“I have worked with Laurel Swanson for 12 years; 6 years as fellow classroom teachers and 6 years with her in the role of the school counselor. Laurel builds relationships with students, parents and staff that make people smile and feel seen. She cares about people and works towards building a school community in which all members are advocates for the betterment of humankind.
I was a Pre-K teacher when Laurel began working as a Kindergarten teacher. She was the best first year teacher that I have seen in 14 years as a teacher. Laurel was confident, insightful, willing to ask experienced teachers for advice, and highly effective. Later Laurel and I both taught 2nd grade together for one year. On the first day of school and in my opinion the busiest day of the school year, Laurel walked into my room at plan time in the middle of the day to say how excited she was to teach with me and looked forward to working with me.
As a school counselor, Laurel made an immediate and lasting notable impact on Steed Elementary. She knows students’ names, their families, and backgrounds. Laurel instructs students in character education and doesn’t require or request the classroom teacher to be present. Laurel is present at sporting events, school programs, and family involvement nights. She knows these events are important times to build relationships with family members as well as to show students that she cares.
Most insightful, Laurel knows that she can’t do her job effectively alone. She conveys knowledge she gains to Steed Elementary staff through staff meetings, emails, recommending professional development books and by conducting a book study. Prior to Laurel becoming the school counselor, I was never able to get assistance from prior school counselors to work with me and a student. Laurel wants to help kids and teachers and makes it a priority to be available. When I am at an impasse with a student, I go to Laurel. She has an uncanny ability to ask questions that I never thought of, reminds me of information that I forgot, and navigates all of us through a series of emotional difficulties that usually leaves me holding my breath with worry, but relieved as we all end up better.”