McKinney ISD

 

McKinney North Counselor Debra Fort Named TSCA Texas High School Counselor of the Year, 17 MISD Schools Earn CREST Awards from TSCA

Press Release|
Shane Mauldin|
Friday, February 11, 2022

McKinney, Texas – McKinney North High School Counselor Debra Fort has been named the Rhosine Fleming Texas High School Counselor of the Year by the Texas School Counselor Association (TSCA), and 17 McKinney ISD campuses have earned CREST awards (Counselors Reinforcing Excellence for Students in Texas) from TSCA—the highest number of MISD campuses to receive the award in the same year.

Debra Fort
The Rhosine Fleming Award was established in memory of Rhosine DuBose Fleming, a school counselor instrumental in organizing the Texas School Counselor Association (TSCA) in 1966. The award is given each year to an outstanding school counselor at each educational level.

Debra Fort at desk smiling

Debra Fort, counseling lead at McKinney North High School, has been named the Rhosine Fleming Texas High School Counselor of the Year by the Texas School Counselor Association (TSCA).

In August, MISD announced that Debra Fort had been chosen as the district’s Counselor of the Year. This month, TSCA has named her the Rhosine Fleming Texas High School Counselor of the Year for 2021–2022.

Over the course of a career spanning 28 years, Fort has served as a school counselor for 17 years. She has served at North for the past 10. As the school’s lead counselor, she heads up a contingent of five house counselors—who each serve about 450–500 students—as well as a part-time and full-time IMPACT counselor.

“I am truly grateful and honored to be the recipient of TSCA’s School Counselor of the Year Award,” said Fort. “I do not believe I would have received this recognition without the support and assistance of McKinney North’s counseling team and administration as well as Jennifer Akins, MISD’s Senior Director of Guidance and Counseling. I love being a school counselor and cannot imagine a different career path. It is wonderful to know that my hard work and dedication have been recognized at the state level.”

CREST Awards
Where the Rhosine Fleming awards focus on individuals, the CREST awards focus on the efforts of an entire campus. In 2005, TSCA introduced the CREST program to recognize schools with outstanding comprehensive counseling programs. Schools receiving CREST awards demonstrate a commitment to using the Texas Model to improve the lives and achievement of students in academic, career and personal social domains.

The Texas Model is a weighty document, hundreds of pages in length, that Texas public school districts are required to implement through their comprehensive school counseling programs. The documentation that districts submit to TSCA for CREST aligns with the Texas Model.

“It’s a way for schools to highlight what they’ve done over the past year,” said MISD Senior Director of Guidance and Counseling Jennifer Akins. “You can’t have comprehensive school counseling if you don’t have support from your administrators, your teachers, your parents, your students. It’s an all-in effort. Certainly the counselor is leading that, and is an organizer, but you can’t be a CREST campus if you have a one-man show in your counselor.”

large group of students posing for photo in front of office

Wilmeth counselor Teri Morgan-Boyte (back row, left) with students. Last year, the students held a food drive and collected more than 100 holiday dinners for families in need during Thanksgiving.

MISD counselors certainly contribute toward the effort. During the 2020–2021 school year, the 58 professionals who make up the district’s team of school counselors met with students individually 31,780 times. They led 1,089 small group meetings, taught 6,254 classroom lessons, gave 456 presentations for parents and staff and had contact with parents 21,782 times—not including emails.

Here are the MISD campuses that earned a CREST award this year.

2021–2022 MISD Elementary CREST Award Recipients

Bennett Elementary School—Counselor: Christie Thompson / Principal: Amy Holderman
Burks Elementary School—Counselor: Katie Wallace / Principal: Al Conley
Reuben Johnson Elementary School—Counselor: Naesha Hobbs-Parker / Principal: Michelle Baumann

Lawson Early Childhood School—Counselor: Jen Mitchell / Principal: Susie Towber
Malvern Elementary School—Counselor: Dina Davenport / Principal: Rhonda Gilliam
McGowen Elementary School—Counselor: Shiela de Leon / Principal: Kimberly Luyster

McNeil Elementary School—Counselor: Dawn Jones / Principal: Tracy Meador

Press Elementary School—Counselor: Susan Washa / Principal: Rachel Constantinescu

Walker Elementary School—Counselor: Holli Shegog / Principal: Melanie Raleeh
Webb Elementary School—Counselor: Jennifer Lidington / Principal: Maria Hafner
Wilmeth Elementary School—Counselor: Teri Morgan-Boyte / Principal: Kristin Ellis
Wolford Elementary School—Counselor: Felisha Cortez / Principal: Fran Gratt

student standing and talking to group seated on floor

Cockrill 8th grade PALS students lead team building activities with 6th grade students each Friday.

2021–2022 MISD Secondary CREST Award Recipients
Cockrill Middle School—Counselors: Tana Hoover, Christal Helm, Courtney Starnes / Principal: Dr. Amber Epperson
Faubion Middle School—Counselors: Christina Kiefer, Kim Petty, Daniel Rodriguez / Principal: Mitch VandenBoom
McKinney High School—Counselors: Pamala Adams, Kevin Aitken, Susan Bell, Dr. Jeff Cranmore, Andy Crawford, Gretchen Hamilton, Melissa Howard, Jill Lueke, Lori Mitchell, Brandi Ribble, Angela Wylie; MEF Advisor: Brandi Ribble and Collin College Counselor: Angela Morales / Principal: Alan Arbabi
McKinney North High School—Counselors: Megan Bloedel, Marshella Davis, Debra Fort, Mariana Gonzalez, Cindi Kent, Tiffany Merder, Rupal Sikdar, Deidre Williams; MEF Advisor: Megan Bloedel and Collin College Counselor: Calee Follins / Principal: Jae Gaskill
DAEP—Counselor: Carrie Dewey / Principal: Kyle Luthi

CREST is a continuous improvement document that helps counselors evaluate their counseling programs, promote their programs to the stakeholders in their districts, demonstrate the effectiveness of their guidance and counseling programs through empirical means and implement the Texas and National models for school counseling programs.

The school’s counseling team prepares a digital submission that highlights their work and communicates what the counseling program is doing to help students succeed. These are sent to reviewers throughout the state of Texas to be judged according to pre-set standards of excellence.

MISD Coordinator of Counseling Errin French said that she was pleasantly surprised that so many MISD campuses earned CREST Awards during a pandemic year.

“That was just astounding to me,” French said. “That made me so happy to have so many, and so many more secondary schools this year as well. It just goes to show that they’re adjusting to doing things differently while still maintaining their comprehensive counseling program.”

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