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Election of 2018-2019 Officers and Directors
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GSCA is pleased to announce the nominees for GSCA Officers and Directors for the 2018-2019 year. Information regarding each nominee follows. GSCA members are encouraged to read the candidates’ information below and vote here from November 8 (following the close of Opening Session) until 5 pm on December 1.

President-Elect

Maria Grovner

Click here to view Maria's candidate video.

Introductory Paragraph:

I am Maria Grovner and I am delighted to run for the office of President-Elect. For the past nine years, I have volunteered in leadership positions within the association. From serving as a mentor to connecting with counselors via email and social media as well as at various face to face events, I tried to be a source of inspiration and a motivator towards helping school counselors become their best. Leading school counselors onward and upward has been my goal at the state level and in the school systems I have worked and now I would like to expand that goal so we can benefit as professionals and our students can reap the benefits of our efforts. With the challenges facing our students and our profession, we must become knowledgeable and resourceful, a beacon of light, so our students view towards the future is not dimmed and neither is ours.

Your vision for GSCA:

With statewide focus on college/career readiness for all students, school counselors are poised to take a leadership role in the broader field of education. I would relish the opportunity to pursue this vision for GSCA by educating others on how the three domains can be intertwined to achieve student success.

Statement regarding your goals and qualifications for the position:

Since 2009, I have been involved in leadership with GSCA. The past eight years has allowed me to be a part of GSCA becoming a premier organization when it comes to advocating on behalf of the school counselors in the state. My goal is to sponsor initiatives that gives back to its members via a variety of means to include professional development and resources. I would like to continue building on what GSCA has worked so hard to achieve, and to use that strong foundation to move the organization forward. Forward to where other state counseling associations will want to model their association after GSCA. We have some great pioneers in GSCA and tapping into what they could offer members and potential members is key to helping the organization grow. My think tank is overflowing with ideas and being elected will give the tank an opportunity to be emptied.

If elected, what two goals would you like to accomplish during your term?

Two goals I would like to accomplish are:
1. To offer multiple professional learning opportunities for all membership categories throughout the year, in addition to the annual conference.
2. To increase collaboration with other counseling organizations in the state and other statewide education associations and state agencies.

What experiences in GSCA, your profession, or other areas will enhance your ability to serve?

Being a school counselor, I know the opportunities and obstacles that exist. My experience in leadership at the state level reminded me that I am very passionate about advocating for school counselors and supporting them. I have had conversations with administrators and legislators about the role of the school counselor.

Why should the 1100+ members of GSCA elect you to lead the association in the position of president?

I believe I have much to offer our association, and I am eager to continue the legacy of productive leadership that has been a characteristic of current and past GSCA leaders. There’s no stopping us now. Counselors are on a roll; I have the drive to help us “SOAR” higher.


Treasurer

Catherine Roberts

Click here to view Catherine's candidate video.

Introductory Paragraph:

My name is Catherine Roberts, and I am running for the position of Treasurer. I would like to ask for your vote for Treasurer. If elected, I would ensure that we as an association would be financially responsible and transparent to the members about the financial expenditures.

Your vision for GSCA:

The GSCA, ideally, would embody an environment where School Counselors primarily focus on child-centered programs to help students reach their highest potential. Additionally, the GSCA would provide local school boards with information to aid in reducing School Counselor’s caseloads to increase collaboration, consulting and teaming with parents, community members and other educators.

Statement regarding your goals and qualifications for the position:

My goal as the Treasurer is to ensure that we are making sound decisions with the members' money. For fifteen years, as a School Counselor, I served in various leadership positions which have afforded me the skills necessary to be a successful Treasurer. I am currently GSCA Secondary Director and a member of Mercer University, Atlanta Campus Advisory Board. I have served as a Lead Middle School counselor. I have facilitated professional and various staff development workshops and served as Student Representative for the LPCA of GA organization. Given the opportunity, I will uphold the type of work ethic needed to ensure that resources are distributed evenly and equitably throughout the district. Most importantly, I would make sure that we do not spend the members’ hard earned money frivolously.


Middle Director

Rebecca Burkhart

Click here to view Rebecca's candidate video.

Introductory Paragraph:

A combination of retired educator family members and my own high school counselor is what led me to the best profession there is. I am forever thankful to Mr. Diaz, my former counselor at Brunswick High School for helping me build coping skills to get through test anxiety I had as a teenager. Through his encouragement, I grew more out of my shell, and got a big dose of confidence to help me become the person I am today. Now as a professional, the work of school counseling continues to encourage me but in an opposite way. Nothing beats the feeling I get from a student or parent thanking me for helping make an impact. I look forward to being an impact-maker for many years to come.

Being a middle school counselor is truly my calling, and collaborating to advocate for student success is my passion. I enjoy working with school counselors to assist in planning for best practices with data-driven comprehensive programs. Another passion is helping teachers and administrators see the value of a comprehensive school counseling programs. I have been able to accomplish this through presenting to staff about our program, and through teaching them how to be advisors themselves, leading advisory lessons with small groups of students, an extension to our regular classroom counseling lessons.

To me, a good leader is someone who encourages others to shine. I would be honored to serve as middle director of GSCA, working with Georgia middle school counselors to make a difference in their own schools, shining in the field of school counseling.

Your vision for GSCA:

My vision is that all middle school counselors in Georgia will understand the true value of being a member of Georgia School Counselor Association. Being a member of your state's professional organization is so important not only for the valuable professional development resources, but also for the credibility that goes along with being a lifelong learner in your profession. We want our students to strive to be their very best- we should be that example in our own professional lives, ever learning and growing in our profession.

My hope is that no Georgia middle school counselor will feel like a solitary island, but will know that a network of like-minded professionals is within reach at state conferences, online, and through various networking opportunities. I would like to bring Georgia middle school counselors together, collaborating about best practices while also being a voice for one another, and for our students.

I also have a vision that school counselors along with their faculty, school families, and educational stakeholders, as well as Georgians as a whole will cease using the term “guidance” in reference to our profession, but rather refer to us as school counselors, and better understand our role as an integral part of the school community.

Statement regarding your goals and qualifications for the position:

My goals include increasing membership among Georgia school counselors, especially among middle school counselors in our state.

I want to continue advocating to reduce school counselor to student population ratios, increasing the number of school counselors in each school, so that we have the ability to be more effective with our student populations.

A personal goal for myself is to be a leader in the profession, serving on the GSCA executive board and being available for school counselors and interns, assisting with best practices and sharing resources. If selected, I would like to have a digital forum for sharing ideas within our Georgia middle school counseling community.

My qualifications include being a RAMP recipient in 2014, familiarity with ASCA as an organization and with the ASCA national model, being in education for the past 12 years, a school counselor for the past 7 years, a former education director at a Savannah-area non-profit. I have multi-level school counseling experience, with the majority being at the middle school level, but also having served in elementary. In addition, I’m enthusiastic for our amazing profession, and passionate as a voice for our students and for all school counselors.


Counselor Educator Director

Richard Cleveland

Click here to view Richard's candidate video.

Erin Mason

Click here to view Erin's candidate video.

 

Introductory Paragraph:

I have enjoyed previous opportunities to serve in school counselor association roles. I believe that our actions as an association advocate for, and further improve, the school counseling profession. However, unlike other professional associations I believe we differ in that our service also directly affects P-12 students’ success across multiple domains. Amidst various differences (e.g., site level, demographics, geographic location, resources, etc.) we can rally together around serving the P-12 students in our state through comprehensive school counseling programs and activities.

Your vision for GSCA:

My vision is for the Georgia School Counselor Association to become recognized throughout the state as an organization that is actively engaged in P-12 students' success through promoting the best in professional school counseling.

Statement regarding your goals and qualifications for the position:

My experience as a professional school counselor in the P-12 public education setting has given me opportunity to know some of the many challenges our students and their families face on a daily basis. Additionally, my time serving in school counselor association leadership positions has shown me the possible difference an association can make on all systemic levels (e.g., local community, county, region, state, national). As Counselor Educator Director, my goal will be to explore ways in which Georgia counselor educators can help GSCA and school counselors in this state support and advocate for P-12 students.

Introductory Paragraph:

Georgia is my childhood home, and GSCA is my professional home. After 13 years as a school counselor in the metro Atlanta area, I spent the next nine years as a school counselor educator in Chicago, Illinois at DePaul University. While in Chicago I served on the executive board with ISCA, eventually in the role of President in 2012-2013, and I collaborated with many school counselors, across levels, in both the Chicago Public Schools and surrounding districts. These experiences afforded me invaluable opportunities and also highlighted the influence of Georgia's school counselors on the national landscape. I'm delighted to have returned home, and I am eager to be a part of GSCA once again.

Your vision for GSCA:

Nationwide Georgia is repeatedly recognized for its strong school counselors and school counseling programs. My vision for GSCA is that it maintains a robust reputation for providing exceptional professional development while growing in membership diversity and engaging in innovative practices.

Statement regarding your goals and qualifications for the position:

Above all, I am committed to strengthening the relationships between university programs, graduate students and practicing school counselors. My qualifications include 13 years in the field as a school counselor, nine years as a school counselor educator. I have served in multiple leadership positions at the state and national levels such as the Government Relations co-chair of GSCA, President of the Illinois School Counselors Association and more recently, tri-chair of the School Counseling Interest Network through the Association of Counselor Educators and Supervisors. Additionally, I have been a RAMP reviewer, lead RAMP reviewer, and I am currently an associate editor with ASCA's Professional School Counseling journal. Twice I have served on the ASCA conference planning committee, I represented Illinois in the Reach Higher convenings, and I have been a keynote speaker or trainer for several state association conferences. I've been afforded many opportunities to establish and maintain a large network of practicing school counselors and counselor educators.


Northern Director

Dawn Mann

Click here to view Dawn's candidate video.

Introductory Paragraph:

My name is Dawn Mann, and I am running for the Northern Director position. I currently work as Professional School Counselor at Harrison High School in Kennesaw, Georgia, and I have worked as a school counselor in the Cobb County School District since 2001. I was honored this past year when I was named an ASCA 2017 School Counselor of the Year Finalist, and I was elated to represent the phenomenal school counselors in Georgia. Currently, I serve on the Cobb Counselor Advisory Team, Cobb School Counselor Association Leadership Team, and the Georgia School Counselor Association Leadership Team. Additionally, I work on the SREB's Go Alliance Academy Professional Development for School Counselors Committee and with the American School Counselor Association as Professional School Counseling Journal Reviewer. Finally, as a graduate of Mississippi State University, I must proudly represent my Bulldogs...Hail State!

Your vision for GSCA:

To grow membership by helping professional school counselors understand the importance of not only belonging to GSCA, but to help fellow counselors understand how membership with GSCA serves as a professional development growth vehicle for them. When school counselors grow and flourish professionally, students are better prepared to develop their own career paths.

Statement regarding your goals and qualifications for the position:

My leadership style is bold, creative, engaging, person-focused, inclusive, and creates change. I am no stranger to transforming programs and building brands. I understand the importance of data, and what it takes to build a comprehensive results-oriented program that uses technology to streamline and reconstruct work patterns. Most importantly, I believe in cultivating the talents I see in others because growing leaders sustains organizations.


Southern Director

Donna Jones

Click here to view Donna's candidate video.

Sloane Molloy

Click here to view Sloane's candidate video.

Introductory Paragraph:

My name is Donna Jones and I am a candidate for the position of Southern Director. I've served on GSCA's leadership team for two years as the 2015-2016 Host City Chair in Savannah and 2016-2017 New Counselor Liaison. I am a member of ASCA with one year of service. I am also a member of GACTE and Savannah Federation of Teachers. I've recently served as a member of the district's counseling advisory team as the new counselor coordinator and currently serve on the district's THRIVE committee for new counselors. My certification is in the area of School Counseling K-12. In addition, I'm a Licensed Professional Counselor for the State of Georgia. My employment background includes service in the U.S. Army and Elementary Education, grades four and six. I've served and have a knowledge base in each of the three levels of professional school counseling. I've been honored as School Counselor of the Year Finalist for 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 school years. I was also awarded New Teacher of the Year 2004.

Your vision for GSCA:

My ultimate vision for GSCA is to increase awareness of the organization and the benefits of membership. It would also give me great pleasure to increase membership and representation of the southern area school counselors. In doing so, I would like to place a strong emphasis on:

• Promoting growth
• Cultivating courage
• Impacting change

I believe these focus areas will sustain membership and attribute to the evolution of school counseling programs across the state.

Statement regarding your goals and qualifications for the position:

We all have our reasons why we joined the ranks of the professional school counselor. With the exception of wanting to help others, my reasons evolve around three essential points: Being able to promote growth, preventing fear from allowing an individual to reach their full potential and being able to accept, embrace and implement change as necessary. As a young high school student, I believed I didn't have any educational options. Sadly, I am not able to provide any identifying factors about my school counselor. I never received the opportunity to meet the individual during my tenure. Even today, I am still bothered by the lack of involvement. However, I realized the vitality of the school counselor. It is my goal to ensure we change the mindset of “GUIDANCE” counselors. My leadership experiences will assist in these change efforts. Our student population can’t continue to miss out on given opportunities.

Introductory Paragraph:

It is an honor and privilege to be considered for a GSCA leadership position representing the Southern part of our great state. I love my work as a school counselor and I am eager to share my enthusiasm and knowledge with my fellow colleagues.

Your vision for GSCA:

To continue our accomplishments in the field of advocacy and outreach. To unify our voices!

Statement regarding your goals and qualifications for the position:

I feel that I am uniquely qualified for representing my fellow counselors in the Southern region. One reason is that I have traveled throughout many counties in our region as a trainer for the Counselor Keys Evaluation System. I have met and heard from counselors in several counties including Tift, Bacon, Colquitt, Cook, Lowndes, Valdosta, Clinch, Coffee, Ware, Glynn, Camden and Chatham. I feel like I have a good sense of your struggles, your accomplishments, your passion for this profession. I share the same challenges and commitment. And, I want to represent your voices at the state level as we collectively advocate for our students and our communities.

The second reason that I feel equipped to be the Southern Director is because I have had several years of experience in leadership at GSCA, and have helped promote the mission and goals of our fantastic state association. My own personal goal as Southern Director will be to support all of you in this region as you build your comprehensive counseling program. I want to connect you to the resources you need, and hope to help you get your voice heard, and I wish to provide you with the tools and support you need to have the greatest impact on your student community.

Thank you for your vote and I hope you have a great day!

 


Finance Committee (Past President)

Virginia (Jenny) Lacy

Introductory Paragraph:

My name is Virginia (Jenny) Lacy. I  served as your GSCA President for 2006-2007 and have a passion for school counseling. I was a counselor in Gwinnett County for 26 years, primarily as a high school counselor. My husband and I moved to Glynn County, on the Georgia Coast in 2003, and I retired in 2006, continuing to work as a part time counselor when needed for almost 10 years. I discovered that middle and elementary  counseling was  also a joy to my heart and know that this profession  can make a difference in the academic and social  success of children.

Your vision for GSCA:

The Georgia School Counselor Association has a responsibility to aid counselors throughout our state in keeping up with the most current information and applications  to help children succeed in school. My  vision for the Georgia School Counselors Association is to continue our efforts in serving all school  counselors in our state, public and  private schools. In addition, our connection with our the American School Counselors Association is  very  important for keeping  up with the current trends educationally as  well  as data gathering and accountability of our profession. GSCA is the backbone of our profession and our fiscal responsibility is so important in continuing services  to school  counselors.

Statement regarding your goals and qualifications for the position:

Looking at past performance and  predicting future performances within a budget is important. The Leadership Team of GSCA has a responsibility to perform their  tasks within a boundary of expenditures and continue to provide exemplary services to our members. I as a Past President served as the Financial Chair for our organization in the past and understand the importance of  paying our bills and staying fiscally sound. I  would  be honored to served on the GSCA Financial Committee and appreciate this opportunity.


Finance Committee (General Member)

Laura Spencer

Introductory Paragraph:

Hello, my name is Laura Spencer. I am passionate about creating environments that provide students with a positive school experience. I work diligently to help all students reach their full potential. As a Licensed Professional Counselor, I spent the earlier years of my career working with the addicted population. I also had the privilege of working part-time in private practice. In 2002, I began my dream job as an Elementary School Counselor. I have enjoyed serving our profession by serving as a leader in Gwinnett County School Counselors Association as the President, Vice- President, and Treasurer throughout the years. My goal is to continue serving GSCA on the Finance committee for the 2018-2019 term.

Your vision for GSCA:

My vision for GSCA is to develop leaders throughout the field of School Counseling that are equipped to bring systemic change into the lives of the students they serve. This is possible through the use of data driven school counseling programs and collaboration of School Counselors.

Statement regarding your goals and qualifications for the position:

As a current member of GSCA serving on the Finance Committee, I seek to continue supporting and serving the organization. As a former Treasurer, Vice President and President of Gwinnett County School Counselors Association, I feel my leadership experiences have provided growth both personally and professionally.

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