K-M counselor ‘humbled’ by regional award
Kasson-Mantorville High School counselor Shelly Bielen has received the Southeast Minnesota School Counselor Association’s award for Secondary School Counselor of the Year.
She was recognized at the SEMSCA awards banquet on April 11. SEMSCA is a regional division of the Minnesota School Counselors Association. It provides opportunities for professional development and networking to members.
Bielen was nominated by fellow K-M counselor Karen Besch, and received letters of support from counselor Alyssa Trow and principal Trent Langemo.
“I think it’s very humbling, and I’m very thankful for the recognition,” she said. “It’s great to be recognized. I love what I do and I love working with the kids and helping them plan for their future, and working with our staff. It’s nice to just be recognized for what you do on an every day basis.”
Bielen has been a school counselor for 17 years, including 14 at K-M.
She works mostly with juniors and seniors, assisting with academic and social/emotional needs, and career and college readiness, and ensuring the students are on track for graduation.
“I just love working with the kids every day,” she said. “I like it when we’ve been working with them for a couple of years on their plans for after graduation, and you can kind of see that come full circle. And they’re either going off to college or work or military, and they’re doing what they’ve talked about for the last one to two years. It’s fun to help them be productive citizens.”
Trow said Bielen is a good resource for students who need information to apply for colleges, seek scholarship opportunities, and form post-high school plans.
Bielen promotes mental health awareness, and helped plan a Mental Health Awareness month at K-M.
She also coordinates the master schedule and student scheduling/registration; helps students understand National Collegiate Athletic Association regulations and requirements; plans and coordinates the junior and senior advisory program (which includes lessons which support students’ personal, social, emotional, academic and career development); sits on several committees and teams; helps plan and coordinate the Senior Scholarship and Award night; and coordinates Advanced Placement Testing and ACT preparation classes.
She is highly organized, a strong leader, and a team-player, Trow said, and embraces all her responsibilities with enthusiasm and dedication.
“I am amazed at Shelly’s ability to meet the demands of her position and still take on new ideas and programming with confidence and excitement,” she said.
Besch said Bielen “is committed to advocating for every student, promoting high academic achievement and supporting student mental health.”
“Every decision that Shelly makes is made with integrity and based on student needs,” she said.
Langemo said Bielen is a leader with unequaled knowledge of school counseling and leadership.
He said she brings energy, passion, positivity, relationships, learning, and innovation to the job.
“Shelly challenges the status quo in her quest to do what is best for students,” Langemo said. “She believes deeply in the transformational role the high school experience should play in a student’s life.”