Kirsten Perry, a school counselor at Lawndale Community Academy in Chicago, Ill., has been named the 2018 School Counselor of the Year by the American School Counselor Association (ASCA). She is the 11th person to receive the award from ASCA since the program started in 2008. Perry, a graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago and DePaul University, has been a school counselor for six years and has been at Lawndale since 2015.
The School Counselor of the Year award honors professionals who devote their careers to advocating for the nation’s students and addressing their academic and social/emotional development and college and career readiness needs. Lawndale Principal Willard Willette says Perry was the missing link that helped lift Lawndale, a Pre-K–8 school, out of academic distress. When she joined the school counseling team, Lawndale’s ranking had been at level three — the lowest in the district — for the previous five years. In her role, Perry has focused on improving student attendance, implementing
restorative justice and providing college and career readiness. At the end of the 2015–16 school year, Lawndale’s ranking had improved to level two among
Chicago’s public schools.