National School Counseling Week Faculty Spotlight: Norman Rivera
School Counseling is one of the vital offerings of an institution. According to the American School Counselor Association, school counselors help all students in the areas of academic achievement, career, and social/emotional development, ensuring today’s students become the productive, well-adjusted adults of tomorrow. Elementary school counselors are educators uniquely trained in child development, learning strategies, self-management, and social skills, who understand and promote success for today’s diverse students.
Held Feb. 4-8, National School Counseling Week celebrates the individuals who give themselves wholeheartedly to the life change of students and highlight the tremendous efforts made for a student’s successful future. School counselors serve as an advocate for students while making a major impact for the future.
Norman Rivera, School Counselor at A.E. Phillips Laboratory School, is a husband to his wife Annie, a father of four, and role model to almost 400 students. He also serves as a part-time licensed professional counselor in the Ruston area. Rivera has been in school counseling for over 16 years and he always makes a point to keep his students first priority in his work. Rather than becoming engulfed in paperwork, Rivera finds it imperative to meet with students and to engage with them to effectively evaluate their needs.
Being a school counselor can mean juggling many roles. As a father, Rivera has the unique perspective in nurturing and caring for his students. He strives to be a positive, male influence who wholeheartedly cares for students and make a difference in their lives.
I’ve always thought that I need to “lay eyes” on as many students as I can to determine what state of mind they’re coming to us from home. Once their morning assembly is done then I’m there as they walk single file to class and I like to say in a semi-loud voice (especially to the kindergartners and first-grade students) “Go conquer the world!”
I’ve felt like they are primed to receive all this wonderful information that our teachers are pouring into them and who knows what achievements they will have when they are ready to take on this world.
When asked how to avoid burnout, Rivera stresses accountability and community with his fellow colleagues and other influential leaders who value his calling and his role impacting future lives. He also expressed that one should find balance in their field and to center all he does around the question, “Why did I get into counseling?” With his response always being to “take care of the kids and do anything I can to help them.”
In everything that Rivera does, he seeks to empower students to be their best so that they may accomplish any goal that they desire to pursue. We are grateful to have such an empowering individual changing the world through the lives our A. E. Phillips Laboratory School students and our Ruston community. We celebrate your remarkable efforts and anticipate monumental impact made in our students’ lives.