Featured Finalist: Kristin D. Nye
Kristin D. Nye, lead school counselor, Anna P. Mote Elementary School, Wilmington, Del., is a 2024 School Counselor of the Year finalist. Kristin has been a school counselor since 2005. Anna P. Mote Elementary School serves 327 students, grades K–5.
“Kristin is the epitome of being a lifelong learner for equity and justice,” said Angela Johnson, school counselor, Anna P. Mote Elementary School. “When the world was turned upside down following the George Floyd tragedy, Kristin did the work to understand how she could be not only an ally for people of color but an accomplice in supporting change and justice.” Read more.
What Makes Kristin Tick?
What brings you joy?
I love to travel. Being in new places is always exciting and joyful. I have been to all 50 states and multiple countries, and regardless of where I am, I am having fun and enjoying life.
What is the most adrenaline-inducing adventure you’ve ever experienced?
I would say tandem skydiving out of a plane being co-piloted by a high school friend who was in flight school. Free falling from great heights definitely gets the adrenaline flowing.
When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a pediatrician or an astronaut when I was a kid.
What is one bucket list item you want to accomplish in 2024?
I recently learned to crochet little stuffed toys. My goal for next year is to make my first blanket by myself.
If you were asked to cook a signature dish, what would it be?
My signature dish is probably ordering takeout.
What is a weird fact you know?
I know all the lyrics to the song “We Didn’t Start the Fire” by Billy Joel.
What’s your favorite dessert?
Key lime pie
If you could have an unlimited supply of something for the rest of your life, what would it be?
I would probably want an unlimited supply of books.
How would you describe your job to a 5 year old?
A school counselor is someone who helps you when you have a big feeling that is hurting your head or your heart and that is making it hard for you to learn.
You have your own late-night talk show – who would you invite as your first guest?
What’s the one place in your city you tell visitors not to miss?
The Wilmington Riverfront has great restaurants, walking paths, art and nature, and it is just on the edge of the city.
Do you have any hidden talents? What can you do?
I can complete marathons, which showcases my talent of persistence – or what some would call my stubbornness. I have run 50 full marathons in 49 states.
What is your favorite smell and why?
Peppermint because it is clean, refreshing, energizing and smells like it tastes.
What is one important skill you think everyone should have?
Empathy is the most important skill everyone should have because it is necessary and critical to maintaining relationships and making the world a place where we all want to be, especially in these divisive times.
What could you talk about for 30 minutes with no notes?
I could talk about Harry Potter for 30 mintes without any help: the books, the movies, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios. The possibilities are endless.
How did you get into school counseling? How did you know it was the right path for you?
I got into school counseling somewhat accidentally. I had always wanted to be a pediatrician and started college as a biology/pre-medicine major. After a year of chemistry, I realized it wasn’t what I had imagined, so I spent a year “undeclared.” During that time, I fell in love with my psychology and sociology classes and decided to double major in those subjects. As I entered my senior year, I researched psychology career paths and found that school psychology and school counseling aligned with my love for helping kids. The fact that school counseling involved more interaction with students swayed me, so I pursued a graduate degree in school counseling directly after completing my undergraduate studies.
I was excited to begin my career, but it wasn't until a few years in that I had an experience that solidified the idea that school counseling was not just my job but also my passion and calling. I was in my third school in four years, taking over for a beloved retiring school counselor. While I was initially anxious about the expectations, I quickly formed connections with both the staff and students. Throughout that year, I made systemic changes to the school counseling program, implemented different styles and schedules for classroom lessons, integrated small groups for various topics and became a valuable resource for administration. I finally felt at home and confident as I worked to support my school. It was then I realized I was becoming the school counselor I had wished for when I was a student. Having experienced trauma and my share of adverse childhood experiences, it was odd to me that I had never interacted with my school counselor outside of scheduling and college planning. Looking back now, it seems obvious why I became a school counselor, but it wasn’t until my fourth year that I truly understood the power and responsibility of my role and my deep connection to it. I work every day to ensure I live up to these expectations.