Sitting around a table with six of her students, Lee Middle School Counselor Betty Killoran asks them to put together a puzzle, pieces facing down. Students laugh as the puzzle is turned around, showing a mismatched photo of Scooby-Doo.
Then, they try it again, with the pieces facing up, and the group discusses how good communication strategies can help people better understand each other and work collaboratively.
It is this gentle, common sense approach that students like of Killoran, said Maria Baker, an assistant with the counseling office, part of Godfrey-Lee Public Schools. “She’s great working with the kids, helping them. She has this ‘love and logic’ approach that really works for them,” Baker said.
The West Michigan Counseling Association recently recognized Killoran, a counselor at the school for 16 years, as Counselor of the Year.
“It is great to have the feeling that I have made a difference for at least one student or parent or faculty member each day,” she wrote in her acceptance speech. “I have been fortunate to do a job I love at Lee Middle School, working with a caring staff that gives 100 percent for kids and supports my efforts as counselor to help students become more successful.”
In the letter supporting her nomination, Julie Ghareeb, a high school advisor at Godfrey-Lee, said Killoran’s effort to support, not only students but her peers, are recognized at the school.
“Betty is a great team player and gets along with staff easily. Not only is Betty easy to work with, but she always makes sure things are done for the right reasons,” Ghareeb wrote. “She has been a very positive mentor to me and I am so thankful to have someone of her caliber as my colleague.”
Superintendent David Britten agreed in a letter recognizing the award. “It is indeed an honor to have you as a valued member of our Godfrey-Lee team,” he wrote. “It is evident that your counseling peers recognize not only the quality of your work but the commitment you exhibit in your efforts to improve the lives of our students.”
Baker said Killoran’s work is shown in the students she’s helped succeed. “There are some high school students who don’t have her (as their assigned counselor), but still come to her,” Baker said. “She must be doing something right.”