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2020-2021 Candidates

GSCA is pleased to announce the nominees for GSCA Officers and Directors for the 2020-2021 year. Information regarding each nominee follows. GSCA Members are encouraged to read the candidates' information, watch their candidate video, and vote for the future of GSCA from November 14 (following the close of Membership Assembly) until 4 pm on December 5.

President-Elect | Treasurer | Finance Committee (Past President) | Finance Committee (General Member)

Southern Director | Middle Director | Northern Director | Counselor Educator Director

President-Elect

Vance Sims, Malcom Bridge Elementary School

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Vision for GSCA

To represent and support the totality of Georgia's School Counselors across the state and move the profession toward the best service to students for more successful outcomes in all schools & levels.

Statement on Goals and Qualifications

My name is Vance Sims. I have lived in Athens-Clarke County for the past 31 years. I have three adult children and have been married to my wife Joy, an educator for 27 years and BCBA, for 38+ years (we have a great beginning story). I worked in business for 4 years before moving to Athens to work in ministry with middle school and high school students and their families. It was during that almost 18 years that I attended UGA to earn the MSW degree. After leaving ministry, I worked for Advantage Behavioral Health (area CSB). While providing Mental Health services in schools, I was hired at an elementary school in Clarke County. All of my school counseling career has been spent in elementary schools though I worked with middle and high school students for over 20 years in previous careers between ministry and mental health work

GSCA has been so good for me since attending my first conference in Augusta in 2008. Since then, I have volunteered annually in Registration. GSCA has given me so many practical tools, invaluable relationships for consultation and idea sharing over the years. I want to give to GSCA because it has given so much to me and school counseling in Georgia.

My dream for GSCA is for it to have a deeper and broader reach in our state and for it to be more and more our, collectively, association - not one that appears to belong to just a few. If elected as your president, I pledge to move us to be more and more inclusive of all school counselors. If elected, the conference will not be my conference but our conference, rural, urban, suburban, generalization Z to traditionalist. I believe in the Comprehensive School Counseling model but have been afforded a lot of opportunity to know it through UGA and mentors in GSCA. I know all school counselors do not. We as an association need to serve all school counselors in the state while advocating for the practices that best serve students that are rooted in the knowledge of what works best.

There are many others in our association who are more experienced and better qualified than me. I acknowledge that sincerely. I will work hard to insure that our association remains true to its mission to support Georgia School Counselor - all of us.

My experience is wide and deep because of my age. I have served in national organizations, community boards, local agencies and organizations especially since moving to Georgia.

If elected, what two goals would you like to accomplish during your term?

Be more representative of Georgia, continue the work of advocacy at the State House and DOE, have a flood of new leaders join the ranks of current leaders and in this, alter the perception some have of leadership in GSCA and the association itself.

Experience

Volunteered at conference registration since 2009, attended Region 4/2 spring meetings consistently, volunteered as Region Liaison, as Northern Director/Region Supervisor for the past two years. I love being a school counselor. My professional life will end doing this in elementary.

Why should GSCA members vote for you?

Review my experience and abilities. The way membership will know is by spending some time with me, asking me questions and getting to know me. After that, if someone has confidence in my ability to serve this way, great. If not, let us find someone else who has the qualities needed.


Lakeshia Shaun Williams, Bibb County Public Schools

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Vision for GSCA

My vision is to continue GSCA's vision of improving student academic, career, and social/emotional development through providing professional development to counselors that will affect all stakeholders. I also want to continue to focus on advocacy at the local, community, and state-level.

Statement on Qualification and Goals

After graduating from Georgia Southern University with a Bachelor of Science in Middle Grades Education, I worked as a teacher for three years at Weaver Middle School in Macon, Georgia. In July 2007, I became a School Counselor at Miller Middle School. In 2009, Miller Middle School’s Counseling Program garnered national acknowledgment when the American School Counselor Association recognized it as a model program. I transitioned to Rosa Taylor Elementary School in 2012, and in August 2018, I entered Valdosta State University’s Educational Leadership Program. Utilizing effective communication and organizational skills, a love of lifelong learning, and a desire to help learners achieve, I aspire to become an educational leader, who utilizes student data, teacher evaluations, and professional learning to propel students to college and career readiness. Our students have power-power to excel academically, socially, and in the career pathway of his or her choice. When college and career ready students graduate from high school, Georgia’s stakeholders reap the benefits of job creation and economic growth. As President-Elect of Georgia School Counselor Association, I will provide leadership for Georgia’s counselors that will emphasize professional development through Counselor Keys Evaluation System and advocacy at the local, district, and state levels. As Georgia Counselors, we want to be at the forefront of implementing ASCA Model Programs that change the lives of all stakeholders. For years, Georgia School Counselor Association’s leadership in educational theories and practice have been evident in the success of our students and in the drive for the victory that the Executive Board and Leadership Team demonstrate. Together, we will achieve our mission and lead to greater student outcomes in Georgia. As a certified teacher and school counselor, it is with honor that I apply for President-Elect.

If elected, what two goals would you like to accomplish during your term?

My goals would be to increase engagement and advocacy. Counselor engagement will lead to greater professional and personal collaborations on the implementation of the ASCA National Model. Our work in advocacy will continue to showcase how school counselors increase the success of all stakeholders.

Experience

I have worked as teacher and counselor for the past 15 years. During this time, I have served on the GSCA Executive Board and Leadership Team. Currently, I am seeking certification in Educational Leadership from Valdosta State University.

Why should GSCA members vote for you?

I think that I represent the school counselors of Georgia well. I have always worked to implement that ASCA National Model and to inspire others to success in counseling. Over the years, I have been willing to speak for counselors when needed, and I love the opportunity to provide professional development to my colleagues when requested. I take leadership seriously, and I feel that this experience would be a one of a kind experience to learn more about school counseling in Georgia.


Chon D. Hester, Henry County Schools

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Vision for GSCA

GSCA will be the premier organization for all school counselors to collaborate with integrity while promoting student academic achievement, career development, and social emotional wellness. GSCA will foster the ongoing professional development of all school counselors while fostering a life-long commitment to diversity consciousness and continued growth of the profession.

Statement on Qualification and Goals

I am Chon Hester, running for the position of GSCA President-Elect. I have been a member of ASCA since 2012 and GSCA since 2008. As a member of GSCA, I have served in the following roles: Content Vice Chair, Beacon Editor, Executive Board Member, Secondary Director, and Professional Recognitions Chair, Secondary Work Setting Vice President, Region 6 Chair, Mentoring Co-Chair. I currently hold a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology, Masters Degree in School Counseling, and a Specialist and Doctorate Degree in Educational Leadership. I have worked in Henry County schools for 17 years, and I am currently employed as the Coordinator of Advisement and Counseling Services. I am a servant transformational leader who believes in serving school counselors to enhance the social-emotional, academic achievement, and career development of all students. I believe in the dedication, professional development, and heart of school counselors to promote student advocacy. School counselors change the trajectory of each student in every way, every day. My goals would be to (1) increase professional development; (2) leadership development for school counselors; (3) increase counselor engagement in the organization by increasing membership and attendance to state-wide advocacy events; (3) increase participation, support, and outreach to rural or smaller school districts; (4) promote a state-wide comprehensive school counseling program; and (5) enhance school counselor resources.

If elected, what two goals would you like to accomplish during your term?

(1) create ongoing leadership development opportunities via online courses, webinars, and podcasts to enhance the role and presence of school counselors in schools, districts, and statewide; (2) Increase participation, support and outreach to rural/smaller school districts by partnering with RESA’s and counseling coordinators and increase membership opportunities in these areas.

Experience

Serving as Content Vice Chair allowed me to enhance the PD of all school counselors. It is essential to recognize amazing work of school counselors which is evident by serving as the Professional Recognition Chair. Serving on the Executive Board allowed me to advocate, promote, and sustain the GSCA mission.

Why should GSCA members vote for you?

School counseling is a calling to inspire, lead, and advocate. I believe in advocating for lower ratios and professional development to enhance the skills of school counselors in Georgia while promoting student success academically, socially-emotionally and creating opportunities for increased career development. School counselors are the hearts of schools!


Treasurer

Kathryn Sadowski, Brunswick High School

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Vision for GSCA

My vision for GSCA is that we continue to help the organization provide the tools that will enable its members to be the best counselors they can be for the students of Georgia.

Goals and Qualifications

My name is Kathryn Sadowski and I am running for the position of Treasurer. I am in my 24th year in education, 18 of them as a school counselor. I started my career in Alabama where I was a Special Education Teacher for six years and a Secondary School Counselor for three years. We moved to Georgia in 2005 where I worked at Glynn Middle School for one year and I am currently in my fourteenth year as a counselor at Brunswick High School. I have been a member of GSCA for the past nine years, seven of which I have been serving the School Counselors of Georgia through various positions. I have served three years on the Leadership Team, one year on the Executive Committee as Member-at-Large and three years on the Executive Board as Secretary. I am currently serving as a Rural Liaison for the southern region. I have served as Treasurer for Boy Scout Troop 207 for the past five years and I look forward to bringing my experience in that area to GSCA.


Finance Committee (Past President)

Barbara G. Strickland, Retired

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Vision for GSCA

GSCA will promote excellence in school counseling by uniting and supporting professional school counselors through advocacy, leadership, collaboration and systemic change. In addition, GSCA will empower Georgia professional school counselors with the knowledge, skills, linkages and resources to promote student success in the school, the home, the community and the world.

Goals and Qualifications

I am Barbara Strickland and I am seeking the position of Financial Committee - Past President. I have been a member of GSCA for many years and was honored to serve GSCA in a variety of leadership positions before my retirement. My greatest honor was serving as the 2012-2013 GSCA President. My desire has always been to empower, unite and support Georgia's Professional School Counselors in their role to promote student success. While supporting and advocating for school counselors is a primary mission, it is also vital to ensure that the finances of GSCA are being used to support and advance the mission, vision and goals of GSCA. If elected to this the position, I will work closely with the finance committee, president and treasure to ensure that GSCA remains financially responsible and secure. I would be honored to once again serve GSCA and the school counselors of Georgia.


Finance Committee (General Member)

Chris R. Wheeler, Haw Creek Elementary School, Forsyth County

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Vision for GSCA

To provide space for counselors to collaborate and offer resources to help administrators, teachers and parents to better understand the role of a counselor in a school.

Goals and Qualifications

My name is Chris Wheeler and I would be honored to serve as a member of the Finance Committee. I have been a GSCA member for 4 years and have worked at Haw Creek Elementary for 4 years as well. At Haw Creek I have served on our school's leadership team. While at Carson-Newman University in east Tennessee, I was actively involved in the Smoky Mountain Counseling Association (a regional member of the Tennessee Counseling Association). I would be honored to continue GSCA's reputation as an organization that values collaboration and offers helpful resources for school counseling professionals.


Lauren Sumner Butler, Gwinnett County Public Schools

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Vision for GSCA

My vision for GSCA is to empower other school counselors in the state of Georgia so they can be Champions in this profession. Through empowerment and collaboration with other school counselors in the state of Georgia, GSCA will benefit beyond measures resulting in qualified, empathetic and strong leaders.

Goals and Qualifications

Hi! I am Lauren Butler, an elementary school counselor from Gwinnett County Public Schools where I have had the honor to advocate and empower students for the past 12 years. I desire to collaborate with other schools counselors in the state of Georgia to ensure all counselors feel they are champions. Therefore, I am running for General Member of the Finance Committee and hope to have the opportunity to serve you all in this outstanding profession we share.


Southern Director

Demaris D. Cullen, Mary Lee Clark Elementary

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Vision for GSCA

I envision GSCA as the leading voice for our profession, an organization that allows school counselors the opportunity to collaborate, recharge and hone their skills, and most importantly, giving school counselors the tools needed to advocate for our profession and our students.

Goals and Qualifications

My name is Demaris Cullen and I am asking for your vote as the GSCA Southern Director. This is my 20th year as a professional school counselor. I spent my first years as a school counselor at Charlton County High School in Folkston, GA and the last 17 years at Mary Lee Clark Elementary in Camden County, GA. I have been a member of GSCA for over 15 years and ASCA for 10 years. I have served as Region 12 Chair, Archives Editor, and Region 7 Liaison. Georgia’s southern region is diverse and encompasses rural, suburban and urban districts. However, for the most part, our school districts are spread out and offer little opportunity for collaboration and networking. I believe our region’s greatest needs are outreach to rural counties, increased membership recruitment and communication between districts. As Region 12 Chair and Region 7 Liaison, I coordinated our region meeting and know how critical these sessions are for connecting school counselor communities. My goal as Southern Director is to facilitate the use of region meetings and create a southern region newsletter as opportunities to further the mission of GSCA and bring a cohesive message to and from the southern portion of the state.


Middle Director

Erin Bundrige, Woodland Middle School

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Vision for GSCA

My vision for GSCA is to increase membership so we can build an extensive network of support and advocacy for each other and the profession, as well as continuing to provide meaningful resources and professional development that will grow all members by enhancing their knowledge, skills and abilities.

Goals and Qualifications

Greetings, my name is Erin Bundrige and I am seeking the position of Middle Director. I’ve been in education for 16 years. I spent eight years as a middle and elementary teacher, and this is my eighth year as a school counselor. I’ve served as a Professional School Counselor in both the middle and elementary level. I work for Henry County Schools and I serve on the Counseling Leadership Team for the district. As a member on the county's Counseling Leadership Team, I've helped develop professional development for the Student Services department, as well providing support to new and veteran counselors in the district. I’ve been a member of GSCA and ASCA for eight years. My current role within GSCA is the Middle School Liaison. As the Middle School Liaison, I’ve been able to share resources and important information with other middle school counselors that is relevant to the work we do each day. My dedication and passion to this profession makes me a viable candidate for Middle Director. I would use these qualities to continuously advocate for middle school counselors and be the voice at the table to discuss important concerns regarding our level. My goal as the Middle Director is to (1) grow a collaborative network of middle school counselors who can call on each other at any time for assistance and support, (2) provide meaningful resources that supports the challenges we face on a daily basis, (3) help other counselors advocate for themselves and their school counseling programs. I encourage other middle school counselors to join me as we advocate for each other and the important job of helping students transition from childhood to adolescence. My hope is that each of you will consider me, Erin Bundrige, for your Middle Director.


Northern Director

No Nomination Received

Counselor Educator Director

No Nomination Received