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Pohakea Elementary School counselor named 2022 Hawai‘i Counselor of the Year

Pohakea Elementary School’s Nicole Blomberg was recently named 2022’s Hawai‘i School Counselor of

the Year by the American School Counselor Association (ASCA).

The ASCA School Counselor of the Year award recognizes counseling professionals in elementary, middle, and high schools across the nation for their devotion to the academic and career success of their students as well as their social-emotional well-being. Honorees are selected on the basis of extensive criteria including the development of creative counseling innovations and programs, leadership skills, and contributions to academic improvement.

Blomberg, who has been a school counselor at Pohakea since 2006, was nominated for her outstanding ability to connect with students and their families, which, along with her continuous effort to reflect on her professional practices, allows her to best support the education, well-being, and potential of every student. “She has an immense impact on our school culture and the way that students and teachers interact with each other,” Pohakea Elementary Principal Corey Barton said of Blomberg. “She embodies– models– a kindness that carries into our school community. It begins with her.”

Despite the challenges that arose in communities in face of the pandemic, Blomberg continues to inspire and enact change in her students’ lives. Using her leadership skills to bring the Pohakea community together, she set into motion a monthly Virtual Read Aloud Book Nook, where she uses bibliocounseling, a multimodal teaching method, to remind community members of the importance of kindness and perseverance, especially in these difficult times.

Blomberg also considers her development of Pohakea’s Check and Connect program one of her proudest contributions. Check and Connect is a Tier 2 attendance intervention that assigns targeted students a trusted on-campus adult as a mentor. Mentors conduct daily check-ins and help their students create monthly goals for individualized guidance. “Most importantly,” Blomberg says, “the program creates a positive relationship with these students to make coming to school feel safe.”

In a video message commencing National School Counseling Week, which spans from Feb. 7-11 this year, Interim Superintendent Hayashi pointed out the importance of school counselors, especially amidst COVID.

“Over the course of these last two school years, our school counselors carried an even heavier weight, given all that our students go through in the face of the pandemic,” Hayashi stated. “They are the trusted adults on campus for many of our students, as well as a critical resource for our communities.”

Blomberg proudly serves as a member of ASCA and the Hawai‘i School Counsel. On February 3, she attended the 2022 School Counselor of the Year ceremony in Washington, D.C., where she and other committed school counselors were celebrated.

For more information about ASCA, click here.

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