Bell Elementary School counselor Megan McDougal never thought she’d be recognized for doing her job.
But her passion and love for helping students prompted her colleagues and administrators to help get her the recognition she deserved.
Earlier this month, McDougal was named the Nebraska School Counselor Association’s Elementary School Counselor of the Year based on recommendations from colleagues.
“I want those who nominated me and supported me to know how sincerely grateful I feel and deeply humbled I am that they saw something in me that I did not see in myself,” she said.
Counselors honored with the award are selected based on their implementations of a school counselor program that supports students and their learning environment as well as social emotional learning.
When she heard about the award nomination, McDougal said she was shocked, even more so when they announced her as the recipient at the annual NSCA School Counselor Academy luncheon held on Nov. 7.
“I’ve been trying to make sense of this,” she said.
“When I think about all the amazing school counselors across the state of Nebraska and the incredible things they are doing, the tireless efforts they are putting in for some of our most vulnerable and at-risk kiddos, I think that’s why this has all been so overwhelming and deeply humbling because each and every one of them has earned a piece of this award with me.”
McDougal has been a counselor at Bell Elementary since the school opened in 2009.
As each year passes, she enjoys building relationships with those around her.
“It definitely is a job that goes beyond the walls of a school building and so I feel like I have a ginormous family and I think that’s one of the best parts of the job,” she said.
McDougal said she grew up in a family full of educators who were passionate about their careers, which inspired her to take a similar path.
“I wanted to have that and I wanted to emulate that when I grew up,” she said.
What makes her stand out in her profession, McDougal said, is her genuine want to help others. McDougal said she believes students feel she wants to assist with their problems.
But without the support of her school, McDougal said the achievement wouldn’t be possible.
“This is a celebration of us,” she said of her school. “They have not only believed in me, but they have been unwavering in their support of my role as the school counselor.”
When she was presented with her award, McDougal said she thought of all the great role models she’s had along the way.
“I remember thinking this is more of a reflection of all the incredible educators and mental health professionals that I’ve been blessed to have along my life path,” she said.