The Spring ISD Board of Trustees this week presented a special Spring ISD Point of Pride award to Westfield High School College Counselor Dr. Clara Lauderdale, who was named a Counselor of the Year finalist for 2020 by the National Society of High School Scholars (NSHSS). Each year, NSHSS recognizes teachers, principals, counselors, and coaches across the country for excellence in and out of the classroom as part of its Educators of the Year award program.
According to a statement from NSHSS, the awards “are presented to exemplary educators who have demonstrated an outstanding and noteworthy commitment to preparing their students for success inside and outside of the classroom. They are role models who consistently demonstrate stellar leadership.”
To be eligible for the Educators of the Year award program, candidates must be an NSHSS Educator of Distinction – an award that Lauderdale received in 2019 – and must currently be working within a public or private high school in the United States or abroad. Each year, NSHSS selects one winner and several finalists in each of five categories: Principal of the Year, Counselor of the Year, Teacher of the Year, Band/Music Leader of the Year, and Coach of the Year. For 2020, the group selected one national Counselor of the Year and only two finalists, including Lauderdale.
“She has served in education for over 26 years,” Spring ISD Director of Academic Guidance and Counseling Dr. Crystal Collins told trustees during this week’s board presentation. “She considers it an honor to empower students to reach their goals, while believing that they can achieve when they believe.”
Lauderdale said she was honored to be recognized and was grateful that her work gives her the opportunity to use her passion for education to help students achieve their goals and dreams.
“I just want to say that I truly enjoy what I do in Spring ISD, to touch the lives of so many people,” said Lauderdale, adding her thanks to Westfield Principal David Mason and all of the school’s administrators and counseling staff. “It’s just not something that I could do alone. Absolutely we work as a unit, as partners in education, so this recognition wouldn’t be possible if I didn’t have my Spring ISD team.”
Members of the board, several of whom are current or former Westfield parents, also praised Lauderdale for her many years of committed effort on behalf of her students.
“You know, Dr. Lauderdale, how proud the board is of you and all of the outstanding work that you do at Westfield for our students,” said Board of Trustees President Rhonda Newhouse. “I think you’re a leader for all of our counselors in college readiness.”
Trustee Justine Durant, parent of a Westfield graduate, pointed out how Lauderdale’s leadership was apparent in the development of the school’s college counseling services.
“As a parent of a former Westfield student, it has been a pleasure to watch how you have expanded, grown and developed that program and touched so many of our students’ lives,” Durant said. “You’ve gone above and beyond, with the level of scholarships and counseling support that they’re receiving under your leadership, and I just want to tell you, thank you, thank you, thank you!”
Founded in 2002, NSHSS works to support students on their journey to college and beyond as they prepare to become successful leaders in their communities and in the world. Co-founded by the great-nephew of Alfred Nobel, NSHSS is inspired by the mission of the Nobel Prize to support academic achievement and world betterment. The group pursues this mission by connecting its student members with scholarships, college fairs, internships, career and leadership opportunities, and more.