Kara Hahn, the school counselor at Jefferson Elementary in North Platte, has been named the 2023 Nebraska school counselor of the year.

That honor was announced at a formal dinner at the Embassy Suites in Lincoln.

The dinner recognized six outstanding school counselors from across the state in a room filled with family, friends, and dignitaries.

Hahn was introduced to attendees prior to the meal as a finalist for the award, along with two counselors from the Omaha area.

Hahn successfully implemented a comprehensive school counseling program based on the American School Counselor Association national model.

Her application stood out for her use of data to identify students who were at-risk. She implemented small groups that addressed topics such as appropriate student behavior, positive mindset, resiliency and emotional regulation to help students succeed both academically and behaviorally.

Hahn’s success during the 2021-22 school led her to continue the same interventions this school year.

She will represent Nebraska at a national school counselor association’s gala next February in Washington, D.C.

The state association presented a $500 stipend to cover expenses not covered by the American School Counselor Association to attend the national gathering.

School Supt. Todd Rhodes said Hahn an invaluable team member.

“Mrs. Hahn exemplifies character with a student-centered approach to educational principals,” he said. “Mrs. Hahn shares a caring attitude with everyone she interacts with. She is never afraid to step in and assist when others are in need.”

School counselors work with all K-12 students to support academic achievement, career planning and readiness, and social-emotional development, the association said in the announcement.

School counselors do this by implementing a comprehensive program that is data driven, with a goal based on the needs of the school and includes a plan to close the achievement gap, with input from stakeholders from the community, school staff, and students.

School counselors deliver their services through classroom instruction, small group intervention and individual counseling, the association said.

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