We’ve known for years that Kirsten Perry, the school counselor at Lawndale Community Academy, is something special. And now that she’s been named Counselor of the Year by the American School Counselors Association, her peers around the country know it too.

An Icon for CPS Counselors

There’s no one more deserving of this honor, as Kirsten’s work has literally touched every counselor in our District. She helped shape how school counselors are evaluated in CPS. She wrote a guide to help her elementary school peers implement Naviance – our tool for getting students on the right track early – and helped us create GoCPS, our new universal application system for high school. Kirsten has also used research data to inform CPS leadership about the role of the school counselor, and what these professionals can do when given the right supports.

At Home at Lawndale Elementary

Kirsten’s District wide impact can make it easy to forget how much she’s accomplished at her home school. As a member of Lawndale’s instructional leadership team, she has taken the lead on all issues related to attendance, social-emotional learning, and Multi-Tiered Systems of Support, and the results have been staggering.

Behavioral infractions are down 88 percent in the past two years. Absences among students who were chronically missing school have dropped by 61 percent. Parent engagement has improved, attendance numbers are up, and thanks to a restorative justice program piloted by Kirsten, there has been a significant improvement in school culture and climate.

A Lifelong Learner

What’s most impressive about Kirsten is her refusal to stop learning. She attends conferences, reads the latest literature, and actively seeks out professional development opportunities, then shares her knowledge with her colleagues.

Kirsten is as interested in helping her colleagues improve their practice as she is in advancing her own career. So she works as a mentor to other counselors. She keynotes CPS conferences, and gives trainings on everything from college and career readiness to behavior and attendance interventions.

A Tireless Advocate for Chicago’s Youth

CPS congratulates Kirsten Perry on being named the ASCA’s Counselor of the Year. She represents the best of what our District has to offer. She’s a collaborator, an innovator, and a tireless advocate for the children of Chicago.