West De Pere counselor receives state honor
By Shane Fitzsimmons/Kris Leonhardt
Press Times staff
DE PERE – West De Pere High School Counselor Lisa Boyd was recently selected by the Wisconsin School Counselor Association as the 2024 Wisconsin School Counselor of the Year.
The award is handed out annually to recognize a school counselor who has demonstrated a “profound impact” on the profession.
Boyd was surprised Wednesday, Oct. 25, during a ceremony at the school.
“I didn’t know it was coming, I knew that this summer I was nominated by our administration with a letter and that’s the only thing I knew,” Boyd reacted.
This is Boyd’s 38th year in education, with eight years in Wrightstown, 10 at Park High School and now her 20th at West De Pere.
“It’s nice to have a little recognition of all those years of working with people,” she added.
West De Pere HS Principal Russ Gerke said that Boyd has affected a lot of change at the school.
“I started as a principal in 2004 and one of the things that I knew that we need to strengthen in our schools was the student services program, and I knew the person I can help us with that,” he recalled. “And, I knew she was a West De Pere graduate.
“So, I called and asked her to come and join us, and then the rest is history right? She’s helped us change all kinds of courses and develop new relationships with Bellin College, St. Norbert College and UW-Oshkosh, and she’s also helped us build connections with businesses where our students are now in apprenticeship programs and trades programs.
“So, she has helped us fill this whole gamut of students opportunities, and she’s just such a caring and wonderful person with our students that has changed our culture and made a great place for students to be every single day and students feel cared for, respected and our attendance rates show that because then kids want to come to school and work with us.
Gerke added that while he receives a lot of solicitation for this type of award, he had never submitted a nomination before.
“This was a situation where I think it was time for us to try to get someone recognized that has done so much for our school and made so many impactful decisions for our school district, that I put my heart and soul into writing the nomination.
“But she gave me all that information right — I’ve watched her for 20 years and all the things that she’s done. So, it’s an easy nomination, and then two weeks ago, I get a call that she has chosen as the school counselor for the state of Wisconsin and that is fantastic.
“It’s fantastic for this community and it’s not just recognition for our school but it’s our community and all of the students that she’s worked with. The thousands and thousands of students that she’s worked with in the last 20 years; it’s recognition of that work.
Gerke said that Boyd has a true connection with the students, “whether it’s a student is struggling with school or student that’s potentially college-bound.”
“There is something for every single student based on the work that she has done, and students can find a career path or college path or military path. She has been instrumental in supporting those decisions,” he explained.
Boyd will be recognized on Nov. 2 at the Wisconsin School Counselor Association’s annual conference in Wisconsin Dells.