NJEA Secretary-Treasurer Petal Robertson spent Wednesday morning visiting Deptford Middle School to surprise and celebrate the 2023 NJ State School Counselor of the Year, Laura Williams. The event, organized by Gloucester County Education Association (GCEA) and the Deptford Education Association (DEA), was held to honor Williams for having earned statewide recognition for her commitment to students. GCEA President Christine Kosar joined Robertson as she honored Williams for her outstanding work and contributions to the students and staff in Deptford.
During her visit, Robertson praised Williams for her devotion to the well-being of her students and fellow educators. “On behalf of all of NJEA and every student that has ever been in a public school, we know how important counselors are,” said Robertson. “You talk about the importance of how we, as educators, make people feel. And that is the most important part of our work, making sure our children feel safe and good about themselves and their place in the world.”
Robertson further emphasized the vital role that school counselors have in public schools and public education. She praised all counselors for helping students navigate academic and personal challenges.
Still surprised by the unexpected celebration, Williams expressed her gratitude for the recognition and said she was honored to receive the award and proud to represent school counselors across the state. She shared her passion for her work and discussed her commitment to helping students achieve their goals. Williams further discussed that more work needed to be done to help all school counselors address the needs of all students.
The celebration served as a reminder of the positive impact that NJEA members like Laura Williams have on their students, schools and unions. It also highlighted the importance of recognizing and honoring the hard work and dedication of those who work tirelessly to improve the lives of others.