National School Counseling Week Spotlight: Karen Livingston
Karen Livingston serves as school counselor for grades 10-12 at Marion Junior-Senior High School.
In honor of National School Counselor Week, which concludes on Feb. 5, let's get to know Mrs. Livingston a little bit better.
Name: Karen Livingston.
Years at Marion: Five
Years as school counselor: 8.5 years of paid positions. Prior to Marion, I spent two years at Union Springs Middle School, one year at Ticonderoga High School and half a year at Perry High School. I also interned for half a year at Wayland-Cohocton Middle School and interned for a year at West Seneca West Senior High School near Buffalo.
College education (undergrad/graduate): I earned my undergraduate degree from SUNY Geneseo, where I majored in accounting and minored in economics. I did my grauate work at the University at Buffalo, where I earned my M.Ed. in 2011 and Certificate of Advanced Studies in 2012.
Hometown: Honeoye Falls.
I became a school counselor because: I wanted to help students discover their passions and identify their career pathway. Prior to becoming a school counselor, I worked at a public accounting firm as an auditor. I took on a leadership role as the Diversity Team Leader with the encouragement of a colleague (and ironically, a Marion graduate). In this role, I created a program called College, Accounting, and You where we teamed up with Rochester Institute of Technology and the Rochester City School District to introduce the accounting profession and various aspects of college to high school students. I will never forget the last day of the program when a student said as they were getting a tour of our office building, “I want to be an accountant and work here some day!” As I was developing this program, I realized that I didn’t want to do my actual job as an auditor and after a lot of research and job shadowing, I identified school counseling as the right next step for me.
The most rewarding part of my job is: I love when I witness a student having an “a-ha” moment. Students grow in so many aspects of their life and learn so much about themselves in the four years they are in high school. The most rewarding part of being a school counselor is when a student discovers their passions and how they can turn those passions into careers. Or when a student finally figures out what works for them with studying or organizing to be successful in their classes. Or even just the simple feat of asking for help. It’s not easy to ask for help, but we all need it and it’s an important skill to learn how to ask for help.
One thing most people don’t know about my job is: The role of a school counselor has changed so much over the last 20 years. We don’t just create and change schedules. Scheduling isn’t even taught in college! We wear so many hats every day, from academic advisor to career counselor to crisis responder. Our number one role is to advocate for the needs of our students within those three domains of academic, career, and social/emotional, despite those needs not always lining up with what the student wants. As an advocate, we collaborate with numerous people, including other school staff, parents, and outside agencies to ensure a student’s needs are met. We are just one of the many important people in a student’s village of support.
In my spare time, I like to:
- Run, bike, hike (be active outside)
- Read (Currently reading My Dear Hamilton)
- Spend time with my son, Malcolm, who is 18 months old.
Karen Livingston can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (315) 926-4228 (ext. 3121). You can also follow her on Twitter @mcsdcounseling or visit her virtual counseling office.
CLICK HERE to learn more about elementary counselor Abby Cantello
CLICK HERE to learn more about grade 7-9 counselor Emily Johnson