To be a counselor, you need superpowers. From coordinating testing schedules and conducting parent meetings to listening to students and implementing character development programs, the responsibilities are tremendously important. Thankfully, John Haley Elementary Counselor Tamique Akins is fully outfitted for the job.  

Although Tamique started her career as a teacher, she spent the majority of her class time focusing on students’ social and emotional learning. 

“I was trying to get them to a place where they could concentrate on academics,” she says. “There was so much going on in their lives at home. I wanted them to come into my classroom and actually be a kid. I thought, “Why don’t I go into counseling? I’m doing it every day in my classroom.’” 

And that’s what she did. Fourteen years later, Tamique is still a counselor at John Haley Elementary. She works with students in grades 3 -5 and her counterpart, Ms. Juanita Martinez, serves students from kindergarten to second grade. 

“We have a great working relationship,” says Tamique of her bond with Ms. Martinez. “It allows us to meet the needs of the students more quickly and that’s incredibly important.”

Tamique’s dedication and commitment to her students doesn’t go unnoticed. A few years ago, Tamique lost her father the same week as National Counselors Week. The staff at John Haley Elementary pushed the recognition back until Tamique returned. They showered Tamique with love and support because she brings so much value to the school. Without her, students would walk into class not knowing how to regulate their emotions, practice self awareness or communicate effectively. These are skills that Tamique practices with her students every day.  

Many might wonder how Tamique does it every day- pouring herself into the emotional and social well-being of her students. It’s simple – it’s her passion. 

“It’s amazing to see my students that started as behavior problems now using the tools and skills that I taught them to manage in a healthy way. It’s so rewarding and keeps me going.”

And that’s exactly why students love her. She cares for them, she treats them as her own and she helps them see their value. That’s the true role of a superhero.   

Happy National School Counseling Week to all our amazing counselors in Irving ISD!