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2019-2020 Candidates

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President-Elect | Secretary | Metro Director | Central Director | Elementary Director
Secondary Director (CONTESTED) | Finance Committee (PPAC) | Finance Committee (Member)

President-Elect

Jennifer Jones, Coweta County Board of Education, East Coweta High School

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Vision for GSCA:

My vision for GSCA is to continue to advocate for our profession, increase membership in our association, and help all students reach their full potential as productive members of society.

Statement on Goals and Qualifications

Hello! I’m Jennifer Jones and I am running for the position of President Elect. I believe that WE make a difference each and every day! I am a 22 year educator with the majority of those years being spent as a Professional School Counselor. I received my B.S. in Therapeutic Recreation from Georgia Southern University, M.Ed. in Education from Georgia Southern University, and my Ed.S. in Guidance and Counseling from the State University of West Georgia. In addition to those degrees, I am also certified in Educational Leadership, Middle Grades Language Arts and Social Studies and Special Education General Curriculum. I believe I am uniquely qualified for this position because of my experiences throughout my career. I have previously served in teaching roles, as a coach, and counselor in a wide variety of locations in the state, settings and levels. I have been granted the opportunity to impact the lives of students through my experiences and have had that impact reciprocated many times over. I have served GSCA as Evaluations Co-Chair, Evaluations Chair, Professional Recognition Co-Chair, Parliamentarian, Region 4 Chair (past and currently), and Conference Team member. I am also a member of ASCA and PAGE. I am a huge advocate for our students and for us as professionals. I would love the opportunity to serve our organization as President Elect.

Goals and Qualifications:

The first goal I would like to accomplish would be to increase membership which, in turn, should increase Professional School Counselor involvement on all levels across the state. The second goal I would like to accomplish would be to make sure all stakeholders and decision makers understand the current roles and trends of a Professional School Counselor.

Experience:

My experiences in different positions on the Leadership Team, Executive Board and Conference Team over the past 8 years has allowed to be collaborate with knowledgeable practicing and retired school counselors that have helped me grow as a professional. With my professional experience ranging from teaching in a middle school setting, elementary special education setting, middle school counselor and high school counselor in several different counties, I have gained a broader understanding of how school counselors are utilized in other school settings. I believe that my continuous in volvement in GSCA and interaction with colleagues made through GSCA have provided me with a great foundation which have prepared me to be an effective leader.

Why should GSCA members vote for you?

I believe that our GSCA members should elect me because I have the background, knowledge, interpersonal skills, and experiences not only to lead but to understand and perform at the level expected. I believe I will be able to effectively continue to advocate for and represent GSCA on a professional and knowledgeable level.


Secretary

Laura Spencer, Gwinnett County Public Schools, Ivy Creek Elementary School

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Vision for GSCA:

My vision for GSCA is to see Counselors grow and develop as leaders in our schools. By continuing to create a network of dynamic Counselors across Georgia, students will be the recipient of collaboration and resource sharing. I would like to see this network of highly skilled professionals continue to build bridges for students to remove barriers from academic and personal success.

Goals and Qualifications:

Hi, I'm Laura Spencer, School Counselor in Gwinnett County and I would love the opportunity to serve as Secretary for GSCA. As a member of GSCA since 2007 and current Finance member on GSCA leadership team, I am seeking additional opportunities to grow in my servant leadership. After twenty years in the field of counseling and , I believe it's imperative we partner together to provide outstanding services for all students. As Secretary, I will work collaboratively with the leadership team to create an organization that supports Counselors across the state of Georgia. I obtained my LPC in 2002 and I received the 2016 21C3 Outstanding Comprehensive Counseling Award by Gwinnett County Public Schools. I have held various leadership positions in Gwinnett County School Counseling Association ranging from Treasurer to President. I firmly believe relationships are the essential key to student success and I am an advocate for all students.


Metro Director

Laura Ross, Gwinnett County Public Schools, Five Forks Middle School

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Vision for GSCA:

I envision GSCA as an organization that supports school counselors throughout the school year beyond the fall conference by connecting school counselors to support services, advocacy resources and opportunities for leadership, so that school counselors can continue to support the diverse student population of our state.

Goals and Qualifications:

My Name is Laura Ross and I am running for GSCA Metro Director. I believe in the importance of connections and as the GSCA Metro Director, I would work to create connections among Metro school counselors to support each other in our daily work as school counselors and individual counselors’ pursuits in leadership as well as advocating for our school counseling programs and profession. I am in my 13th year as a school counselor. I was previously an elementary school counselor in Jackson and Gwinnett counties. I am currently in my 5th year as a middle school counselor in Gwinnett County. I received my Bachelor and Master degree in social work and my Education Specialist degree in professional school counseling, all from the University of Georgia. I have been a member of GSCA and ASCA for 12 years. My passion for school counseling and the importance of what we as school counselors do in education has led me to seek several leadership experiences at my local school, in my district, with GSCA and beyond. I am the lead counselor at Five Forks Middle School as well as member of our school’s instructional leadership team and local school council. I often lead our staff in our focus on creating connections with students and most recently am leading a book study on culturally responsive teaching. In Gwinnett County, I have been a co-chair of the 21st Century Comprehensive Counseling Award, a member of the middle school steering committee and am currently the chair-elect for the middle school counselor steering committee. I have presented to GCPS counselors on a variety of topics such as the use of data, technology tools, core curriculum lessons, and the integration of social studies in core curriculum. I have been on the GSCA Leadership Team for three years, one year as the service project chair and I am currently in my second year as the GSCA social media editor. I have also presented at GSCA fall conference multiple years on the topics of postsecondary awareness in middle school, creating a school wide connectedness initiative, technology tools, building your PLN with twitter, and integrating social studies in core curriculum lessons. I most recently presented with a group of school counselors, school counselor graduate students and a counselor educator at the ASCA conference in Los Angeles on partnering to teaching the ASCA model. I continue to learn from and network with counselors all over the world by being one of the moderators of #scchat and coordinating and moderating the revival of #mscchat on Twitter. I have had the honor of receiving the GSCA Emerging Leader award and the Gwinnett County Middle School Counselor of the Year award in the 2017-2018 school year. I appreciate you considering me for the GSCA Metro Director position.


Central Director

Amy Taylor, Baldwin County School District, Oak Hill Middle School

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Vision for GSCA:

My vision for GSCA is to see it grow to include more school counselors across the state. The support I have gained from GSCA has been tremendous and I would like to see more school counselors receive that same support.

Goals and Qualifications:

I am Amy Taylor and I am seeking election as GSCA Central Director. I have been a member of GSCA and ASCA for more than 20 years and I have served on GSCA's Leadership Team for the past three years as a Region Liaison, Parliamentarian and Archives Editor. I have 19 years experience as an elementary school counselor in Liberty, Chatham and Glynn Counties. I also have one year experience as a high school counselor in Grady County and I am currently in Baldwin County as a middle school counselor. My experiences over the years have led to growth as a school counselor and as a leader. My recent experiences of moving have caused me to grow due to all the "new" that comes with being in different places. Being new in the Central District is a wonderful opportunity for me bring new ideas to our district. I look forward to the opportunity to serve you as the GSCA Central Director.


ELEMENTARY DIRECTOR

BETH RUFF, Cobb County Schools, Powder Springs Elementary School

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Vision for GSCA:

I envision GSCA continuing to be recognized nationally as a standard setter for the school counseling community. I foresee growth in GSCA leadership and membership resulting in the wide-spread advocacy and connection among Georgia school counselors in metropolitan and rural settings. GSCA will impact law and policy, encourage professional development of school counselors, and influence the growth of comprehensive school counseling programs in Georgia

Goals and Qualifications:

Hello GSCA members, my name is Beth Ruff and I am running for the position of Elementary Director. Even in my 11th year as a professional school counselor, I am continuously struck by the important role elementary school counselors have in a young child's life. Elementary School is often a place of refuge for our students, where they first learn life lessons and develop the skills they need to be successful and productive citizens. As an elementary school counselor, I am constantly working on improving my skill set through sharing and learning from others. I am inspired by new and innovative ideas. If elected as Elementary Director, I would to work to increase the number of elementary school counselor members in GSCA so that we can share and grow together. With the sharing of resources and best practices, we can return to our elementary schools with new tools in our toolboxes to help our young students succeed. Secondly, I will advocate for elementary school counselors in Georgia through networking and collaboration. With long standing membership in GSCA and ASCA and as GSCA Region 3 chair, I have developed skills in advocating for myself and other school counselors. As Elementary Director, I would specifically, advocate to limit inappropriate counseling activities so that elementary school counselors can dedicate their time to student success.


Secondary Director

Myesha Davis, Cobb County Schools, Hillgrove High School

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Vision for GSCA:

My vision for GSCA is to cultivate school counseling leaders throughout Georgia. I want to help school counselors realize their full leadership potential so that they can be even stronger advocates for their students and school community. Our voices are important and we need to be ready to use it.

Goals and Qualifications:

I am Myesha Davis and I am running for the position of Secondary Director. This is my 6th year as a member of GSCA and ASCA. Over the last 17 years, I've served as a Professional School Counselor and a classroom teacher in both middle school and high school. I've been awarded Teacher of the Year honors twice, Cobb Middle School Counselor of the Year and my middle school counseling team earned the RAMP designation in 2016. I earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Technology Teacher Education, two Master of Science degrees in Technology and Counselor Education and am ABD in Community College Leadership at The Mississippi State University. I'm the Immediate Past President of the Cobb School Counselor Association. Aside from ASCA and GSCA, I am a member of the National Education Association, Georgia Association of Educators and Cobb County Association of Educators.


Kim Jackson-Allen, Savannah-Chatham County Public Schools

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Vision for GSCA:

To foster action through programs and service for professional school counselors with an emphasis on increasing and growing the ranks of the organization with a commitment to build its membership.

Goals and Qualifications:

Hello, my name is Kim Jackson-Allen and I would like to introduce myself as a candidate for Secondary Director for Georgia School Counselor Association(GSCA). I am honored to be qualified to seek the nomination for this unique opportunity. Why? Because GSCA needs us. I have over twenty years of experience with 14 of them specifically being as a professional school counselor. The other five years were related to college access and coaching and transition to high school. It is my hope that you will allow me to opportunity to represent the views of secondary counselors. Secondary counselors provide a unique role in the school counseling profession in that we are bridging the gap between secondary education and postsecondary experiences. It is my belief that I can be help bridge this gap because of my unique qualifications. These qualifications include consecutive membership in GSCA for the past four years in tandem with membership in ASCA for the past four years respectively. During my early tenure in school counseling, I also held membership in both organizations as well. Additionally, I also hold membership in Southern Association for College Admissions Counseling (SACAC) and National Association for College Admissions Counseling (NACAC) in which I have completed extensive professional development, which includes, but is not limited to, recipient of the Imagine Grant which funded a college readiness program, served as a scholarship reviewer for the "Extended a Dream Scholarship" for high school students, conducted a webinar on writing effective college recommendation letters, and also serving as a proposal reviewer for the national conference. I hold a Bachelor's degree in Psychology from the University of West Georgia, a Master's degree in Counselor Education from Georgia Southern University, an Education Specialist degree in Counselor Education from Georgia Southern University, an Education Specialist degree in Educational Administration from South Carolina State University, and a doctorate in Educational Administration from South Carolina State University. Additionally, I have obtained certification in the following areas: as a Licensed Professional Counselor(LPC)/Georgia, National Certified School Counselor(NCSC), National Board Certified Counselor(NBCC), a National Board Certified Counselor Mental Health Facilitator (NBCC MHF), educational leadership, and naturally school counseling. Moreover, I also hold a reading endorsement and gifted certification. I graciously beseech you to take the opportunity to review the unique qualifications that I possess for the position of Secondary Director for GSCA. It is my hope that you will see fit to allow me to serve in this position and serve secondary counselors by representing their views to the organization and the school counseling profession as a whole. Indeed, it would be my esteemed pleasure to serve you and represent our best interests.


Finance Committee (PPAC)

Brent Henderson, Gwinnett County Public Schools

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Vision for GSCA:

My vision for GSCA is that the organization remain the leader in advocating for all school counselors in Georgia and that it has a strong financial foundation on which to operate.

Goals and Qualifications:

Greetings! My name is Brent Henderson and I am seeking the position of Finance Committee - Past President. I have been involved in GSCA since graduate school and was given the greatest professional honor when I was elected to serve as President during the 2015-2016 fiscal year. Now, as then, my desire is that GSCA will always focus on the individuals who serve as school counselors throughout Georgia. While the supporting and advocating for school counselors is a primary mission, we have to ensure that the finances of the organization are being used to support and advance the mission and goals. If elected to this the position, I will work closely with the finance committee, treasure and president to ensure that GSCA remains financially secure by making financial decision that match our mission. I would be honored to once again serve the school counselors of Georgia and this organization in a formal capacity.


Finance Committee (Member)

Lakisha Bonner, Fayette County Board of Education

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Vision for GSCA:

My vision for GSCA is to be a resource for school counseling professionals, providing networking opportunities, continuing education, professional development, and policy making in an effort to advance the profession of school counseling.

Goals and Qualifications:

I am Lakisha Bonner, the Coordinator of Counseling and Career Development for Fayette County Public Schools. A committed, resourceful professional with proven ability to set and maintain high expectations for all students; who utilizes data for decision making, manages organizational processes, collaborates with leadership team, and is self-reflective in an effort to continually improvement. I’ve built and maintained a successful career as a result of my ability to work enthusiastically with school staff and school counselors in an effort to ensure students are college and career ready. I will bring those skills to the finance committee as I assist in providing financial oversight for the association.