Oklahoma State University alumna Sarah Kirk has been selected as the Oklahoma School Counselor of the Year for 2018-19 by the Oklahoma School Counselor Association (OSCA). Kirk earned a master’s in counseling, option in school counseling from the OSU College of Education, Health and Aviation in 2012. She has been a school counselor at Monroe Elementary School in Norman for the past six years.
The School Counselor of the Year program honors the professionals who devote their careers to serving as advocates for the nation’s students, helping them achieve success in school and in life. Selection criteria includes school counseling innovation, evidence of an effective comprehensive school counseling program, leadership and collaboration, professionalism and advocacy.
Kirk’s tireless efforts have resulted in the creation of multiple innovative student leadership and support programs in response to data and feedback she gathers from stakeholders. One such program is “Kindness Ambassadors,” a group of students who lead the school’s participation in “The Great Kindness Challenge.” This program is a direct result of students telling Kirk they wished kids would be nicer to each other at school. She also leads mentoring programs, a therapy dog program and a yoga club at Monroe.
“I know Sarah to be a great advocate for students,” said Dr. Lori Connery, principal at Monroe Elementary School. “She is a person of excellent character. She sets the bar high for herself and those she works with while garnering the respect of our students, parents, her peers, and our staff. She is the embodiment of an outstanding school counselor.”
Kirk serves as a New Counselor Mentor for Norman Public Schools, presents regularly at progressional development events and is in the process of applying for her school’s counseling program to become an American School Counselor Association Recognized ASCA Model Program (RAMP).
“Her leadership extends statewide by serving as an Oklahoma School Counselor Association (OSCA) Board member,” said Sharon Heatly, director of guidance and counseling for Norman Public Schools. “Sarah’s demeanor is always positive, calm, and in problem-solving mode.”
Kirk, along with the honorees from the other states, will be recognized at a formal gala in Washington, D.C. in January 2019. The American School Counselor Association will also announce the national School Counselor of the Year during this time.