Superintendent, Dr. Debbie Howell, is pleased to announce that Mrs. Pam Gutzwiller, Laurel School Counselor, has been selected as January’s “Educator of the Month”. Mrs. Gutzwiller has been providing services for the students and families of Franklin County for 28 years.
Mrs. Gutzwiller graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Indiana University and a Master’s from Ball State. Upon receiving her School Counseling License, she was hired as the “Home-School Advisor” for the school corporation. During her time as the Home-School Advisor she worked in all buildings except the high school. She then became the corporation’s “At-Risk Counselor” and was later named School Counselor at Laurel. During her tenure at Laurel School she has forged lifelong relationships with many of the students and their families.
Mrs. Gutzwiller was nominated for this recognition by a parent. The parent accurately noted that Mrs. Gutzwiller puts in very long days to make sure she is there for students, and their parents, whenever they need her. “She makes the students feel very welcome in her office.”
In addition to her work at Laurel School, Mrs. Gutzwiller has had a significant impact on the school corporation as a whole. For many years she was the chair of Franklin County’s Red Ribbon Week, a member of the corporation’s Anti-Bullying Committee, Laurel’s Schoolwide Planning Team, and has served on the Child Protection Team.
Mrs. Gutzwiller grew up in Batesville, Indiana, where she still resides with her husband and daughter. There she serves as a Sunday School teacher to preschool and Kindergarten age children at St John’s UCC. In her “free time” she likes to read a good book in front of a fire or on a beach. She also enjoys watching sports and continues to be an avid Hoosier basketball fan.
When asked about the best part of being a school counselor Mrs. Gutzwiller spoke about the relationships she forms with students and their families. “The best part about being a counselor is building significant relationships with students and their families. The multiple grade levels that I work with gives me an amazing opportunity to do just that. Its those “break-through” moments that a counselor cherishes such as finally getting a student to open up enough to trust, helping a student to achieve a personal goal, or helping a student in a very dark and difficult place to come out on the other side and be okay. Some of our students have incredible hardships. I am always inspired by their perseverance and courage! Counselors, as well as teachers, often struggle with whether they are making a difference. The answer may not come right away or even while the student is still in school. It may come 20 years down the road with a note, a phone call, or an in person reunion with a former student. It is in that moment that the student and counselor are both blessed having known one another.”
The purpose of the “Educator of the Month” program is to recognize outstanding Franklin County educators who demonstrate excellence in the classroom, leadership in the school, dedication to the students, and involvement in the community. Nomination forms for “Educator of the Month” can be found on the school corporation website at www.fccsc.k12.in.us.