Gwinnett County Public Schools named its top counselors during a special recognition ceremony at the district office Feb. 8.
Meadowcreek High's William Blair was named the Gwinnett County Secondary School Counselor of the Year.
At the ceremony, Blair said his win is a testament to the counseling team that surrounds him. This is the second time he's be recommended for the award.
Counseling high school students, Blair has the opportunity to help students move beyond their secondary education into professional areas they are passionate about.
"I'm so excited to be able to make a difference in the lives of students," he said. "That's my whole goal: I've always wanted to see students succeed."
GCPS wrote the following statement about Blair:
It was shortly after William Blair began his career in education as a classroom teacher that he started noticing a role he enjoyed. He explains, “I noticed early on that I had a unique passion to support students. This passion continued to manifest itself in the form of counseling even as a teacher.” Mr. Blair answered that call and decided to continue his education earning a graduate degree in school counseling. He practiced that role in DeKalb County before arriving in Gwinnett at Peachtree Elementary (2003-2004) and finally becoming a proud Meadowcreek High mustang (2004-Present).
“Under the leadership of Mr. William Blair, we have felt the heartbeat [the school’s counseling department] grow stronger while strengthening our school academically and socially,” says Meadowcreek High assistant principal Adrienne Wylie who nominated him for the honor. Ms. Wylie speaks highly of Mr. Blair’s leadership skills, saying, “Meadowcreek High School has accomplished much over the years, although in all of our gains the counseling department has been the common ingredient for success.”
In his five years as department chair, Mr. Blair has implemented several advisement plans and activities to support all students on their quest for success. One of those programs is “Creek Week,” an event filled with activities to support students as they prepared for the Georgia High School Graduation Test. In addition to his work with upperclassmen, he encourages the school’s younger students by working with the Meadowcreek Cluster middle schools. The 8th grade transitional summer program helps future freshmen make a smooth transition. The program offers students an opportunity to take two classes over the summer to give them a head start on becoming successful freshmen.
In addition to guiding, encouraging, and challenging his own students at Meadowcreek High, Mr. Blair also is willing, trained, and ready to help any Gwinnett student. As a member of the district’s crisis team, he is especially trained to support all students across the district in the event of a tragedy.
Mr. Blair earned his master’s degree in school counseling from Clark Atlanta University and his bachelor’s degree from Morris Brown College.
The other teachers honored include:
- Elementary School Counselor of the Year: Jennifer Diaz, counselor at White Oak Elementary in Sugar Hill
- Middle School Counselor of the Year: Andrea Hodgin, counselor at Lanier Middle in Sugar Hill
- Additionally, district officials named Dana Pugh as the recipient of the Mary Joe Hannaford Counseling Advocate of the Year Award. Pough is principal of Bay Creek Middle School in Grayson.
Now, the winners of the Counselors of the Year awards will move on to the regional level of competition. In all, there are more than 300 counseling professionals in the Gwinnett County school district.
Have school news or story idea you want to share, contact Local Editor Joy L. Woodson at Joy.Woodson@patch.com or 404-539-9256.