Bennett Wins Counselor of the Year Award
Article by: Sara Musgrove
Kimber Bennett, the school counselor at Woodland Heights Elementary, won the Rhosine Fleming Award for Elementary School Counselor of the Year. The Rhosine Fleming Award was established in memory of Rhosine DuBose Fleming, who was a counselor for Richardson ISD when she died in 1971. Rhosine was instrumental in the organization of the Texas School Counselor Association (TSCA) in 1966 and served as TSCA Secretary. This award is given each year to an outstanding school counselor at each level and stands as a living memorial to Rhosine’s dedication, professional involvement, and growth.
To qualify for the award, nominations are made based on a letter of recommendation detailing significant contributions to the field of school counseling. Professional school counseling experience and leadership participation in the areas of supervision, professional development, program implementation, and/or program advocacy are also considered. Superintendent Joe Young, Deputy Superintendent Liesa Land, Mental Health Coordinator Danielle Howard, Elementary Curriculum and Instruction Coordinator Jenny Swanzy sent in letters of recommendation. “When I first saw Kimber, she was running backward in a parking lot with a tiara and a cape,” Howard said. “My young son pointed her out to me at that time, and yelled, ‘Look, Mommy! That’s our counselor!’ As I got to know her and later serve her as a counselor with a grant, and then still later as Mental Health Coordinator for our district, I found one of the most well-read, creative, and talented counselors I have ever had the joy to know. She is passionate in her advocacy to children, and uses a booming voice, and an infectious personality to entertain and educate even the youngest and most wiggly student. She has been instrumental in serving as an unofficial lead elementary counselor, assisting in supervision for HELP grant counselors, and playing a huge part in counselor advocacy.”
“As you get to know her you find the most caring, thoughtful, and respected counselor with an unwavering devotion to the children she serves,” said Liesa Land. “Queen Bennett, as her students refer to her, is not only a CREST award-winning counselor for the 2021-2022 school years, she also served as site supervisor for three of our counselors through a HELP grant program, and each of their campuses became CREST award winners as well, in large part due to her leadership regarding following the Texas Comprehensive Model for School Counselors. She played a huge part in developing our mental health counseling program to incorporate school counselors as a major piece of the service.”
Comprehensive school counseling cannot take place without the support of school and community stakeholders. Rhosine Fleming winners will be recognized at a CREST and TSCA Awards banquet this year on Sunday, February 12th at TSCA’s Professional School Counselor Conference.
“I love working with teachers, parents, and students partnering together to be able to see kids learn and grow into the best possible they can be in their lives,” Bennett said. “The kids are amazing, extremely insightful, and willing to learn, and that provides unending motivation in my career.”
Congratulations to Kimber Bennett of Woodland Heights in Brownwood ISD for being selected as the Elementary School Counselor of the Year!