Garden City Elementary’s counselor, Rachel Lund, recently received the Minnesota Elementary Counselor of the Year Award from the Minnesota School Counselor Association (MSCA) at their annual conference.
Lund has been a school counselor for nine years, with the past six years spent at Garden City. She said she decided to enter this career field because mental health has always been really important to her.
“Being able to listen and problem solve and support people has always been at the core of who I am,” she said.
In college, she realized how much she enjoyed working in schools and being around kids, especially at the elementary level.
“Elementary school counseling is really exciting because we get to do a combination of proactive work and being reactive to their needs in situations where they are having a hard time responding,” Lund said. “We have a nice balance of that at the elementary school setting, where we can help them learn how to have positive interactions with others and manage their emotions.”
Garden City principal, David Branch, said Lund has solidified a counseling and SEL program that supports both students and teachers at the school. She comes into classrooms weekly to model that week’s SEL strategy, helps set the school’s culture and climate with her leadership roles, and collaborates with teachers to facilitate staff development and talk through challenges.
“Rachel Lund is an exemplary school counselor,” Branch said. “She is a compassionate counselor, friend, and consistently leads with equity in mind. This shows up in her lessons, communication and collaboration.”
When she received the Elementary Counselor of the Year award, Lund said she felt very humbled and surprised.
“I’m definitely proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish as a school at Garden City with our social-emotional learning (SEL) program, but I didn’t expect to get statewide recognition,” she said. “It’s surprising, humbling, and it energizes me to keep doing the work.”