Samantha Vidal MSC ’08 was honored in Washington, D.C., the week of January 25 for being one of the six nationalist finalists for the 2016 School Counselor of the Year Award.
The ceremonies, which included recognition from First Lady Michelle Obama, were timed to coincide with National School Counseling Week, February 1-5.
“Being selected as a finalist has been an unbelievable and surprising honor,” Vidal said. “I know so many amazing school counselors who go above and beyond for their students every day and do not get the recognition they deserve. It is an amazing feeling to be honored by my peers, ASCA (American School Counselor Association), and The First Lady.”
Vidal has worked at Creekside Elementary School for seven years. Previously, she worked at the high school level at an urban, parochial school and also briefly as a part time elementary school counselor in an urban setting in Indianapolis. She was previously recognized as the 2014 Indiana Elementary School Counselor of the Year by the Indiana School Counselor Association (ISCA) and served as ISCA’s President 2013–2014.
Vidal received her B.A. in Zoology from Miami University (Ohio) and her Master’s in School Counseling from Butler University. Vidal and her husband, Rory, have an infant daughter, Annie.
“I would not be in this position without the guidance and support of the professors at Butler University,” she said. “Their program and preparation for PSCs is unmatched. Not only that, their professors’ involvement in Indiana School Counselor Association, American School Counselor Association, and advocacy efforts have opened so many doors for me. I am forever grateful!”
Brandie M. Oliver, Assistant Professor of School Counseling at Butler and Past President of the Indiana School Counselor Association, was in Washington to see Vidal honored. She said Vidal “lives and breathes her role as a school counselor and works diligently to meet the needs of all of her students.”
At Creekside Elementary School, Vidal worked collaboratively with her staff, parents, community, and administrators to develop a comprehensive school counseling program that has received both the Gold Star School Counseling Award and the RAMP (Recognized American School Counselor Association) Model Program Award.
“Because of her comprehensive program that focuses on college/career readiness, academic success, and social/emotional development, Samantha is able to deliver classroom lessons, facilitate small groups, and counsel students individually that all work to meet the goals of her program,” Oliver said. “It is so exciting that she was selected as a national finalist. This opportunity has allowed her a platform to share the importance of elementary school counseling.”