BOCA RATON, FL (BocaNewsNow.com) (Source: Palm Beach County School District) — The Florida School Counselor Association honored two School District of Palm Beach County counselors for their outstanding work with students and their contributions to their profession.
Lance Gondek, a middle school counselor working with seventh grade students at Eagles Landing Middle School in Boca Raton, was named Florida’s 2015 Middle School Counselor of the Year, and Dr. Randi Schietz, school counselor at Binks Forest Elementary School in Wellington, was named 2015 School Counselor Advocate of the Year.
Both received their statewide awards last month at the Florida School Counselors Association’s annual conference. They were nominated by their peers for their contributions to students and faculty at their respective schools, after being recognized at the county level by the Palm Beach School Counselors Association.
“This award is very touching, as it reaffirms the impact that school counselors have in the educational community,” said Gondek, who is in his 18th year as a counselor at Eagles Landing Middle. “While never expected, it is always nice to be a recipient of something so positive, for something that was recognized by the individuals that I work so closely with.”
Schietz has been with the School District of Palm Beach County for 21 years, and has worked at Binks Forest Elementary for the past 10 years. She is co-president and past president of the Palm Beach School Counselor Association, serves on different advisory councils, supervises interns and mentors new counselors. She developed a program called “Girl Talk” to reduce relational aggression and ease the transition to middle school for fifth grade girls, and is training other counselors in Palm Beach County and throughout the state to implement it at their schools.
“School counselors are often the only professional in a school with that position and advocacy is so important,” Schietz said. “Our role has changed and is now based on the delivery of comprehensive, data-driven school counseling programs that promote college and career readiness and socio-emotional learning. In an age of school violence, bullying and increased mental health concerns, school counselors are uniquely qualified to address these issues. I feel honored and humbled to have my name associated with advocacy for a profession that I am so passionate about and have been so dedicated to for so long.”
Along with Gondek and Schietz, Hidden Oaks Elementary School Principal Sari Myers was recognized by the association as its 2015 Administrator of the Year.