Hillsborough school counselor recognized by county

Lisa M. Antunes (left) Assistant Superintendent of Schools, stands alongside Jessica Smedley (right) in honor of her recognition from Somerset County. Submitted photo
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Lisa M. Antunes (left) Assistant Superintendent of Schools, stands alongside Jessica Smedley (right) in honor of her recognition from Somerset County. Submitted photo

Jessica Smedley, the Director of Guidance of Hillsborough Township Public Schools, was named the Somerset County School Counselor of the Year 2019 by the Somerset County School Counselor Association.

The purpose of the award is to recognize school counselors for their achievements as well as for outstanding service to their school communities.

School counselors are nominated for this honor by their colleagues and selected by the Somerset County Counselor Association members.

“Jessica’s unwavering commitment to student advocacy is the focus of her work,” said Lisa M. Antunes, Assistant Superintendent of Hillsborough Township Public Schools. “She never fails to communicate a clear vision of opportunity and excellence for all students while collaboratively identifying needs, determining priorities, and assessing programmatic implementation.

“Jessica’s work centers around the importance of maintaining a healthy and appropriately balanced student life along with increased student learning and program effectiveness. During her short tenure with Hillsborough, Jessica continues to exceed these expectations and we are honored to call her a colleague,” Antunes said.

Each New Jersey county school counselor association selects a Counselor of the Year and that award recipient’s application is then forwarded to the New Jersey School Counselor Association to be considered for the New Jersey School Counselor of the Year 2020.

Each county applicant is selected for this honor based on their ability to implement a comprehensive, data-driven school counseling program, deliver an effective program that supports students’ career, personal/social, and academic development, demonstrate leadership and collaboration with colleagues and stakeholders, promote equity and access opportunities to support all students, and continue to expand their knowledge through professional development and advocacy.

Smedley joined Hillsborough Township Public Schools in August 2016 as the District’s Director of Guidance. Since joining the school district, Smedley has advocated for the expansion of the school counseling department, revamped the school counseling department program, and applied innovative ideas to involve school counselors in the district’s equity and access goals.

Smedley was honored by the NJSCA as the Somerset County School Counselor of the Year at the organization’s March meeting at The College of New Jersey in Ewing.