Several dedicated School District of Palm Beach County employees were celebrated at the Board Meeting on February 21, after receiving awards from the Palm Beach School Counselor Association. The School Counselors of the Year were honored for running top-notch, comprehensive counseling programs at their respective schools. Site-based Administrators of the Year were recognized for empowering counselors to run effective and efficient school counseling programs.
SCHOOL COUNSELORS OF THE YEAR
Thomas Hrebin – Elementary School Counselor of the Year, Pioneer Park Elementary
He has been with the District for more than 20 years, and has worked as an elementary school counselor for more than a decade. He recognized the need for social/emotional support of students, and that’s why he became a school counselor. Having always worked in Title I schools, he’s motivated by student progress and success. Seeing his students achieve their goals and improve socially and academically, empowers him to keep building their self-esteem and setting high expectations for them.
Charlene Beckford – Middle School Counselor of the Year, Crestwood Middle
She has been with the District for almost seven years. She emigrated from England to pursue a career in School Counseling. Prior to that, she worked with students as a Learning Mentor in an inner city school and saw a need for helping students that had deeper social and emotional needs. Given that there was no such program in the UK, she moved to Florida to certify as a School Counselor.
What keeps her going each day is seeing the difference that she makes in the lives of her students. She often meets students who feel that they can’t achieve academic or personal goals. Working with them and seeing how much they blossom is what makes her happy to come to work. She knows that every student can achieve, and she feels privileged to be part of their journey.
Megen Stair – High School Counselor of the Year, Park Vista High
She is in her 18th school year with the District, and she got into school counseling because she wanted to make a difference for students of all levels and backgrounds.
She believes that every student deserves an advocate to help them access their potential and become a successful member of the community. She is grateful for the opportunity to help students develop into outstanding men and women who will go on to impact the world positively.
Cynthia Orsenigo – New Counselor of the Year, Emerald Cove Middle
She is in her first full year with the District, and she has a passion for helping people, which made her profession a natural fit for her. She enjoys the fast-paced, diverse nature of the job, and knowing that she’s making a positive, lasting impact on the lives of her students.
SITE-BASED ADMINISTRATORS OF THE YEAR
Pamela Buckman – Site-Based Elementary School Administrator of the Year, Principal at Pioneer Park Elementary
She has been with the District for more than 20 years and is in her fourth year as Principal. Working in education is something she always wanted to do, given her passion for learning and helping others. What keeps her going each day is her faith, friends, and her family as well as the staff and students at Pioneer Park Elementary who she considers family as well.
Dr. Eugina Smith Feaman – Site-Based Middle School Administrator of the Year, Principal at Emerald Cove Middle
She is a native of West Palm Beach and a product of Palm Beach County schools. She has worked in the District for 19 years, and always wanted to be a teacher given that she’s from a family of educators. As an educator, she sees herself and her peers as their students’ champions for learning. She believes that children must have the knowledge, preparation, and well-rounded social abilities to succeed.
Wilnic Gideon – Site-Based High School Administrator of the Year, Assistant Principal at Santaluces Community High
He has been with the District for six years and it was his childhood experience that inspired his entry into education. He is also a product of Palm Beach County Schools and a first-generation Haitian-American who grew up with a Mom who spoke no English and had a third-grade education.
His humble beginnings presented an obstacle, but he made it through because he had educators and mentors who believed in him and helped him dream big. That made him want to enter the profession, and come back to the District to inspire and motivate the students who keep him going each day.