The OREGON School Counseling Association (known as OSCA) has a conference every year for all OR School Counselors. They are one of 50 smaller branches of the national program – American School Counseling Association.
When OSCA has their conference in OR, they like to give out some awards. One of them is a SUPER-intendent award given to a superintendent who is advocating for mental health and actively supporting school counselors in their efforts to create data-driven, comprehensive school counseling programs within the district. Dr. Karen Gray has been instrumental in growing school counselors in Lincoln County. 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 1 FTE to hire a TOSA or school counselor. Dr. Tiana Tucker was the principal at Sam Case 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 Elementary 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 (American School Counseling Association) expert to our district to develop and fully implement the ASCA national model, as well as assigning a special programs administrator to support counselors.
School Counselors this year were given the opportunity to participate in professional development specific to their field, and network with hundreds of other school counselors in the state. Dr. Gray has been influential in bringing the national model to the coast and supporting the implementation of the standards to all school counselors of Lincoln County. The students in Lincoln County are being served by an excellent group of counselors supported by a superintendent that values school counselors. As the President-Elect of OSCA, it was an honor to present the SUPER-intendent award to our own, Dr. Karen Gray.
Academic / College Counselor
Waldport High School 541-563-3243