Geoffrey Jones, outreach counselor from Kalakaua Middle School, is heading to Washington, D.C. to represent Hawaii at the America School Counselor Association’s (ASCA) 2016 Counselor of the Year ceremony. The Hawaii School Counselor Association (HSCA) selected Jones out of a group of more than 600 other counselors.
“Middle school years are a transitioning time for students. Our counselors play a vital role in shaping their academic experience," said Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “We would like to congratulate Geoffrey on this wonderful recognition and opportunity to represent our state.”
The School Counselor of the Year program recognizes individuals who have helped students and advocated on their behalf in school and in life. The ceremony will take place in January 2016 at the White House followed by a black-tie gala at Union Station.
“My work as an outreach counselor has given me the opportunity to empower students and their families," said Jones. “Being able to boost morale and motivate these children through various programs on-campus and in the community has been a fulfilling experience professionally and personally.”
Earlier this year, Jones was named the Hawaii School Counselor of the Year by the HSCA because of his willingness to go above and beyond to help his students. Jones is the co-founder and coordinator of the monthly Kalihi Interagency Community (KIC) meetings, which provides the youth of Kalihi with healthy supervised programs during and after school hours. The KIC is comprised of 60 supporting agencies including non-profits, law enforcement and school officials.
Jones has been an outreach counselor at Kalakaua Middle School since 2007, and prior to that was a counselor at Wailupe Valley Elementary and Stevenson Middle School. He earned his bachelors degree in sociology from the University of California, Los Angeles and a master’s degree in counseling and guidance from the University of Hawaii at Manoa.
“School counselors make significant contributions to the overall well-being of students and their success," said Richard Wong, Ed.D., executive director, American School Counselor Association. “They have unique qualifications and skills that allow them to address students' academic achievement, career development and social/emotional needs.”
The HSCA also recognized Ann Mahi, Complex Area Superintendent for Nanakuli-Waianae, as “School Counselor Advocate of the Year." Through her support, counselors in the Nanakuli-Waianae complex schools received resources to build a comprehensive counseling program within each school. In June 2015, Waianae Intermediate and Nanaikapono Elementary received national designation as a Recognized American School Association Model Program. Read more about their recognition here.
Visit http://hawaiisca.org/ for more information about the Hawaii School Counselor Association.
For more information about the ASCA, visit www.schoolcounselor.org.