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Chicago Public Schools Counselor Honored as 2023 Illinois School Counselor of the Year

31 May 2023

Hibbard Elementary Counselor Earns Prestigious Award from Illinois School Counselor Association

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CHICAGO – A Chicago Public Schools (CPS) school counselor from Hibbard Elementary School has been named the 2023 Illinois School Counselor of the Year by the Illinois School Counselor Association (ISCA). Lisa Delgadillo, a nine-year school counselor who currently serves Hibbard Elementary School students, was surprised with the award during a ceremony Wednesday at the school. The ISCA School Counselor of the Year award recognizes full-time school counselors who have demonstrated leadership, collaborated and built relationships with all members of the school community, and advocated for the school counseling profession.

“I’m proud of the work our school counselors do every day to support the mental, physical, social and academic needs of our students,” said CPS CEO Pedro Martinez. “Lisa exemplifies what it means to be a high-quality school counselor and she serves as a model for counselors across the District and throughout the state. Congratulations to Lisa on her outstanding accomplishment and thank you for your continued service to our students.”

Each year, ISCA selects at least one school counselor to represent the state as the School Counselor of the Year. Individuals are nominated by ISCA members and reviewed by the ISCA Awards Selection Committee. Finalists are then required to submit an application before a winner is selected. This year, Lisa Delgadillo is the only School Counselor of the Year recipient in the state. Last year, two counselors were selected as joint School Counselors of the Year, including CPS school counselor Nancy Fernandez of Brighton Park Elementary.

Illinois has a long history of selecting from the very best of school counselors for this honor. In 2019, Brian Coleman, Counseling Department Chair at Jones College Prep was selected as the Illinois School Counselor of the Year and then went on to be selected as the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) of the Year by ASCA. In 2018, Kirsten Perry, from CPS was also chosen as ISCA School Counselor of the Year and then as the ASCA School Counselor of the Year. ISCA is committed to recognizing best practice in the field of school counselor by recognizing school counselors, administrators, graduate students, counselor educators and other key contributors to the success of ISCA.

“Lisa represents the very best in school counseling!” said Dr. Vince Walsh-Rock, executive director of ISCA. “She sets an amazing example for all school counselors and I am proud to name her this year’s Illinois School Counselor of the Year.”

Since joining Hibbard Elementary in 2021, Delgadillo immediately demonstrated her leadership and ability to build relationships within and outside the school community. Delgadillo has led numerous professional development sessions for Hibbard teachers, including trainings on how to implement Calm Classroom to mediate and de-escalate disputes and disruptive behaviors. She has also led outreach to families, working with students and family members to find resources they need outside the classroom, including clothing, living essentials and therapy resources. Prior to joining Hibbard, Delgadillo was a school counselor at Nobel Elementary School where she partnered with Communities in Schools, a national organization dedicated to connecting schools with community resources to help students succeed in school and after graduation.

In addition to her duties as a school counselor at Hibbard, Delgadillo is also the Model Counselor for CPS Network 1. In this role, she serves at the point of contact for counselors throughout the Network and provides colleagues with feedback and support through model counseling sessions to address common questions and challenges.

“Across the District, school counselors make an important contribution to our students’ ongoing success both in and outside the classroom,” said Dr. Heidi Truax, CPS executive director of School Counseling and Postsecondary Advising. “Investing in school counselors is an investment in our students and I am proud of the work CPS leadership has done to increase the number of school counselors in our schools so that we can support the diverse needs of our students.”

Since 2021, CPS has invested more than $10 million to hire additional school counselors in the District’s highest-need schools. The historic investment allowed for the hiring of 123 additional school counselors over the past two years.

This year, CPS received a $15 million School-Based Mental Health Services Grant from the U.S. Department of Education to support the recruitment and retention of school counselors and other related service providers in the District’s schools. The District plans to use the funds to help school counselors pursue professional development and additional certification as well as to provide stipends for counseling interns and support other programs focused on the recruitment and retention of high-quality school counselors.