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White Named MCPS Counselor of the Year

August 13, 2021 -- Mrs. Lori White, of Baldwin Intermediate School (BIS), was named the division’s School Counselor of the Year. As a counselor White works tirelessly on the account of students and strives to build a community of excellence and resilience. She is the definition of a social servant, her peers said, making her a great choice for the honor.

White was surprised with the news Tuesday, August 3, in front of her peers, and city and division leaders. She said she is honored by the recognition, especially given how hard each of the counselors in the division work on behalf of students and their families.SCOY

This is the first year Manassas City Public Schools (MCPS) has named a School Counselor of the Year, an award the division has developed to recognize counselors who go above and beyond their job titles to support students in their academic, career and social/emotional development.

“In addition to performing her job at an exemplary level, Mrs. White demonstrates an extraordinary commitment to her school as well as the broader community,” BIS Principal Amanda Wagner said. “She lives in service to others and I lift her up not only as an incredible school counselor but a truly incredible individual.”

In her role, White said she tries to be an advocate for Baldwin Intermediate students. She loves working with and helping children and knew in high school that she wanted to pursue counseling.

 “I provide classroom counseling lessons, group and individual counseling to support students’ academic needs, social emotional learning and career exploration to assist them in working toward their goals,” White said.

She also assists parents with support, information and resources.

“She is a leader at Baldwin Intermediate School and exemplifies the qualities of a caring, empathetic and understanding school counselor,” said Katie Buffington, a fellow teacher at BIS.

White is dedicated toward creating a positive school environment and is consistently looking for professional development opportunities to better serve students, staff and families, Buffington added.

White has been a counselor for nearly 20 years, the last three of which have been at Baldwin. Her peers describe her as caring, empathetic and humble. White serves students beyond the walls of her office. She is a frequent visitor in the classrooms, where she is an integral component of the “social emotional curriculum,” explained Lauren Gardner, a special education teacher at BIS.

She sponsors the Kindness Club and co-sponsors the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Club. Both programs are intended to empower students to not only be the change they want to see in their school but in the community. She encourages students to create a school culture of positivity and inclusion. White has also initiated a mentoring program for BIS with Osbourn High School students.

“Through the Kindness Club, Diversity Club and mentor program I hope to encourage students to stretch and challenge themselves, to advocate for themselves, to show kindness always and to be their best selves,” she said.

White is optimistic about the 2021-2022 school year and said she is energized seeing how happy students are to be back in the building. After a difficult school year, she said staff is feeling prepared to welcome students into a positive, accepting and safe environment. School staff has undergone training, been provided resources from both the state and division and discussed in length the potential needs of families as they transition to in-person learning, White explained.

“My goals are to offer the space for expression of emotions and concerns, to teach resiliency/coping skills and provide opportunities to empower our Huskies to heal, develop and grow,” she added.

According to Dr. Eric Brent, Executive Director of Student Services, MCPS plans to continue the School Counselor of the Year award annually and intends to expand the program next year to recognize additional support staff.