Michele Dowd of Etowah High School was named the 2017 Cherokee County Counselor of the Year Friday morning in front of an assembly of cheering students. Dowd has been school counselor at Etowah since July 2014.
“I am so proud today to recognize one of Etowah’s finest who has been selected as the 2017 Cherokee County School District Counselor of the Year, Michele Dowd,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian Hightower announced to the students and teachers.
Dowd said she was surprised by the honor and thankful for those who stand behind her success.
“Thank you so much, I am so humbled by this. I am really speechless. I just want to say that this is an awesome school with awesome students and I work with truly amazing people. Thank you so very much,” she said. “I also want to say thank you to my supportive family, who supports me a lot when I work late — I appreciate that.”
Etowah High School interim Principal Dr. Bob Eddy recognized Dowd for her excellent work as a school counselor.
“I haven’t been here long, but it hasn’t taken me long to figure out what an amazing counseling staff we have here at Etowah and all the great things they do for you and the teachers here at Etowah,” he said at the assembly. “To be able to recognize Michele and the wonderful job that she does here is a great honor. I am happy to be a part of that and we congratulate you Michele and the great job that you do. Thank you.”
Dowd is Georgia Educator Certified in Georgia Professional Standards Commission School Counseling for prekindergarten through grade 12. She received her bachelor of science in psychology from Kennesaw State University in 1999 and her masters of science in continuing education, school guidance and counseling from the University of West Alabama in 2010.
She began her career in 2008 as a pre-K assistant at Dogwood Hills Academy in Canton, where she served until 2013.At the same time in 2009, she became a counseling intern for K-12 at Avery Elementary School.
Dowd then became a substitute teacher for the Cherokee County School District in 2013, school counselor at Polaris Evening Program in 2014 and finally Etowah’s school counselor in 2014.
“I was not expecting this at all. I am very honored and humbled. All the counselors in Cherokee County are amazing. This is quite an honor. It is really special for me because this is my alma mater, this is where I went to school,” she said.
Since joining Etowah’s team, Dowd has been instrumental in facilitating the AP Program as coordinator, coordinating meetings and homework as Hospital Homebound coordinator, intervening in individual student crisis management and aiding students in post high school planning and college recommendations.
She also facilitates and created the Junior Parent Night Presentation, coordinates summer school scholarships with UNG Summer Honors Program and maintains HOPE rigor and GPA reports as Hope Upload coordinator.
“I love feeling like I am making a difference in kids’ lives. The kids that come in and don’t have a plan, don’t know what they are doing or those that just need assistance — I feel like I have been able to help them or reach a family, it is a good feeling,” Dowd said.
Dowd created and established an initiative called “Counselor Corner” during the school’s Teachers as Advisors program, where she creates weekly lessons to show each grade level including counselor introductions, study skills and stress management. Through this she has also been able to highlight important weeks such as Red Ribbon Week, Anti-Bullying Week and Suicide Prevention Week.
“I am so thankful. Etowah High School is a special place and the people that work here are special and you can feel that when you walk in, it is a great team and the kids are awesome. I am really surprised and it has been really sweet, a lot of people showed up to support me so it has been special,” she said.