Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower presents Indian Knoll Elementary School Counselor Colleen DeLosh with the CCSD 2019 Counselor of the Year award. Her family members were present for the award, including her father, Ron Barry; husband, Jason; daughter, McKenzie; and son, Griffin.
Indian Knoll Elementary School Counselor Colleen DeLosh deeply understands the struggles of the students she serves.
Not only did she, of course, attend school like them, but she also as a young person experienced her parents’ divorce, moving and a sibling’s drug addiction – all issues that make life even more challenging for her own students.
Both of her parents were good listeners, but Ms. DeLosh needed a “neutral” party to confide in, lean on and learn from… and she found that person in a school counselor.
“Her impact on my life during a difficult time, at such a young age, has propelled me to want to be that person for the students I work with on a regular basis,” said the 18-year educator, who has worked as a counselor at Indian Knoll ES since 2011. “She was someone with whom I could share how I really felt during the many transitions in my life and not have to worry if I was hurting their feelings or saying something I shouldn’t be saying… and she is just as much a driving force in my life today as she was then.”
This focus on supporting the individual child, coupled with her education, experience and dedication to continuously enhancing and expanding programs for her school, led her colleagues to name her the Sequoyah Innovation Zone’s Counselor of the Year… and for Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower to surprise her Tuesday with the honor that she’s the Cherokee County School District 2019 Counselor of the Year!
Dr. Hightower, in the presentation made during the school’s faculty meeting, said her impressive application makes clear why the judging committee of retired educators and community leaders selected her for the honor.
“I am so impressed with all she does: Response to Intervention, 504 special needs plans, the school food pantry, yearbook, small group counseling, attendance incentives, holiday toy drives, and the Seven Mindset Faculty group she created this year,” he said. “She's just done a phenomenal job.”
The presentation and a reception, which also were attended by her family, were sponsored by Credit Union of Georgia, a CCSD Partner. Credit Union of Georgia sponsored gifts including an iPad for Ms. DeLosh, as well as a $50 gift card for her and each of the Innovation Zone Counselors of the Year, which will be presented to them at the April 18 Cherokee County School Board meeting. Deputy Superintendent Trey Olson and Principal Kim Cerasoli also joined in the ceremony.
“Colleen is a valued member of our school leadership team,” Principal Cerasoli said. “She is fully deserving of this award, extremely experienced, and a self-starter. Most importantly, she sets the example and shows compassion and positive character every day at Indian Knoll Elementary School.”
Ms. DeLosh in her remarks thanked Principal Cerasoli, fellow School Counselor Lori Waycaster, and her colleagues.
“Lori and I started at this school together, and we just love all of you here and all the kids who attend here,” said Ms. DeLosh, who earned her education degree from Barry University, a master’s in school guidance and counseling from Nova Southeastern University and a specialist in education in professional counseling and supervision from the University of West Georgia.
The award process begins with each Innovation Zone (high school and feeder elementary and middle schools) selecting a Counselor of the Year. Applications from these honorees then are considered by a panel of retired educators and community leaders, who select the CCSD Counselor of the Year.
In addition to Ms. DeLosh for the Sequoyah Innovation Zone (IZ), the other Zone winners are: Cherokee IZ, Heather Chesnut of Clayton ES; Creekview IZ, Katherine McNamara of Avery ES; Etowah IZ, Danielle Mabeus of Bascomb ES; River Ridge IZ, Kelly Brangan of River Ridge HS; and Woodstock IZ, Sarah Bigelow of Freedom MS.
Indian Knoll Elementary School Counselor Colleen DeLosh thanks her colleagues after being named the CCSD 2019 Counselor of the Year.
Kelly Nagel of Credit Union of Georgia, sponsor of the award, reveals the gifts for Ms. DeLosh including an iPad, much to the delight of Ms. DeLosh and her family.
Indian Knoll ES Counselor Colleen DeLosh reacts with surprise at the announcement by Principal Kim Cerasoli that she has been named the CCSD 2019 Counselor of the Year. The award presentation was made at a faculty meeting Tuesday afternoon.
Celebrating at the award presentation are, from left to right, Ron Barry, Indian Knoll ES Principal Kim Cerasoli, Jason DeLosh, McKenzie DeLosh, Griffin DeLosh, CCSD 2019 Counselor of the Year Colleen DeLosh of Indian Knoll ES, Kelly Nagel of Credit Union of Georgia, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian Hightower and Deputy Superintendent Trey Olson.