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Washington State Counselor of the Year
Washington State Counselor of the Year is from Puyallup Schools!
Posted on 03/26/2019
Washington State Counselor of the Year is from Puyallup Schools!

Woodland Elementary Counselor Nita Hill has been named Washington State School Counselor of the Year. She was notified of her selection during National School Counseling Week.

Hill was honored in front of her peers during the annual Washington School Counselor Association Conference in February, and at the Puyallup School Board meeting on March 18.

She began her counseling career in the Bethel School District, before moving to Puyallup five years ago. “I was so excited about the work that the counseling team was doing here, I started keeping my eye out for an opportunity to make a move,” says Hill. She worked at Zeiger and Waller Road elementary schools before transitioning to full-time at Woodland.

Counselor of the YearWoodland Elementary Principal Heather McMullen describes her as a school counselor who demonstrates professionalism and innovation. She plans and facilitates professional development for the district counselors and works with them to develop professional goals together.

“Nita has a lengthy, rich resume. She is a warm, caring, energetic person, and she brings enthusiasm to the role and to our school,” says McMullen.

A school counselor for more than 20 years, Hill has served as part of the American School Counselor Association National Model training team. The ASCA model is a framework for organizing work as a school counselor and using data to inform interventions and the impact of interventions. According to Hill, it is about being able to answer the question, “How are students different as a result of their time with the School Counselor.” The mission and vision should be connected to the bigger mission of the school and district. 

“Not all work with students can be measured in tangible things like attendance, achievement, or behavioral data, but when we can it’s important to measure and reflect on the effectiveness of an intervention,” she says.

CounselorHill serves as the elementary counseling coordinator for the district. She also supports counselors statewide as advocacy chair for the Washington School Counselor Association. She was among the first school counselors to become national board certified in our state and Woodland Elementary School was recently recognized as the first Recognized ASCA Model Program Elementary School in the state of Washington. This work resulted in her nomination and selection as the Washington State School Counselor of the Year.

To be considered for counselor of the year, candidates submit an application that outlines program goals, data form interventions, and other general information. A selection panel reviews the applications and makes a final decision.

Hill will move forward as the Washington state representative to compete for National School Counselor of the Year and will have the opportunity to travel to Washington, D.C. next year.  As a state representative, she will submit an application and a video to the review committee to demonstrates her work in several areas of school counseling. A review team will select six finalists to attend a week-long event that includes interviews and advocacy with elected officials. All candidates are invited to a gala in January 2020, which is headlined by former first lady Michelle Obama who has championed school counselors as a part of her Reach Higher Initiative.

In her spare time Hill likes to hang out with her husband and three sons. They are an outdoor family who like to camp and be active. She also enjoys dance fitness and quality time hanging out with friends, laughing and having fun.

“This has been such a humbling experience, there are so many amazing school counselors in our district and across this state. I feel really honored to get to work with them daily to help our students, and I feel honored and overwhelmed to have been selected for this honor this year,” says Hill.


Nancy French