Dr. Karen Gray of the Lincoln County School District has been honored by the Oregon School Counseling Association (OSCA) with its “SUPER-intendent Award” for her support of school counselors.
“The students in Lincoln County are being served by an excellent group of counselors supported by a superintendent that values school counselors,” OSCA President Kari Weileder said.
Weileder said Gray has been influential in advocating for counselors and their efforts to create data-driven, comprehensive counseling programs, and for bringing the American School Counseling Association [ASCA] national model to the Oregon Coast and supporting the implementation of the standards to all school counselors of the county.
Lincoln County school counselors have been given the opportunity to participate in professional development specific to their field, and to network with hundreds of other counselors in the state, she said.
In explaining the background for the granting of the award, Weileder said:
“Back in 2011, there were no elementary school counselors. Our two largest high schools had only one counselor serving over 700 students. In 2016 building administrators were given one FTE to hire a TOSA or school counselor.
“Dr. Tiana Tucker was the principal at Sam Case [Elementary School in Newport] and was the only principal to choose to hire an elementary counselor. It was apparent that counselors have a special skill-set and the students at Sam Case had an advantage over their peers at other schools.
“In the spring of 2018, LCSD was conducting a new superintendent search. At the community meetings, applicants were provided data about the impact school counselors can have on student achievement and the current less than satisfactory state of school counselors in LCSD.
“Candidates were asked about their views of school counselors and what would they do to have a school counselor in every building in LCSD. Dr. Gray was selected to be our new superintendent and quickly stated we would have a counselor in every building.
“From four counselors in 2011 to 14 currently, the landscape of school counseling is changing in Lincoln County. Dr. Gray has also committed to providing professional development to counselors on a monthly basis, bringing an ASCA expert to our district to develop and fully implement the ASCA national model, as well as assigning a special programs administrator to support counselors.”