5 Best Practices from 3 National School Counselors of the Year

Join CharacterStrong and industry experts as we share "5 Best Practices from 3 National School Counselors of the Year." During the webinar, we'll discuss how to equip school counselors with the tools necessary to leverage systemic change in buildings, districts and states while using National School Counseling Week as a platform for celebrating and advocating for student success.

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Laura Ross


Laura Ross is the lead counselor at Five Forks Middle School in Lawrenceville, Georgia where her focus is connecting with students to connect them to their education. She has been a school counselor for almost 16 years. Laura was an elementary school counselor for 8 years and is in her 8th year as a middle school counselor. She has presented at district, state, and national levels on creating school-wide teacher-student connections, integrating academics into counseling lessons, using technology and data in school counseling, creating counseling lessons with a social justice and equity lens, and more.  Laura’s school counseling blog about creating connections with students at www.theconnectingcounselor.com will be back from hiatus in 2022 along with a brand new YouTube channel.  Laura was the 2020 American School Counselor Association (ASCA) School Counselor of the Year. She serves on the Georgia School Counselor Association (GSCA) Executive Board as President-Elect and is a leader in her school district, Gwinnett County Public Schools, collaborating on committees with focuses on middle school counselor professional development, civic engagement, social-emotional learning, teen lures curriculum, student discipline, and equity. She is also a Counselors for Computing consultant and Girl Talk DEI Committee member.

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Cory Notestine


Dr. Cory Notestine serves as the Executive Director of Student Success and Wellness and most recently served as the Director of Counseling and Wellness for Colorado Springs School District 11. In these roles, Cory has implemented and developed a district-wide Comprehensive Student Support Model that integrates SEL practices, Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS), Restorative Practice with a focus on Trauma Responsive/Trauma Informed classrooms. He currently oversees the work of 504’s, HomelessnessSchool Nurses, Discipline and Attendance, Homebound and Extended Learning, MTSS, Counseling Services, and School-based Mental Health. His work with students has been honored by the North Carolina School Counselor Association, and the Colorado School Counselor Association, as Secondary School Counselor of the Year in 2011 and 2013. The American School Counselor Association along with the White House recognized him as the 2015 National School Counselor of the Year.   Cory has provided instruction and supervision as an Adjunct Instructor in the Counseling and Human Services Department at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs and Counselor Education at Adams State University and has received degrees from the University of Kentucky in Psychology and from Gonzaga University where he completed his Masters in School Counseling. Cory is the Past President of Colorado School Counselor Association and served as the Chair of the Governing Board of Directors for the American School Counselor Association. His passion for creating systemic change and counselor advocacy continues to drive his work in the profession of school counseling and educational leadership.

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Katherine Pastor


Katherine is the American School Counselor’s Association 2016 National School Counselor of the Year. Katherine began serving as the Flagstaff High School (FHS) Counseling Department Chair in the 2008 and Student Government Advisor in 2012. Through a data-driven, comprehensive school counseling program, Katherine and her team have received both state and national recognition. Katherine joined the American School Counselors Association (ASCA) board of directors in 2017 and is an adjunct faculty member at Northern Arizona University’s College of Education where she teaches the next generation of school counselors.

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Emily Rose


Emily Rose is CharacterStrong's Professional Development Specialist. She worked as a School Counselor for 7 years, 6 of which were at a school recognized as a National School of Character. She was recognized for her student-led podcast and newscast.

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