National School Counseling Week runs from February 6 through February 10, highlighting the tremendous impact school counselors have in helping students achieve school success and plan for a career. We are proud to shine a spotlight on two members of Singley Academy’s counseling team, Lead Counselor Kaniesha McEwen and College, Career and Military Readiness (CCMR) Coach Delorean Williams.
Read their respective stories below:
Having come from a family of educators, Lead Counselor Kaniesha McEwen is no stranger to counseling or education. McEwen has served as a counselor for nearly 20 years, with 10 of those years being right here in Irving ISD. Now in her first year as a lead counselor at Singley Academy, McEwen has various roles and responsibilities.
“I think the role of a counselor has changed a lot since I was in school,” says McEwen. “The mindset was that you only went to the counselor to have something done to your schedule. Nowadays, the role has really changed in that we really become an advocate for the students. It’s always good for them to know that they have a connection with someone here.”
As lead counselor, McEwen is always looking for ways to assist the other counselors by taking things off their plates.
“I deal a lot with dual credit, so I communicate back and forth with colleges and universities to make sure that students are enrolled properly,” says McEwen. “This allows our counselors to have more time to focus on their students and prepare them to graduate.”
Aside from that, McEwen coordinates field trips for groups of younger Irving ISD students to visit Singley Academy and learn more about what their high school journey could be, should they choose to attend.
“I feel like we are literally the heart of the campus,” says McEwen. “We love our students and we give them whatever they need.”
Singley Academy College, Career and Military Readiness (CCMR) Coach Delorean Williams is currently on his way to becoming a counselor, and his path to get there has certainly been unique.
“What made me want to become a counselor is that I’m a high school dropout,” says Williams. “I dropped out my junior year, and I remember the stuff I had to deal with and not having too much support. I wanted to make sure I could provide that level of support.”
Williams’s family was what helped propel him to continue pursuing his education.
“My mom was a very big motivator,” says Williams. “She always told me that education was the key to getting out of poverty.”
Williams found it hard to maintain a balance between school and working full-time to help support the family. On top of being a single mom, Williams’s mother also suffered from cancer. This led to Williams earning truancy, being in and out of court and ultimately causing more stress for his mother, who had to miss work to be there for her son. It ended up being too much for Williams, and he made the decision to withdraw from school.
“Thankfully, my mom was able to overcome her cancer, and I ended up getting my GED about a month later and enrolled into college about six months after dropping out,” says Williams. “It wasn’t like I wasn’t capable. I just had other stuff going on that was more important than school.”
In his final year of college, Williams returned to the high school he had dropped out from and served as an AVID tutor. This inspired him to become a math teacher, something he did for 14 years before deciding to pursue a career as a counselor. Now as a CCMR coach, Williams primarily works with the senior class to get them ready for life after high school, leveraging his own personal experience to help guide the students he meets with.
“I think it’s important to see people who look like you or share similar backgrounds, histories or setbacks so that you feel motivated to accomplish what they were able to accomplish,” says Williams.