ALEXANDRIA, Va., Jan. 26 /PRNewswire/ -- Barbara Micucci, a school counselor from Caley Elementary School in the Upper Merion Area School District, King of Prussia, Pa., has been named the top school counselor in America. Micucci is one of more than 250 elementary, middle, and secondary school counselors nationwide who were nominated for the School Counselor of the Year award. The award, which is presented by the American School Counselor Association, honors the professionals who devote their careers to serving as advocates and often lifesavers for the nation's students.
A counselor for twenty four years and a teacher for six, Micucci is a child advocate and educational leader. She makes it her goal to connect with all students and guide them toward current and future success. Micucci is the first face students see each day, greeting them on their way into school with a warm smile and letting them know she is there to support them.
"Barb Micucci can best be described as the force behind our school's success," said Susan Silver, Principal, Caley Elementary. "For the past twelve years, her main focus has been the well being of our Caley community. Students, parents, and staff smile every time they see Barb."
Micucci's connection with her students and their families cannot be overstated. She addresses their individual needs by developing collaborative programs and leading small group counseling sessions. For example, a few years ago, Micucci reviewed assessment and discipline data for the boys in her school and saw a need to educate them more effectively. In an effort to learn more about the social and emotional development of boys, she introduced the book Raising Cain, which addresses this issue, through her counselor-principal-parent book club and had parents share their ideas and feelings on a blog. Not one of the thirty parents reading the book was a father, so the group saw a need to increase male/father involvement. This led to the creation of the school's successful "Boys Night Out" to which the boys in the school could come with one male role model – father, grandfather, uncle, coach – for a night of activities.
The School Counselor of the Year awards program was open to all 100,000 members of the school counseling profession. The top eight school counselors were nominated by their peers and administrators and judged by a select panel to be the "best of the best."
The candidates were judged on several criteria, including: creative school counseling innovations, effective counseling programs, leadership skills, and contributions to student advancement.
Micucci is a valued leader not only in her school, but in her community and the field of counseling. She currently serves as the President of the Montgomery County Counseling Association and is the Professional Interest Network (PIN) coordinator for elementary counselors for the Pennsylvania School Counselors Association. She also serves as the coordinator of the school counseling program at Arcadia University in Glenside and is an adjunct professor.
"School counselors make significant contributions to the overall well-being of students and their success," said Richard Wong, Executive Director, American School Counselor Association. "They have unique qualifications and skills that allow them to address students' academic achievement, personal/social and career development needs."
The eight finalists for the 2010 School Counselor of the Year are: Christy A. Clapper, PhD, Quaker Valley Middle School, Sewickley, Pa.; Marvalee Collins, Sunnyside Elementary, Olathe, Kan.; Heidi Green, Fayetteville-Manlius High School, Manlius, Ny.; Laurie Knuth, Stanton Middle School, Kent, Oh.; Melissa Masino, Potomac View Elementary, Woodbridge, Va.; Jami Parsons, EdD, El Morro Elementary and Top of the World Elementary, Laguna Beach, Ca.; and Robert Craig McClory, Ketchikan High School, Ketchikan, Ak.
Micucci, along with the other seven finalists, will be flown to Washington, D.C., on January 27, 2010, for three days of celebratory events. The honorees will have meetings with their Members of Congress, attend a Congressional briefing and reception, and be formally recognized at a black-tie gala.
The legislative co-sponsors for the 2010 School Counselor of the Year program are: Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.), Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.) and Rep. Vernon Ehlers (R-Mich.). The 2010 program is sponsored in part by Naviance, the Universal Technical Institute and the American Federation of Teachers.
For additional information on the American School Counselor Association, please visit www.schoolcounselor.org.
About the American School Counselor Association
The American School Counselor Association (ASCA) is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) professional organization based in Alexandria, VA. ASCA promotes student success by expanding the image and influence of professional school counseling through leadership, advocacy, collaboration and systemic change. ASCA helps school counselors guide their students toward academic achievement, personal and social development, and career planning to help today's students become tomorrow's productive, contributing members of society. Founded in 1952, ASCA currently has a network of 50 state associations and a membership of more than 24,000 school counseling professionals.
SOURCE American School Counselor Association