FRANKLIN - Franklin Public Schools' Director of 9-12 Teaching and Learning Nick Kohn was recognized at the Wisconsin School Counselors Association (WSCA) conference with the supervisor/administrator award, given to "recognize those persons who have made significant contributions to the field of school counseling," according to the WSCA website.
Kohn has served in the role of director at the district level for two years, though he previously worked as an associate principal at Franklin High School (FHS).
According to FHS counselor Katharine Reid, Kohn was instrumental in supporting the counselors through the transition to focus on holistic student development as outlined by the American School Counselors Association (ASCA), shifting the school counselors' role from just preparing students to graduate into helping them develop socially and emotionally as well as prepare them for college and careers.
"As a principal, he made it possible for us to really look at what we were doing and begin to shift into a new way of approaching our work and following that national model," explained Reid. "When we needed support, encouragement, or opportunity, he supported that. And as the director of teaching and learning, he continued to take us under his wing."
In his day-to-day work, Kohn "strives for continuous improvement, carefully observing data and trends, while considering and valuing input from the people who work daily with students," according to the award nomination letter, and this award specifically recognizes is his value of the counselors' input.
Counselors said that Kohn listens to them and trusts their opinions as professionals, which is part of the reason they are able to build a thriving program, evidenced by winning the "Program of Promise" award at the convention.
"Our program is leading the way in the state of Wisconsin and none of that is possible without our administration," said counselor Mindy Willard. "It's not common for administrators to dive so deeply into the work of the school counselor. ... Our administrators trust us, trust our experience, and they're letting us do what we want to do."
For Kohn, this shows in how he has helped counselors align to the new ASCA model, such as lightening their load by removing many testing duties from the counselors' job descriptions and sending counselors to the WSCA convention every year.
"It was a tremendous honor, and frankly more reflective of the work and accomplishments of the entire school counselor team than my individual leadership," Kohn said of winning the award. "I am honored to work alongside such a talented group of professionals each day."