MTSU alumna Emily Gill was recently named the Tennessee School Counselor of the Year by the Tennessee School Counselor Association.
“I was kind of in shock,” Gill, a school counselor at Thurman Francis Arts Academy in Smyrna, Tennessee, said of learning she had earned the distinction.
“(It) was a wonderful surprise and a highlight of my professional career.”
Gill, who graduated with a degree in electronic media journalism with a double minor in speech and theatre and business communication in 2004, said her MTSU education gave her strong writing and communication skills.
“This involves a style of writing that is to-the-point, factual and conveys the message you want to send,” said the Marietta, Georgia, native. “I use this skill when I write school counseling lesson plans and letters home to parents and guardians.”
Gill also highlighted the speaking skills that aid her in the multiple presentations she gives to parents and educators — including as a presenter at the MTSU Center for Educational Media’s recent School Counselor Collaborative training — and said the Women in Literature course helped her grow into her leadership potential.
Gill has been able to work closely with her alma mater after graduation thanks to employer Rutherford County Schools’ partnership with the university.
“I have enjoyed walking on campus with my husband and our two kids. Our 13-year-old daughter says she wants to attend MTSU,” she said. “Also, I met my husband while we were both undergrad students at MTSU! (And) I … have to mention that MTSU is in my blood. My great-grandmother … graduated from the Teachers College in the early 1900s.”
Though she earned her school counseling degree at Clemson University in Clemson, South Carolina, Gill did take a counseling course during her time at MTSU and said she would recommend MTSU’s School Counseling Program to others.
“Many of my co-counselors attended MTSU, and they are phenomenal school counselors,” she said. “The MTSU program provides excellent coursework and connects graduate students with internship placements in both clinical and school-based counseling that lead to job offers.”
Gill said that she would not have earned the title without the support of Amy Baltimore, the K-5 counseling supervisor for Rutherford County Schools who will be teaching at MTSU this fall as an adjunct professor.
“I have seen the work Emily has been doing in school counseling and recognized it as exemplary,” said Baltimore, who encouraged Gill to apply for the recognition. “I am extremely proud that she has been recognized as the Tennessee State Counselor of the Year!”
In Baltimore’s role as a counselor coordinator for RCS, she has seen that MTSU school counseling graduates are well-versed in the standard school counseling model and benchmarks.
“They are ready to build comprehensive programs that meet student needs on all levels and in multiple domains,” Baltimore said. “RCS is grateful to MTSU for the partnership we have to serve as site supervisors for student internships and to provide opportunities for job placement.”
Baltimore said she looks forward to her teaching adjunct role on the Blue Raider campus this fall, allowing her to keep her finger on the pulse of the perspectives and experiences of the next generation of school counseling professionals in Middle Tennessee.
To learn more about MTSU’s School Counseling program, visit the website at www.mtsu.edu/edu_leadership/professional_counseling/programs.php. To learn more about the opportunities at MTSU’s College of Education, visit its website at www.mtsu.edu/education.
— Stephanie Wagner (Stephanie.Wagner@mtsu.edu)