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Christy Welch, who was recently named the N.C. Elementary School Counselor of the Year, stands with Mabel Principal Mark Hagaman. Photo submitted.

Originally published: 2012-10-30 13:59:22
Last modified: 2012-10-30 13:59:22

Christy Welch named Counselor of the Year

by Staff Reports

Mabel School Counselor Christy Welch has been selected as Elementary School Counselor of the Year for 2012-13 by the N.C. School Counseling Association.

In addition to her duties as a school counselor, Welch is the school testing coordinator and maintains a parent resource center that provides information helpful in coping with the challenges of parenting.

She also operates a food pantry for families that cannot provide adequate food at home and a “Pioneer Prom Boutique” to provide less fortunate teens with prom dresses.

“She richly deserves the honor,” Mabel Principal Mark Hagaman said. “She has been instrumental in helping provide a safe, happy and nurturing environment for the students of our community. Mrs. Welch is creative and innovative in her approach to students, and her opinion is valued at the local level and beyond.”

Welch started at Mabel as an intern and is now in her 11th 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, is a member of the Watauga County Board of Education.

The NCSCA offers Counselor of the Year awards for counselors working in elementary school, middle school and high school. 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 award must be certified school counselors with a master’s degree and at least five years’ experience in the field. They also must have displayed innovation and leadership in their work.

Welch is the second counselor in Watauga County Schools to be honored this year. Blowing Rock School Counselor Kelly Baruth was recently named the WCS Counselor of the Year for 2011-12 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 nominations, both Welch and Baruth serve all students in all elementary and middle school grades.

“We are both proud and lucky to have them both serving in the Watauga County Schools,” Student Services Director Clarissa Schmal said.