On Nov. 4, the New Mexico School Counselor Association presented North Star Elementary School counselor Kathleen “Kathie” Hager the 2022-23 New Mexico School Counselor of the Year award.
In a Nov. 20 email, Hager provided a statement to the Neighborhood Journal on winning the award:
“Thanks for reaching out. I was very honored to be named the 2022 New Mexico School Counselor of the Year by the NM School Counseling Association (my counseling peers throughout the state of NM). The New Mexico School Counseling Association presented me with this award on Friday, November 4, 2022, at their annual conference at the Albuquerque Uptown Sheraton. The NM School Counseling Association is part of the national group the American School Counseling Association – ASCA. I will travel to Washington, DC in early February to represent our amazing state at the ASCA 2023 School Counselors of the Year event.
“It is an amazing honor, and I am very humbled to receive this award especially since it is an award where you are chosen by your peers. First, I had to be nominated by another NM Counselor. Then I was invited to complete a very thorough application in which I needed to detail the counseling program which I use to support my students, their families and my coworkers at North Star, explain how I support my counseling coworkers and also create a video about my school and our counseling program. After this a committee from NMSCA reviewed all those who had been nominated from throughout NM and I was chosen.”
Hager was recognized for her achievement at the Nov. 16 Albuquerque Public Schools School Board of Education meeting, and earlier this year was named a recipient of the 2022 William S. Dixon First Amendment Freedom Award.
Background: from Air Force wife to North Star counselor
Hager graduated from Swarthmore College before starting her career as a banker at Girard and Mellon Bank. She then traveled from place to place with her husband Doug, supporting his endeavors in the U.S. Air Force before embarking on their last trip from Kailua, Hawaii, to Albuquerque, New Mexico. While travelling with her husband, she worked as a child life specialist at Dayton’s Children’s Hospital, as the marketing coordinator at Sunwest Bank, as an intern at the Family Support Center at Andrews Air Force Base, obtained a master’s degree in counseling from Marymount University and volunteered in many locations along the way.
When she returned to New Mexico, Hager enrolled at New Mexico Highlands University to complete classes required to obtain a state school counseling license. She interned at Acoma and Oñate Elementary School and worked at Carlos Rey Elementary and Desert Ridge Middle School before landing the position as school counselor at North Star Elementary School. She is a member of the APS Counseling Leadership Committee and named the 2018-19 APS Elementary School Counselor of the Year.