Carrie Carter, lead counselor of May River High School, has been named Beaufort County School District's 2019 School Counselor of the Year.
In addition to honoring Carter, the district also recognized Bluffton Middle School's Gina Jacobs as Middle School Counselor of the Year, and Coosa Elementary School's Nicole Bossak as Elementary School Counselor of the Year.
The announcements were made at an awards breakfast Feb. 18.
"Effective school counselors are a critically important component in any successful school," said Herb Berg, interim superintendent of the District. "They work closely with students to move them forward academically and socially, and they also work with parents to keep them informed about their children's progress."
Carter said she was "surprised, appreciative and thankful for my team that was here to support me."
"I love seeing kids come back five or 10 years later - once they've gone off and joined the military or gone to school - and see them be successful in life," Carter said.
An 11-year counseling veteran and a National Board-Certified school counselor, Carter worked as a counselor for six years at North Carolina schools and at Beaufort High for two years before leading the staff at May River when it opened in 2016.
May River High Principal Todd Bornscheuer said that after he was selected to be the school's first principal, Carter was the first person he hired.
"There's not a doubt in my mind that her extraordinary work in setting up our school counseling program from scratch has played a major role in our success," Bornscheuer said. A colleague at May River High praised Carter as "phenomenal, caring, professional, knowledgeable, confident and an extremely positive influence on students, parents and everyone on staff at May River High."
The colleague said Carter helps students not only with their academic work in school, but also outside school -from helping them get jobs to helping their families get assistance for housing and food.
Carter's work in creating May River High's counseling program from scratch included visits to other new schools to evaluate their best practices; creating a first-year initiative that assigned every student to an adult who was not a teacher but with whom the student could form a personal and supportive relationship; and developing practical strategies to identify and assist students who were falling behind in their academic work.
Carter has two degrees - a Bachelor's and a Master's in Community Counseling with School Licensure - from Lenoir-Rhyne College.