Counselor Advocate of the Year – Paul De Sena, Ph.D., Loyola Marymount University
While recently appointed Chair of the Clinical Mental Health Counseling department at the University of Redlands, it is Dr. Janee Both Gragg’s work as Chair of the School Counseling Program that we honor today. As a counselor educator, Dr. Both Gragg is charged with teaching students to be good school counselors. But it is not good school counselors that she wants – it’s great ones. So she teaches them to be leaders; empowers them to make change; shows by example how to advocate for themselves in good times and bad; and provides a voice for the field of school counseling. In addition, Janee has served on numerous committees at the University, has published in several counseling journals, and most recently put together a symposium titled Counseling, Advocacy, and Educational Justice for All in conjunction with the University’s Educational Justice Center.
Janee doesn’t just talk-the-talk; she embodies what it means to be a ‘transformational leader’ and ‘reflective practitioner’ and imparts this on every student she touches. Her fearlessness to speak out against the injustices in education makes her a courageous counselor advocate and inspiration for all. We respectfully honor Dr. Janee Both Gragg with the Counselor Advocate of the Year award.
Administrator of the Year – Steven Keller, Ed.D, Superintendent, Redondo Beach Unified School District
Even small, private schools are not exempt from financial difficulties and counselor layoffs. This is the challenge that Principal Matthew Luttringer faced at Notre Dame High School in Riverside when he decided to take a risk. What might be seen by others as a radical move, he allocated resources to hire school counselors as a way to save his school. Under his lead, a comprehensive guidance program was implemented at the school – the first ever since its inception in 1956. With his support, this new team was able to implement over 30 new programs, form new partnerships, and make positive changes at the school - and with students. As a result of the new guidance program, student achievement has been directly and positively impacted and Notre Dame High School is now financially secure.
Matthew Luttringer says “the counseling office is the heart of a school.” We could not agree more and honor him today with our Administrator of the Year award.
Advocate of the Year – Daniel Puder, Founder, MyLife, MyPower
Counselor of the Year – Tawyna Pringle, School Counselor, San Diego Unified School District
As a school counselor at Bernice Ayer Middle School, Dr. Rosalia Koba is a champion. She works diligently with issues of bullying, conflict mediation, stress, underachievement and suicide; not only in her regular work but through various external avenues as well. Her administrators state she is an essential part of the team and her efforts can be credited with a decrease in physical altercations, higher grades and better behavior campus wide.
Rosalia has also authored a book entitled Forgiven which she uses to touch students who are exposed to gang activity. A story about her brother, Rosalia uses his story of overcoming gang involvement and drugs to show the heartbreak this lifestyle will bring. Rosalia’s passion, dedication and the extreme desire to see her students live better lives are just a few of the reasons we recognize Dr. Rosalia Koba with the Donald G. Hays School Counselor of the Year Award.
Lifetime Achievement Award – John Krumboltz
Steve Zimmer is a 16 year veteran teacher, counselor, advocate and community activist. His work on innovative classroom programs, service learning, school-based intervention services, community organizing and school community relations is known throughout Los Angeles. In his work now as a Los Angeles Unified School Board Member, he prioritizes the needs of students and families to include a Student Recovery Day, and pens resolutions in Anti-Bullying and against Domestic Violence. His most recent resolution, which was adopted by the LAUSD Board of Education in June, 2012, is titled “Ensuring Access to Quality Academic College and Career Counseling.” This sole resolution acknowledges the lack of student support services in the district and establishes direction to correct it. Steve Zimmer cares about the needs of children. He continues to advocate for students and knows that school counselors are a critical piece of that advocacy. Today, we honor Steve Zimmer with our Elected Official of the Year award.