elementary and Secondary Counselors of the Year, respectively.
This program began five years ago as a way to recognize exemplary school counseling programs and elite school counselors in the region.
Munirah Tarver, Region 12 Elementary Counselor of the Year, has been a counselor for three years and hopes to implement a comprehensive, developmental counseling program on her campus. She has headed programs at Miller Heights Elementary such as the Backpack Buddies program for weekend food and the No Place for Hate program for diversity and inclusion.
“My job is amazing,” said Tarver. “I go to work every day and I get lots of hugs and I get to support kids through some of the most challenging times in their lives, so that they can do their best at school and be their best in life.”
Deborah Fay, Region 12 Secondary Counselor of the Year, was inspired by her middle school counselor to pursue this career. She believes that counseling is an evolving art, using methods such as solution-focused and impact therapy. Fay has served as a counselor for 14 years.
“Mrs. Fay ensures that programs are in a place that will meet the needs, not just academic, for all students,” Manor Middle School Principal Jennifer Washington said.
In the past, the ESC only named one counselor between elementary and secondary schools. This year, ESC Region 12 recognized an elementary and a secondary school counselor because of the diverse tasks and roles they both hold on their campuses.
“It's exciting for our recipients because school counselors are typically very reserved about their work,” said Jeni Janek, counseling specialist at ESC Region 12. “In recent times and with so many responsibilities upon them in so many varied roles in our schools, we believe it's time that they do have the recognition that they deserve.”
View photos from the event >
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