By Scott Bleile

Katie Sears, the guidance counselor at Phillis Wheatley Elementary School, was named the Elementary School Guidance Counselor of the Year by the Delaware School Counselor Association (DSCA) for 2019-20 school year at a dinner held at Wilmington University in Dover on Feb. 6. She will compete with the secondary guidance counselor winners for the overall state winner in April.

According to their website, “The DSCA empowers school counselors with knowledge, resources and a network of support to meet academic, career and social-emotional needs of all students. The DSCA promotes the implementation of ASCA National Model programs in schools and ethical practices for school counselors.”

Phillis Wheatley Elementary School Guidance Counselor Katie Sears was named the 2019-20 Elementary School Counselor of the Year by the Delaware School Counselor Association on Feb. 6 at a dinner held in Dover. Sears will compete with Secondary level counselors for the overall winner in April. Photo by Scott Bleile

“I was very surprised and honored to receive this award” said Sears. “I was nominated by Principal Dr. Laura Leach and others. I submitted my application to DSCA. They have a dinner each year to honor all the counselors in the state and give out the awards. I never expected this honor. I will be competing with the secondary education guidance counselor winners at the state competition the first week of April. I will submit a video about my programs here at PWES for the judging.”

Sears taught fourth grade before becoming a counselor. She interacts with 620 in the school with programs to help with many different subjects. “I work with small groups and individuals on many different issues the students might be facing” Sears explained. “It might be behavior, attendance, social skills, anger, and grief. I also do a classroom session once a month with all the classes in the school. I work with parents and teachers to identify students who might need extra help at their request.”

“I set goals for students. Maybe we focus on decreasing behavior referrals or talking with a student and parents to increase attendance. It can be challenging at times, but to see results is great,” she added.

The DSCA awarded $500 to PWES for Sears’ award. The money will be used by the school for programs for the students.

Sears is married to Dane Sears, assistant principal at Woodbridge Early Childhood Education Center. She has three children and they live in Harrington.

“This is for the students. They all work very hard to accomplish their goals. I want to see them achieve their goals. It is great working with them,” Sears added.