ESC Region 12
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ESC Region 12 Recognizes Regional Counselors of the Year

Luncheon also honored Region 12 Crisis Response Team, New Counselor Academy members, Elite School Counselors & Therapy Dogs & Handlers

ESC Region 12 Counselors of the Year

Left to right: Amanda Wilson, Elementary Counselor of the Year in Lorena ISD; Becky Lane, “Lone Ranger” School Counselor of the Year in Gholson ISD; Tara Podjenski, Secondary Counselor of the Year in Rice ISD.

WACO, Texas – Today, Education Service Center (ESC) Region 12 honored Counselors of the Year and others during its Tenth Annual School Counselor Appreciation Luncheon.

This year, the Elementary Counselor of the Year is Amanda Wilson of Lorena Elementary in Lorena ISD, and the Secondary Counselor of the Year is Tara Podjenski of Rice High School in Rice  ISD. There was also a special category to recognize a school counselor who serves an entire district, K-12. This year’s 2023 ESC Region 12 “Lone Ranger” School Counselor of the Year is Becky Lane of Gholson ISD.

"From academic achievement strategies to mental health support, celebrating the essential contributions of those who serve in school counseling is important. ESC Region 12’s annual luncheon is a way to show well-deserved appreciation and honor the Counselors of the Year. It is always a fun and special time,” said Jeni Janek, ESC Region 12 Education Specialist.

Counseling Services Team with Bellas Buddies and Go Team service therapy dogs.

New to the program this year was recognizing canine and handler school crisis responders. Their contributions and impact on area students and educators have steadily increased over the past few years and bring balance to the counseling process. This year’s inaugural recipients are from Bella’s Buddies and Go Team Therapy.

This event, which started at ESC Region 12 (one of 20 centers in Texas), has now grown across the state as other regions honor school counselors in much the same way. Partners McLennan Community College and Heart of Texas Behavioral Health Network helped to recognize the work and dedication of school counselors. Recognitions included retiring counselors, members of the Regional Crisis Response Team, ESC Region 12 New Counselor Academy members, and Elite School Counselors. ESC Region 12 joins the National School Counselor Association in celebrating National School Counseling Week Feb. 6-10. This week honors and celebrates school counselors' contributions and highlights their tremendous impact on helping students achieve success.

Candid photo of counselors

Find the link to event photos here.