Four exemplary school counselors and a pair of educational leaders have been honored through OCDE’s Counselor Recognition and Counselor Advocate Awards program.
The program was established last year to spotlight Orange County’s top professional counselors and their contributions to positive school climates and student success. This year the field was expanded to include an award for those who advocate strongly on behalf of comprehensive counseling services.
The 2019 recipients are:
ELEMENTARY SCHOOL COUNSELOR AWARD
- Katerina Sorrell, school counselor at Gates Elementary School and six other elementary schools in the Saddleback Valley Unified School District
MIDDLE/JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL COUNSELOR AWARD
- Andrew Fredriksz, school counselor at Aliso Viejo Middle School in the Capistrano Unified School District
HIGH SCHOOL COUNSELOR AWARD
- Beau Menchaca, school counselor at Century High School in the Santa Ana Unified School District
- Lorri Walls, a school counselor at Yorba Linda High School in the Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District
COUNSELOR ADVOCATE AWARD
- Dr. Sonia Llamas, assistant superintendent in the Santa Ana Unified School District
- Rebecca Pianta, coordinator for counseling and student support and foster youth liaison in the Capistrano Unified School District
All six honorees were introduced at Wednesday’s Orange County Board of Education after being announced during National School Counseling Week, which spanned Feb. 4 through Feb. 8.
“School counselors have a tremendous impact in helping students achieve school success and build a strong foundation for their future,” said Christine Olmstead, OCDE’s associate superintendent of Educational Services. “They are the students’ advocate when they need a voice, active listener when they need nurturing, and the compass when they need direction and guidance. It is certainly not an easy task.”
Awards were presented at the elementary, middle and high school levels, recognizing those who support comprehensive counseling programs based on the American School Counselor Association’s three domains: academic, career and social/emotional development.
The criteria also included leadership and advocacy on behalf of the counseling profession, along with use of the Multi-tiered System of Support framework and data-based decision-making to support the whole child.
This year, the program added the Counselor Advocacy Award to specifically recognize those who support and advocate on behalf of quality counseling services. Candidates for this honor work to support comprehensive counseling programs based on the ASCA National Model and help meet the professional learning needs of school counselors.