Oct. 30, 2012. Mabel School Counselor Christy Welch has been selected by the North Carolina School Counseling Association (NCSCA) as the Elementary School Counselor of the Year for 2012-13.
Her selection was welcomed by Mabel Principal Mark Hagaman, who said “she richly deserves the honor. She has been instrumental in helping provide a safe, happy, and nurturing environment for the students of our community. Ms. Welch is creative and innovative in her approach to students and her opinion is valued at the local level and beyond.”
In addition to her duties as school counselor, Welch is the school testing coordinator for Mabel, a role that Hagaman described as “a job within itself.” Welch also maintains a parent resource center that provides information helpful in coping with the challenges of parenting, a food pantry for families who lack the means to provide adequate food at home, and a “Pioneer Prom Boutique” to help less fortunate young women with prom dresses.
The NCSCA offers school counselor of the year awards for counselors working in elementary grades, middle grades, and at the high school level. The purpose of the awards is “to recognize one outstanding professional on each level who has made a positive impact in their school with students, teachers and parents.” Nominees for the awards must be certified school counselors with a master’s degree and at least five years of experience in the field, and they must have displayed innovation and leadership in their work as a counselor.
Welch is the second WCS school counselor to be honored this year. Blowing Rock School Counselor Kelly Baruth was recently named the WCS Counselor of the Year for 2012-13 in the middle school category. Welch was the WCS Counselor of the Year in 2011-12 in the elementary school category. Although designated as elementary or middle school for the purpose of NCASA nominations, both Welch and Baruth actually serve students in all elementary and middle school grades. Student Services Director Clarissa Schmal noted that “we are both proud and lucky to have them both serving in the Watauga County Schools.”
Welch came to Mabel as an intern and is now in her eleventh year as the school’s counselor. She completed her bachelor’s degree at Wingate University, a master’s degree at Appalachian State University, and has achieved National Board Certification. Her husband John Welch is a member of the Watauga County Board of Education.