Counselor Leslie McClellan goes above and beyond her duties

Counselor+Leslie+McClellan+works+on+student%27s+schedules+for+the+next+school+year.+She+has+been+a+counselor+on+campus+for+seven+years.

Photo By: Molly Tilton

Counselor Leslie McClellan works on student's schedules for the next school year. She has been a counselor on campus for seven years.

One week out of every year, the nation takes the time to notice counselors for the superstars they are. This year National School Counseling Week is February 3 through the 7. 

Though there are many counselors on campus, few truly go above and beyond their expected duties and even fewer have been at Judson for as long as academic counselor Leslie McClellan. 

“I have been at Judson for seven years,” McClellan said. “And before that, I was a special education teacher for five years.” 

While working as an educator on various campuses, McClellan quickly realized that counseling was her true passion. 

“I wanted to move up in my career, but did not want to be the ‘bad guy’ as an administrator,” McClellan said. “So then, I looked into getting my masters in counseling.” 

Even if she wasn’t a school counselor, McClellan would still be in counseling. 

“My original degree was in social work and then I changed it to education because of an experience working with a student who had down syndrome,” McClellan said. 

This passion came from her own high school experience of not knowing her counselor or the options she had. 

“I did not know my high school counselor,” McClellan said. “I didn’t know that AP was an option, I didn’t know college was an option. I was just an average student, so I knew I wanted to impact other students.” 

This experience has impacted every aspect of McClellan’s counseling career and has helped her to be the best counselor she can.

“I love working with teenagers,” McClellan said. “I love being that person that they’re going to look back on and say ‘Oh, I had the best counselor’ or ‘I had somebody that I could talk to.’”

Like all jobs, counseling comes with extreme stresses and emotional baggage, but it becomes a delicate balancing act between life and stress. 

“It’s a lot of self-care,” McClellan said. “There are many times you cry on the drive home. That’s been one of the hardest things. We take a lot of the stress home with us; we’re answering emails in the middle of the night and from our phones.”

Not only do these counselors help schools to run smoothly, but they also sponsor other clubs and organizations around campus. McClellan herself sponsors the Gay-Straight Alliance on campus. 

“I went to Mr. Hernandez about six years ago and told them that we were one of the largest campuses and we don’t have a GSA. And that needs to happen,” McClellan said. 

On any campus, counselors all agree that students need a place to go for whatever they need; a place where students feel safe to share their emotions and be themselves.

“Teenagers need someone they can talk to other than their parents,” McClellan said. “When students need us, we will be there to assist because that is our job.”

—–

If there are issues with this article, report it here.