In 2003, Hanna Kemble Mick’s mother was named a Kansas School Counselor of the Year. Now, two decades later, Kemble Mick is “humbled and honored” to follow in her mother’s footsteps.
Kemble Mick, a counselor at Indian Hills Elementary School, Auburn-Washburn Unified School District 437, was recently announced as the 2023-2024 School Counselor of the Year by the Kansas School Counselors Association.
The announcement was made during an all-school assembly on Nov. 1.
Kemble Mick has been a school counselor for eight years – five years in her current role at Indian Hills Elementary School, two at Auburn Elementary, which is also within Auburn-Washburn USD 437, and one year at New York Elementary in Lawrence. She also is the Auburn-Washburn dean of elementary school counselors and a counselor leader coordinator for the Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE).
“My family’s legacy has influenced my journey in the field of school counseling,” Kemble Mick said. “I am a fourth-generation educator, where the importance of education and helping students has always been a central theme. Furthermore, my mother, who served as a school counselor, played a significant role in shaping my career path. She was not only a guiding light but a source of inspiration. Her dedication to her students and her commitment to excellence were evident throughout her career.”
Kemble Mick is originally from Herington and graduated from Centre High School in Lost Springs. She received a bachelor’s degree in advertising and a master’s in school counseling from Kansas State University.
She and her husband, Dalton Mick, have two dogs, Piper and Pickles, and a cat named Opal. Piper is a therapy dog at Indian Hills Elementary.
“She is a five-year-old Goldendoodle,” Kemble Mick said. “This is her third year at Indian Hills Elementary. She is the best tool in my counseling toolbox.”
Piper came to the Micks through a family friend.
“Piper’s story begins with a tragic event in the life of a family friend, a former school counselor, who lost her beloved daughter,” Kemble Mick said. “To honor her daughter’s memory and her passion for working with students, a Goldendoodle dog was chosen to be a therapy dog, a fitting tribute to the daughter’s love for both dogs and helping others. However, the dog’s placement with another family didn’t work out as planned, and our friend was determined to find a deserving home where the dog could continue its purpose of serving students.”
The friend reached out to Kemble Mick, and the first time Piper and Kemble Mick met, they formed an instant bond.
“A connection that was deep and intuitive, reminding me of the capacity animals have to understand and respond to human emotions,” Kemble Mick said. “Since then, Piper and I have embarked on a journey of training and learning together … Piper plays a vital role in my school, bringing many benefits to the students and the entire school community.”
Being named the 2023-2024 KSCA School Counselor of the Year is a “humbling and gratifying experience,” Kemble Mick said.
“It is an honor that extends far beyond personal achievement,” she said. “I see it as a recognition of the collective dedication and hard work of all school counselors in the state of Kansas who tirelessly advocate for the well-being and success of our students. Representing the many dedicated counselors in Kansas fills me with pride. I am well aware of the vital role that school counselors play in shaping the lives of students, and to be chosen for this prestigious title is both inspiring and motivating. It reaffirms the importance of the work we do, not only within our individual schools but also in the broader context of the state’s education system.”
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