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HPS Counselors Recognized

Ken McLemore

HOPE – The school guidance counselor corps of the Hope Public Schools has brought more than two centuries of public education experience to aid the students of the HPS which will be recognized during National School Counseling Week, Feb. 1-5.

Hope Mayor Don Still declared the week of Feb. 1-5 as Arkansas Public Schools Counselor Week in Hope to salute HPS counselors Varonica Kennedy, Kayla Jones (career coach), Hope High School; Joyce Smith, Yerger Middle School; Marilyn Marks, Hope Academy of Public Service; Christi Sullivan, Beryl Henry Elementary School; and Shauntelle Jarvis and Paige Bobo, Clinton Primary School.

The proclamation notes the active commitment of school counselors to help students explore their potential and consider their future while working with teachers and other educators to help students set realistic goals for that journey.

“Comprehensive developmental school counseling programs are considered an integral part of the educational process that enables all students to achieve success in school,” the proclamation states.

Among the seven counselor positions on the five main campuses of the HPS there is a total of 230 years of educational service experience. Of that total, there are 84 years of experience in counseling services specifically. The difference marks the importance of a background in public school classrooms for the HPS counselors.

Native to Washington in Hempstead County, Joyce Smith graduated as valedictorian from Lincoln High School there in 1976 at age 16. With a BSE in special education from Philander Smith College in Little Rock, she taught for 11 years in California, Texas, and Arkansas before taking her MSE in counseling from East Texas State University in Commerce, Texas. Smith is the dean of the counselor corps for the HPS and has served as counselor at Yerger Middle School for 30 years.

Paige Bobo, one of two counselors at Clinton Primary School, has been an educator in the HPS for 30 years. A graduate of Henderson State University in Arkadelphia with a BSE degree and East Texas State University with an MSE degree, Bobo taught at Beryl Henry Elementary School and second grade at CPS before taking on the counseling role at CPS for the past 23 years.

Beryl Henry Elementary School Counselor Christi Sullivan, a Texarkana native, spent nine years in the classroom teaching at Clinton Primary before becoming counselor on that campus, then transferring to BHE for the remainder of her 18 years as a counselor. Sullivan took her BSE and MSE from Henderson State University in Arkadelphia in 1994 and 2001, respectively.

Shauntelle Jarvis, also a counselor at Clinton Primary, is a Hope native and 1994 HHS graduate. She taught second grade at CPS for 10 years before joining the counseling office at CPS for the past six years. Jarvis took both BSE and MSE degrees from Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia.

Marilyn Marks, counselor at Hope Academy of Public Service, has been at HAPS for three years. A native of Chidester in Ouachita County, Marks graduated from Nevada High School in Rosston. She took her BSE in 2002 and an MSE in counseling in 2005 from Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia. Marks taught second grade in Magnolia before teaching sixth grade at Beryl Henry Elementary School. Marks came to HAPS from the counselor’s office at Prescott High School.

Hope High School Counselor Varonica Kennedy taught for six years in the El Dorado Public Schools in first and third grade classes, as well as serving as an activity teacher, technology specialist and reading specialist before becoming a school counselor.

A graduate of Liberty-Eylau High School, and South Arkansas Community College, in El Dorado, where she earned an Associate of Arts degree in education, Kennedy completed her BSE degree at the University of Arkansas – Monticello and her MSE at Southern Arkansas University, in Magnolia, before moving to the Texarkana Independent School District in 2017, where she became a counselor in the Theron Jones Early Literacy Center.

As HHS career coach, Kayla Jones is based in the HHS counseling office where she helps students focus on life after graduation. With a BS degree in Human Services from Henderson State University, Jones taught for a year at Yerger Middle School before moving to the HHS counseling office last year.

“School counselors work with all students to remove barriers to learning by addressing students’ academic concerns, postsecondary options and social/emotional skills,” American School Counselor Association Executive Director Jill Cook said. “School counseling programs help to increase student achievement and provide a much-needed resource for students, parents, teachers and administrators. School counselors are integral to student success.”

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