CounselorAwardBluffton High School counselor Kelly Homan has been named the Beaufort County School District’s 2020 School Counselor of the Year.

“We’re extremely proud of Kelly Homan,” said superintendent Frank Rodriguez. “She’s an outstanding professional, as any student or colleague who works with her can tell you.”

After graduating from the College of New Rochelle with a degree in business administration, Homan took a job on Wall Street, a school district news release said. But after being in Manhattan on Sept. 11, she returned to college and earned a master’s degree in school counseling.  

“Like a lot of young people, I was totally focused on making money,” Homan said.  “But I learned pretty quickly that money wasn’t a goal that was going to make me happy.  I wanted to do something that made a positive difference in young people’s lives.”

Bluffton High principal Denise Donica said Homan is caring, meticulous and dedicated.

“Whether it’s her responsibility for accountability or her passion for doing what’s best for kids, she’s an amazing counselor,” Donica said.

Donica credited Homan with developing a number of innovative counseling programs, working successfully with community groups on counseling initiatives, serving as an excellent liaison with the U.S. Military and staying in touch with students long after they graduate.

A former Bluffton High valedictorian said in the news release that from his first conversation with Homan, “it was obvious to me that she cared. I was not a student on a list of appointments. She worked to understand my perspective and provide the best advice possible for me.”

A teacher at Bluffton High said: “Whether it be working alongside administration in order to create the master schedule for staff, developing individual graduation plans for students or helping students work through personal issues, she always gives her full energy and effort.”

A three-person panel of district administrators evaluated this year’s candidates and selected the honorees.

The district also recognized Hilton Head Island Middle School’s Carmela Larkby as Middle School Counselor of the Year, Bluffton Elementary School’s Michaela Yates as Elementary School Counselor of the Year and May River High’s Gabrielle Lopez as Rookie School Counselor of the Year.

Local businesses and community members sponsored an awards breakfast and donated gifts for the school district’s counselors.