Colleagues say Yuridia Nava ’10, ’11 represents everything that is right with school counseling, and her peers across the country agree. The school counselor at Riverside Polytechnic High School was recently named a 2017 Counselor of the Year national finalist by the American School Counselors Association (ASCA).
Nava, also last year’s ASCA California Counselor of the Year, was celebrated in January with her four national co-finalists at a White House ceremony—greeted by former First Lady Michelle Obama. “She encouraged us to keep working and not give up. It was emotional, and inspiring, to know the First Lady understands what school counselors do,” Nava says.
Coming from a family of educators, Nava “fell in love with helping others” as a peer counselor and knew she wanted to do more. At Redlands, she was encouraged to conduct research and excited to “put theory into practice” early in the program through fieldwork. “This gave me the confidence to see myself not just as a school counselor, but a counselor leader of importance in the realm of education,” she says.
Her philosophy is simple: “I want my students to know that I believe in them, just as my professors at Redlands believed in me.”