Regina Meredith, Salem High School’s Counseling Coordinator, has been named “Counselor of the Year” by the Virginia Counselors Association.
The award, which was established in 1981, was presented to Meredith at the Homestead Resort in Hot Springs, the site of the organization’s annual convention, on Friday, Nov. 6. The award honors those who have spent a great deal of their career as a counselor, and meet specific criteria.
Nominees must submit multiple data-based reports documenting their time and effort spent as a counselor, and are also evaluated by a committee.
Always one to have work on her mind, Meredith said she is feeling slightly overwhelmed after taking time off for the convention, but that she is beyond thrilled to receive the award.
“It is an honor to be recognized as the Virginia Counselor of the Year,” Meredith said. “I love coming to work each day, and I am so thankful to be surrounded by administration and staff who support my work in serving the families and students of Salem High.”
Meredith earner her bachelor’s, as well as two master’s degrees, at Radford University, and has spent 39 years as an educator. She began her English teacher at Carroll County High School in 1977, then went back to school to work in special education.
She has taught special education in Hillsville, Roanoke and Christiansburg. She began her counseling career in 2000 at Christiansburg High School, where she also taught English. She made the move to Salem High School in 2005, and has been a counselor there ever since.
“Every school needs a Regina Meredith,” said Scott Habeeb, Salem High School Principal. “She is the calm and experienced veteran who never stops getting better and who never strays from our mission of loving and serving the young people of Salem.”
Regarding the transition from teacher to counselor, Meredith said she realized she really enjoyed listening to her students, and found students enjoyed talking to her as well. She said she empathizes with her students, and is there for them through highly emotional issues.
“It’s hard to imagine some of the different things that teenagers now are facing in their own lives,” Meredith said.
While the award validates her hard work, she said the greatest reward is being able to make a positive impact on her students’ lives.
“I think the best part, I like to think, is that in some way I am able to make a difference in a student’s life, whether its trying to encourage them academically, just listening, or helping them to plan for their future,” Meredith said.
Meredith is a National Board Certified Teacher, and was named the Salem High School “Teacher of the Year” in 2012. She was also named the Roanoke Area Counseling Association’s “Member of the Year” in 2014.
“Regina is an exemplary educator and her work ethic, her professionalism, her innovation, and, most importantly, her love for and service to others are models for both students and her colleagues,” Habeeb said. “Without a doubt, we meet the needs of Salem’s young people more effectively as a result of Regina Meredith’s influence on our school.”