MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — A high school counselor from Jefferson County has been named the best
of the best.
Washington High School Counselor Jennifer Stuntz was named the West Virginia
High School Counselor of the Year Thursday evening during the West Virginia
School Counselor Association (WVSCA) 2023 annual conference in Morgantown.
Stuntz said being recognized is a career highlight.
“This is all quite surreal,” Stuntz said. “It’s not really about me, it’s about what I am doing for the students
and the school and the community.”
Stuntz is a National Board Certified Counselor and serves as the counseling department chair at WHS.
She has been a counselor for nine years, five of those at WHS. Stuntz said that after a colleague
nominated her, she had to complete a questionnaire. That, she said, made her realize that her relationships
with her students are what impact her most.
“It’s not just about transcript reviews and looking at grades and schedules,” she said. “It’s about building those bonds. Because if I don’t have that, I can’t do the other stuff.”
In a press release from Jefferson County Schools, Stuntz said establishing those relationships is more important than ever, especially following the
pandemic. Student needs have expanded beyond academics and now include significant social-emotional
Stuntz said working with students who face issues like anxiety and depression takes a lot of
collaboration and teamwork. “It’s definitely changed,” she said. “I’ve seen the before and after, and it takes an emotional toll on us
[counselors], so we as a team have had to bond so that we can better serve our students.”
Stuntz said one of her biggest supporters is Jefferson County School Superintendent Dr. Bondy Shay
Gibson-Learn. “This award is for her. There were so many times I wanted to quit, and she encouraged me.
She has been an instrumental leader in what I do, and I cannot thank her enough.”
Each year the WVSCA names one winner from each grade level, elementary, middle, and high. Schools across the state
nominate counselors who compete for the recognition.