First Lady Honors OU Alumna Counselor

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WASHINGTON – First Lady Michelle Obama honored the school counselor of the year at the White House, and a counselor very close to home was one of the finalists.

Kris Owen, a counselor from Ridgeview Junior High School in Pickerington, who is also an Ohio University alumna, was recognized for her works at the 9th annual School Counselor of the Year award ceremony. This is the 2nd year the event was held at the White House.

Kris Owen, Ohio University alumna, was one of five finalists at the 2nd annual School Counselor of the Year award ceremony. WOUB photo by Erica King

Owen was one of six finalists and 43 state representatives honored.

Although Owen was not the winner, Obama recognized her by reading a letter one of her students wrote that said, “She loves what she does. It’s not an obligation, it’s an opportunity for her to impact the lives of students. She has changed my life and she has changed so many other lives because she believes in students.”

Owen said her experience was incredible and she was grateful for getting recognized for her works.

“When I got the phone call, I couldn’t even believe it,” Owen said. “It just didn’t seem possible.”

Owen was selected for counselor of the year by the Ohio School Counselor Association, but went further after the OSCA nominated her to win the national title.

Owen helps students academically and socially locally and statewide. She inititiated the butterfly effect at Ridgeview Junior High School for girls.

“This program helps girls as they go through many changes in junior high,” Owens said. “We are working to get a program for boys too.”

Owen is also involved in helping her students prepare for higher education and in their career paths.

“We’re really lucky to have the program Naviance. We work with the kids to try to help them be more college and career ready,” Owens said. “A week ago, we just had college and career family night, something I was working to develop a few years ago, and we ended up getting it district wide.”

Owen received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Ohio University.