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Gwinnett educators receive state counseling honors: State’s top counselor hails from Hull Middle School

Two Gwinnett County Public Schools counselors and an administrator earned state recognition from the Georgia School Counselor Association (GSCA), with Teshia Stovall Dula of Hull Middle School earning the organization’s top honor. Gwinnett’s state honorees are as follows:

GSCA School Counselor of the Year:

Teshia Stovall Dula of Hull Middle SchoolTeshia Stovall Dula

     Teshia Stovall Dula, Gwinnett County’s 2020 Middle School Counselor of the Year, has been named Georgia Counselor of the Year. She will now represent Georgia as she competes for the American School Counselor Association School Counselor of the Year title.

     Mrs. Dula is a tireless advocate for students at Hull Middle School. In addition to spearheading the LIONS Academy Mentorship Program, the Hull Advisory Team, and the In-School Suspension Advisement Lessons at Hull Middle, Mrs. Dula is also a sponsor for the Hull Advisory Team, Girls On The Run, and the Hull Cheerleading Team. Denise Showell, the principal of Hull Middle, nominated Mrs. Dula for the GSCA School Counselor of the Year Award. She says, “Mrs. Dula is a great school counselor because she is dedicated to students’ academic, emotional, and social success and she implements programming that addresses each of these areas. She facilitates a number of groups daily and/or weekly to address a variety of student needs as well as guides our student leadership team and is continually involving them in opportunities of service for the community. Mrs. Dula is passionate about assisting students and deserves to win because she is dedicated, extremely hard working, and cares deeply about the whole child.

GSCA Supervisor of the Year:

Ashley Watson of Norcross High SchoolAshley Watson

     Counselors at Norcross High describe Assistant Principal Ashley Watson as extraordinarily wonderful and their biggest champion. Victoria Poole, a Norcross High counselor who nominated Mrs. Watson, shared in the application, “Mrs. Watson faithfully supports the ESOL, World Languages, and our Counseling departments. She is consistently excited about the initiatives in our department, lending a listening ear or an innovative solution. She pushes the counseling department to implement new ideas, while protecting the office so that we have the time to see plans through.” Mrs. Watson believes in maximizing the amount of time counselors have with students. One way she accomplished this was by streamlining the scheduling process. This resulted in less counselor involvement in the scheduling process, allowing counselors to shift their time and focus to vital tasks, such as a college application help sessions during lunches.

GSCA School Counselor of the Year - 1st Runner Up:

Laura Spencer of Ivy Creek Elementary SchoolLaura Spencer

     With 17 years’ experience, Laura Spencer is a veteran school counselor who is an advocate for her students’ best interests. Ms. Spencer was instrumental in launching Kids Hope, a successful mentoring program at Ivy Creek Elementary, and she sponsors several clubs such as radKids, which is a safety education program, and the Mindfulness/Yoga Club, in which students learn ways to cool and calm themselves prior to the start of the school day. Laura Ross, Five Forks Middle School Counselor and 2020 National School Counselor of the Year, wrote a letter of recommendation for Mrs. Spencer, calling her a model of school counseling excellence. In it, she said, “I have been fortunate to work alongside Laura Spencer at the district and state level as she shines as a model of school counseling excellence. What shines the brightest about Laura is her genuine heart for students, her positivity that radiates in all she does, her community building skills, and her willingness to be a school counselor leader.” She added, “I refer to Laura as shining bright because of the positivity that radiates from her anytime she interacts with others whether it is a student, parent, or colleague.”  

     The GSCA awards are bestowed upon deserving individuals every year in recognition of their outstanding commitment to, performance in and support of school counseling.

     GSCA is a private, non-profit association comprised of school counselors, counseling and guidance directors, supervisors, administrators, counselor educators, and other individuals involved in related activities who have an impact on a student’s success and well-being at school, work, and home. Founded in 1949, GSCA has grown to a membership of more than 1,000 members.

     GSCA has been instrumental in setting professional standards for the school counseling profession in Georgia. GSCA assists counselors in delivering more effective services by providing the means and information to enhance their skills, by supporting self-evaluation, and by conducting research to measure counselor effectiveness. Professional development programs and activities help maintain high standards and encourage quality performance. GSCA speaks for school counselors at the state and national levels through strong public relations and government relations programs and activities. GSCA members work in all educational settings from elementary through postsecondary education. GSCA and its members are committed to the continuing development of the school counseling profession.