1589 Hwy 119 South . Springfield, GA 31329 P: 912.754.6404 . F: 912.754.6893
Return to Headlines

ECSD Counselors Celebrate & Educate

It’s no secret that Kate Keith loves being a counselor at ECHS, and that is probably an understatement. Every day she finds herself armed with the tools she needs to overcome the various challenges that her position throws her way. It is the same for all counselors who work in our school system; they meet with students to uncover and overcome problems on a daily basis. But this was a special week for Kate and her fellow counselors. This week she was able to share the joys of counseling as her department celebrated National Counselors’ Week.

“I get to work hand-in-hand with amazing teachers when they call upon me.”

This is just one of the five responses for the statement “I enjoy being a school counselor because…” that Kate shared in daily emails sent to ECHS staff members the week of February 6th. But she also has the opportunity to work with some amazing people in her own department.

Aurelia Moss, a member of the State Superintendent’s Parent Advisory Council, works with students currently in the 11th grade. Aurelia’s talent is in foundational college planning. She gives students and parents the information they need to begin preparing for a successful senior year and transition after graduation. This can be overwhelming for families, but Aurelia makes the task manageable with her firm yet supportive demeanor.

Hank Heller, the 10th grade counselor, has strong skills in crisis management and is the lead counselor for the Effingham County Schools Crisis Management Team. He uses his own past struggles in school as a way to relate to students who are having a hard time with a particular subject – usually math. His job is at its most rewarding when he can assist students into arriving at their own successful conclusions and decisions with his guidance.

Mimi may be new to the team but she is smart and poised, highly trainable and a quick study. She has a special talent for connecting students with their post-secondary dreams. Her attention to detail and desire to put the best foot forward are natural talents that shine every day. She is the liaison with colleges and community organizations offering scholarships and other forms of student recognition. She also has a real knack for event planning.

Jackie Brown, named “School Social Worker of the Year” for District One in 2013, works with students and families that are in the most need of assistance. Whether it’s housing, uniforms, school supplies, employment leads, or just general advice, Jackie spends much of her time ensuring that the needs of others are being addressed in some way. Dr. Brown has been recognized for her efforts by being invited to attend and share her experiences with Leadership Georgia.

And as for Kate…well, she doesn’t like to brag on herself, but she is known for being an amazing counselor, wife, mother, and artist. She has a unique energy that seems to resonate within the room and leave a positive impact on those around her. Her focus and initiative enable her to be a role model for students. Here is her favorite reason for going into work every day:
Kate Keith, ECHS Counselor
“I get to be a “jack of all trades” in the broad field of counseling. I can counsel students regarding their social/emotional concerns, engage in career counseling and post-secondary planning, provide crisis counseling and support, touch on substance abuse counseling and refer to community counselors and resources for more in-depth support, act as a consultant for parents, teachers, staff, and administrators in addition to filling my role as an academic counselor for seniors. I am almost never bored.”

There are 22 school counselors in Effingham County School District. Each elementary school has 1 school counselor, the middle schools each have 2, and the high schools each have 4. From time to time, the counselors in the county work as a large team; each one of them is a smart, tireless, and remarkable professional and person in his/her own right. Here are more reasons that ECHS Counselors love what they do and the schools that help them do it.
Mimi Hayes, ECHS Counselor
Mimi Hayes
"I really enjoy having a hand in shaping a student's path to graduation. When should the student take this class? Would the student be more successful if it were taken in the morning or in the afternoon? Would the student be more successful if it were taken during 1st semester or 2nd semester? Would this student benefit from an Instructional Focus course, even though he is eligible to opt out? What responsibilities and obligations does he have after school? What are his interests? Do they really coincide with the career pathway he selected for himself? These considerations form a fine line between success and failure. Being able to help students navigate that line is most rewarding."
Aurelia Moss, ECHS Counselor
Aurelia Moss
"I love being a School Counselor because I have the opportunity to give to my students what my school counselors gave to me when I was a student: encouragement, support, college planning guidance, and a smile."
Hank Heller, ECHS Counselor
Hank Heller
"The most rewarding thing for me about being a school counselor is when an adult approaches me and says you are the reason I got through school. Or a parent says you are the reason my child got through school. I know this happens to all of us in education, and I find that God chooses the time for this to occur when we need it the most."
Erin Watson, BES Counselor
Erin Watson, BES Counselor
"I get to work with amazing students. It brings joy to my heart to see students joyful and dedicated to school. I love being students’ biggest cheerleader and their #1 advocate."
Tara Lamb, EMS Counselor
Tara Lamb, EMS Counselor
"One of the things I love about being a school counselor is helping students develop coping skills and strategies that will help them solve problems and make healthy choices for a lifetime."
Karen Thomas, EMS Counselor
Karen Thoman, EMS Counselor
"I love being a counselor because I am equipping my students to do life. Not just a tie a knot and hang in there kind of life! I am teaching them how to thrive regardless of their circumstances."
SEHS Counseling Staff
The SEHS Counseling Team is excited about having the opportunity to assist students
with post-secondary options. GO STANGS!!!!
Many thanks to our ECSD Counselors for their assistance with this article!