School Counseling Week - Thank You to Our Counselors!

By Office of Communications
Employee News
February 04, 2024

February 5-9 is National School Counseling Week, highlighting the tremendous impact school counselors have in helping students achieve academic success and planning for a career.
School counselors work with students in many ways, such as classroom lessons, group sessions, and individual counseling. 

Below are examples of some of our exemplary school counselors. The following were chosen as pyramid winners for the 2023 Outstanding  School-Based Professional Employee Award. The excerpts are from their nomination packets. All were nominated by colleagues, except for Leigh Ashurst, who was nominated by a student’s parents. 

Marie Dañosos, Counselor at Twain Middle School 

Marie Donosos stands before a colorful flagMarie (pictured at left) began an afterschool program for students who need additional support and academic motivation. Ms. Dañosos and her team of teachers developed a program that combined academic interventions with fun, team-building activities that increased student engagement. 

She hears people for who they are and how they see a situation, reserves judgment, and approaches problem-solving as something to be done collaboratively rather than individually. 

Taylor Nelson, Counselor at Robinson Secondary School

Taylor Nelson meets with a student. Taylor’s students and families alike speak glowingly about her follow-up and attention to detail. She is meticulous and sees each and every daily task to fruition. She is an incredible leader and an excellent teammate who has the keen ability to really listen to what people have to say. 

Taylor is arguably the most genuine, bubbly, and effervescent employee at Robinson. In a time when educators are being stretched to their limits, Taylor shows up to work every day with a smile on her face and a willingness to laugh. 

Jamie Fobert, Counselor at Parklawn Elementary School

Ms. Fobert has had Minute Meetings where students have taught her words in Farsi and Pashtu that bridge the gaps between their culture and the school, as well as words to use in her work with other students. During these check-ins, she has also had conversations with students sharing whether they have a positive adult or peer at school, guaranteeing their success at Parklawn. She works closely with the parent liaison and other school members of the wellness team to connect her work to the well-being of the child in the home and at school. 

Elizabeth Chase-Kang, Counselor at Oakton High School

A counselor holds an inspirational sign. Elizabeth builds a caring culture where students feel valued, supported, and heard. This is evidenced each year when Oakton graduates come back to visit her during holidays and at the end of the school year. 

For some students, Elizabeth is the only adult they feel comfortable talking to about what is going on in their lives. She champions students and celebrates student success by honoring students with a Cougar Commendation or in individual conversations. Elizabeth makes it a point to highlight students’ strengths, which motivates students to keep going. 

Joni Fraundorfer, Counselor at Franklin Middle School 

A counselor sits on steps, upon which are written "Positivity Project"One student shared, “Ms. F has changed my life. I had anger and sadness before, but she helped me. She took her time, not rushing anything and really focusing on what I needed. Days when I don’t feel my best, she gives me the energy I need. Kids feel like they can open up to her.” 

A colleague stated, “I am particularly grateful for how grounded Joni is — she always keeps our team thinking realistically, without giving up on the optimism that is vital in supporting young people.”

Leigh Ashurst, Counselor at Keene Mill Elementary School 

A counselor sits at a table with three studentsThe parent nominator shared, “As a military family, we are very familiar with leadership traits, and Mrs. Ashurst demonstrates strong qualities typical of the best leaders we have seen. She seeks to understand as an active listener, develops goals to address challenges, and contributes feedback as a servant leader, truly invested in the student and their resilience. Taken together, it is clear to us that Mrs. Ashurst is a dedicated professional who is committed to student success, and through collaborative dialogue, she is leading young students to become more engaged and to find school as rewarding as possible.”

Learn more about the role of school counselors in FCPS.