Counselor Receives Top Recognitions

Hanover Schools Counselor Receives Two Recognitions as Top Counselor
Posted on 04/27/2023
Shannon EdwardsShannon Edwards, the Career Counselor at Atlee High School (AHS), has received two recognitions celebrating her as the Counselor of the Year.

The Virginia School Counselor Association (VSCA) named Edwards the 2023 Secondary School Counselor of the Year. Each year, the Virginia School Counselor Association recognizes an elementary school counselor and a secondary school counselor for their outstanding and exemplary work. Separately, the Potomac and Chesapeake Association for College Admission Counseling (PCACAC) named Edwards as one of its 2023 Counselors of the Year, recognizing her for her impact in the admissions process, advocacy for students and colleagues, innovation in the industry, and more.

“I am deeply honored to have received these recognitions. I feel that it is a reflection of the important and valuable work that our entire school counseling team does each and every day,” said Edwards. “We work hand-in-hand together to support one another and provide opportunities for our students that are meaningful and unique to their specific career goals and interests.”

Karla Allen, HCPS Coordinator of Counseling Services, said she couldn’t think of a better recipient.

“Shannon is the epitome of what it means to be a counselor who advocates, initiates ideas and programs, and leads her career team to the next level,” Allen said. “Under Shannon’s leadership, the career team has implemented new and creative strategies and programs such as career cafes, an online virtual career center for students to utilize during the COVID-19 school closures, a Hanover Career Counseling YouTube channel with thousands of views, and business partnerships that have led to career fairs, career expos, and scholarship and job opportunities for our students.”

Edwards has also been recognized nationally for her work. She received the 2020 Association for Career and Technical Education Counseling and Career Development School Counselor of the Year, an award that recognizes school counselors and career development professionals who demonstrate a commitment to connecting students with opportunities for success while exhibiting innovation in career exploration and development, and advocate for career and technical education as a viable option for all students.

Edwards, a Virginia Tech and Virginia Commonwealth University alumna, has served Hanover County students since 2017. She came to education after a career as a pharmaceutical sales representative. She felt drawn to a job that allowed her to help others, particularly students.

“It is such a blessing to have the opportunity to work with our students and their families every day. I love to help students explore various career fields and determine potential fits for themselves based on their interests, personality traits, skills and preferences. Our students are truly amazing and have very interesting ideas and goals for themselves,” she said. “It is exciting to help them explore career pathways, work-based learning opportunities, and additional career exploration options. I am proud of the work that we do and it is a responsibility that I do not take lightly and thoroughly enjoy.”

She added: “I feel very fortunate to work with such a smart, creative and hard-working career counseling team. Our team works together on a daily basis to develop and provide unique and interesting career opportunities and programs for our students. It is without a doubt a ‘team’ effort and these awards are a reflection of that.”

Edwards received the PCACAC award out of all public school counselors in Delaware, Washington, D.C., Maryland. Virginia, and West Virginia. For the VSCA recognition, Edwards continues Hanover’s success in the association’s awards. A Hanover counselor has won a VSCA award in four of the past five years.

Karen Cole, the school counseling director at Mechanicsville High School, received the Secondary School Counselor of the Year award in 2019. Karla Allen won the 2020 Leadership Award from the VSCA and Josh Hurley, the former school counseling director at Patrick Henry High School, received the Secondary School Counselor of the Year in 2021.
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