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CCSD Names 2024 Counselor of the Year!

CCSD Names 2024 Counselor of the Year!

CCSD 2024 Counselor of the Year Whitney Morberg, left, is congratulated by Superintendent of Schools Mary Elizabeth Davis.

Whitney Morberg’s title at Etowah High School is school counselor, but that’s just her not-so-secret identity.

She’s actually a superhero.  She doesn’t don a cape and rescue students from the challenges of their lives -- she instead guides them to resources and opportunities so they can rescue themselves with her helping hand.

Like the homeless student she encouraged to share her story in college application essays … and who then earned a generous scholarship to Georgetown University where she’s wrapping up her junior year.  Or the current senior who, due to her parents’ addictions, lived briefly with his grandmother until she passed away from cancer.  Ms. Morberg has pushed this student to complete financial aid and grant forms so he, too, can advance to college despite life’s obstacles.

Stories like these fill the days of Ms. Morberg, according to her colleagues, who describe her as “the very best of what CCSD has to offer.”

Her excellence was formally recognized today when Ms. Morberg was surprised with the honor that she’s the Cherokee County School District 2024 Counselor of the Year!  She now advances to the statewide Counselor of the Year competition.

“In today’s profession, the role of a school counselor is the heart of everything that happens,” Superintendent of Schools Mary Elizabeth Davis said.  “Your work has incredible impact.”

Credit Union of Georgia, a CCSD Partner, sponsored gifts including a $500 Visa gift card, engraved plaque and a large congratulatory banner for Ms. Morberg that were presented by Cherokee Area Business Development Manager Jason Blakey.  A $100 Visa gift card will be presented by Credit Union of Georgia to each of the Innovation Zone Counselors of the Year at the Cherokee County School Board’s April meeting.  

“Your job is so important – the impact you have on students is tremendous,” Mr. Blakey said.  “You help them find their place in life.”

CCSD Chief Operations Officer Dr. Debra Murdock and Student Services Administrator Dr. Robert Shaw, Etowah HS Principal Robert Horn and other CCSD and school staff joined in the presentation, as did Ms. Morberg’s extended family.

“Whitney’s ability to connect with individuals, offer invaluable guidance and create a positive and supportive environment has made meaningful differences in the lives of those she serves and serves alongside,” Principal Horn said, noting that the “love, passion and dedication” she brings to the role inspires everyone.  “Her passion for empowering her students to overcome challenges and achieve their goals is truly inspiring.”

As one student shared: “She will never give up on you and that is what makes her the best counselor.”

An 18-year school counselor and three-time Innovation Zone Counselor of the Year award winner, Ms. Morberg has served at Etowah for the past decade.  She is known for her expertise in guiding students to college acceptance and scholarship wins, but she’s just as equally known for her efforts to provide students access to career success (even coordinating students’ transportation to advanced training programs and assisting with applications) and her ability to support students experiencing emotional or mental health crises.

Ms. Morberg serves on CCSD’s crisis team made up of the district’s most experienced counselors and uses her extensive training to respond to schoolwide crises, such as the death of student or teacher, as well as to crises in individual students’ and colleagues’ lives.

“Being a school counselor is more that just a profession to me – it’s a lifelong journey filled with meaningful connections, inspiring moments and reminders of purpose,” she said.  “I chose this career path with a singular goal in mind: to make a difference in the lives of young people, no matter how small that impact may seem.  Whether it’s providing guidance during times of uncertainty or offering words of encouragement when they feel disheartened, I am committed to being a source of support and inspiration for every student I encounter.”

Her own personal life is equally inspiring, as Ms. Morberg outside of school hours provides mental health counseling services to community members and, for the past eight years, has served as a foster parent.

Ms. Morberg earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Georgia and both her masters and specialist degrees in school counseling from Georgia State University.  She joined CCSD as a school counselor at Hasty Elementary School and later worked at Canton Elementary before moving to Etowah. 

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. Morberg for the Etowah Innovation Zone, the other zone winners are: Cherokee, Jon Costales of R. M. Moore ES; Creekview, Dr. Kathleen Harris of Creekland MS; River Ridge, Dawn Garner of Arnold Mill ES; Sequoyah, Chris Guy of Holly Springs STEM Academy; and Woodstock, Unique Aquino of Woodstock MS.


CCSD 2024 Counselor of the Year Whitney Morberg of Etowah High School

CCSD 2024 Counselor of the Year Whitney Morberg, center, is congratulated after the surprise presentation.

CCSD 2024 Counselor of the Year Whitney Morberg of Etowah HS, right, is congratulated by Jason Blakey, left, Cherokee Area Bu

CCSD 2024 Counselor of the Year Whitney Morberg of Etowah HS, right, is congratulated by Jason Blakey, left, Cherokee Area Business Development Manager for Credit Union of Georgia, which sponsors gifts for the recognition program.

CCSD 2024 Counselor of the Year Whitney Morberg
CCSD Superintendent of Schools Mary Elizabeth Davis congratulates 2024 Counselor of the Year Whitney Morberg