By Alicia Ceccarelli
Three school counselors from Coral Springs and Parkland were named by Broward County Public Schools and became nominees on the state level as well.
Rachel Kusher, from Marjory Stoneman Douglas, Rachel Kusher, went on to become the only finalist for the Florida School Counselor Association, Counselor of the Year Award on November 5.
Kusher grew up in Plantation, lives in Parkland, and has been a school counselor for 15 years.
“I just love connecting with students,” she said. “Students having somebody in the school building that they can go to with any sort of issue is key to their success…I try to be that for my students throughout the years.”
Kusher believes a part of the reason for her nomination for outstanding work in counseling was having the type of sustained passion that differentiates a job from a vocation.
“I feel like I don’t go to work; I love my job, I always have,” she said.
School counselors Christine Wilson, of Westglades Middle, and Nicole Tufo, of Park Springs Elementary, won Broward County Public Schools Counselor of the Year awards as well, along with their nominations from the Florida School Counselor Association.
Wilson was raised in England, attended the University of London, and has worked as a counselor in elementary, middle, and high schools. Also, she worked at the International School of Aruba before moving to the US. She said working with international students has prepared her to deal with a spectrum of students’ needs because she’s worked with parents and students from diverse backgrounds.
Since she started in 1996 as a school counselor, Wilson has enjoyed the lasting influence she has made on her students’ lives. Her greatest joy is working alongside former students who have become teachers after graduating from college. Currently, she works with seventh-graders at Westglades Middle.
Tufo is a graduate of Coral Springs High School and has been a school counselor for 18 years. She enjoys participating in the car line and cafeteria because it allows her to greet students and assess their emotional needs.
“That way, I can spot a friend whose coming in who’s sad or looks upset, and I know I can check in with them later and see if they’re okay.”
Tufo commends her supportive team at the school for helping her in her solo role with over 1,000 students at Park Springs Elementary.
After being nominated and completing a series of questions regarding students’ academic success, career development, and personal and social-emotional success, candidates were chosen.
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