Editor's note: This article features UC Berkeley Extension Honored Instructor Suzy Thomas. It was written by Kathy Pelzer and republished with permission from The California Association of School Counselors, Inc. August Newsletter.
On October 23, Dr. Suzy Thomas will be recognized as California's School Counselor Educator of the Year for 2017. The ceremony will be held during CASC's annual conference in Riverside, California. It is anticipated 1,500 will be in attendance to recognized Dr. Thomas's accomplishments and contributions. Dr. Thomas was chosen to receive this award because of her statewide leadership as a counselor educator, her students' high acclaim of her contributions as an instructor and leader at Saint Mary's College, and as one of the foremost authorities on school counseling action research in California and nationally.
As a university professor, a school counselor, a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, an advocate, a consultant, and a mentor to many, many students, Dr. Thomas has made significant contributions to the profession of school counseling and to the lives of those students she mentored and served. Her innovative teaching practices, leadership, and extensive work in action research has substantially directed best practices in graduate level teaching methodologies and student mentoring programs. She has continued to maintain a focus on up-to-date educational trends as well as on the ASCA tenets of leadership, advocacy, collaboration and systemic change.
Over the years, Dr. Thomas has accumulated a number of honors and awards, including the 2013-2014 Faculty Service Award from Saint Mary's College of California, the H.B. McDaniel Hall of Fame Award, the 2013 Top Education Professors in California, the WACES Outstanding Mentor Award, and the 2007-2008 CASC School Counselor Advocate Award, just to name a few. Dr. Thomas has a long history of promoting the profession of school counseling and actively advocated for the passage of AB 1802, leading the efforts in Northern California during the implementation phase. Dr. Thomas's service to the professional community is extensive and reflects the values and ideals of a consummate counselor educator. She currently serves as an instructor and Advisory Board Member for the College Admissions and Career Planning Certificate at U.C. Berkeley Extension, the Conference Co-Chair of the Northern California CASC/H.B. McDaniel Foundation, the CASC Research Committee Chair, a Board Member and Chair of the H.B. McDaniel Scholarship Subcommittee, and a Working Group Consultant for Action Research Network of the Americas.
While highly regarded by the professional community, Dr. Thomas's legacy is best summarized by a former, grateful graduate student:
"Suzy doesn't just teach; she inspires her students to be the best version of themselves. Her students feel and know how much she respects and values each of them. She does this because, like any great teacher, she learns from her students too ... Suzy makes the world a better place. She is caring, brilliant, motivating, kind, trustworthy and all around, the best there is and it is with great respect and admiration that she is awarded the 2017 CASC Counselor Educator of the Year Award."