California Educator

May 2015

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CTA member honored as School Counselor of the Year finalist By Ed Sibby "Mrs. Pringle was there when my family wasn't or couldn't be. On the days that I wasn't feeling so confident about my future, she would counsel me in the right direction so I wouldn't get off track, so I wouldn't give up. It wasn't just me she was encouraging; it was all her students. She always took the time to help support her students whether it was with academics, personal issues or helping you plan your life after high school," Hindra says. Hoover High School Principal Joe Austin credits her with assisting families, most for the first time, through the myriad of responsibilities associated with the admissions process — no small feat in a school where 100 percent of the students qualify for free or reduced-price lunch. "It's difficult to fathom all of the lives that have been positively impacted by her passion, caring and exper- tise," he says. T h e S c h o o l C o u n s e l o r o f t h e Ye a r f i n a l i s t s a n d w i n n e r (Cory Notestine, Colorado) were judged on several criteria, including creative school counseling innovations, effective school counseling programs, leadership skills, and contribu- tions to student advancement. "School counselors make significant contributions to the overall well‐being of students and their success," says Kwok-Sze Wong, ASCA executive director. "They have unique qualifications and skills that allow them to address students' academic achievement, career, and social-emotional development needs." Pringle, along with the other finalists and semifinalists, flew to Washington, D.C., in January for three days of cel- ebratory events. The honorees were received at a White House ceremony with the First Lady, and attended meet- ings with their members of Congress, including a congressional briefing and formal recognition at a black‐tie gala. Back home at Hoover High School where the term is winding down, Pringle has just moved through college application deadline season, dealing with parent outreach for financial aid, checklists, explanations regarding the difference between two- and four-year colleges, and student loan eligibility. Multiple parent meetings have taken place since fall, and Pringle is still engaged after nearly a quarter century of the work. "It's a rewarding field that gives me an opportunity to make a differ- ence in students' lives. Counselors today face significant challenges. They are tasked with maintaining and reinforcing empathy while balancing relationships, leadership, and site-level power and data use in order to make effective school improvements. It's not you and a student working in isolation." In the White House Blue Room in January, where Pringle and the other finalists were gathered, First Lady Michelle Obama remarked that it was the first time in history that school counselors were so honored. "I was so thankful, I wanted to have every teacher and professor who ever encouraged me to be able to share this with me," Pringle says. CTA proudly acknowledges the outstanding achievement of Tawnya Pringle as a 2015 School Counselor of the Year finalist. "I remember many times sitting in Mrs. Pringle's office because I need- ed someone to listen to me," says Cherno Hindra, a former Hoover High School student now enrolled at CSU East Bay. Originally from Morocco, Hindra is the first in her family to attend a four-year univer- sity, and an affirmation of why Tawnya Pringle, San Diego Education Association, was named one of five national finalists for the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) School Counselor of the Year. Profile Know & Tell Member honored 15 V O L U M E 1 9 I S S U E 9

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