Washington School Counselor Association named Garrison Middle School Counselor Angela Gardea the School Counselor of the Year for 2016. Each year school counselors are nominated by their peers based on their high standards of personal conduct, their demonstrated leadership, advocacy and collaboration, according to award criteria on the Washington School Counselor Association webpage.
“I am so honored to be nominated and selected for this award,” Gardea said. “I truly feel lucky to love what I do. Everything I have been able to accomplish during my 18 years with the Walla Walla Public Schools has been due to the support I have received from my family as well as from the staff, community members and families in the Walla Walla Valley.”
WSCA's School Counselor of the Year program honors the best of the best in Washington State, accordingBrianne LaVerdiere, who oversees the award program. She said the program is seeking to recognize school counselors who are running a top-notch, comprehensive school counseling program at either the elementary, middle or high school level. The winner will be nominated by the state association for consideration in the ASCA School Counselor of the Year program.
“Angela Gardea has demonstrated consistent and reliable contributions in all areas of service, scholarship and teaching throughout her career,” said LaVerdiere. “We are excited to spread the word about this amazing accomplishment.”
Gardea began her career with Walla Walla Public Schools in 1999 as teacher at Pioneer Middle School. She transitioned to school counselor in 2007, first at Pioneer Middle School and most recently at Garrison Middle School. She has also held a Learning Specialist position at Berney Elementary and coordinated the Pioneer Middle School Learning Assistance Program during her 18 year tenure with the school district. Gardea is also the district’s Crisis Recovery and Threat Assessment Coordinator and serves on the district’s Safe and Civil Schools Committee. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Education and Teaching Certificate from Eastern Washington University. She went on to secure a Masters in Education and Counseling Certificate from Walla Walla University and a continuing Counseling Certificate from Whitworth University.
“Mrs. Gardea's incredible efforts, both at Garrison Middle School as well as her critical leadership role in district-wide suicide prevention and response, has positively influenced countless students and families across our district,” said Superintendent Wade Smith. “I cannot think of a more dedicated, passionate, and deserving person to receive such incredible recognition.”
Garrison Middle School Principal Robert Elizondo says Gardea is a valued leader at Garrison Middle School with students, staff and parents. He praises her strong verbal and written skills and ability to organize multiple projects with a keen attention to detail.
“She has invested countless hours with students, families, Walla Walla Public Schools and our community,” said Elizondo. “She is selfless, accommodating and always takes the opportunity to help others.”
Angela will be recognized at the WSCA annual conference in March.