Meet an FLVS School Counselor

We are celebrating the 2016-17 school year with a blog series featuring FLVS faculty and staff. Meet the creative and dedicated individuals who make every day a great day at FLVS!

5-questions-school-counselor

“What courses do I need to meet the state graduation requirement for online learning?”

“I want to earn a technical certificate in computer programming, so what courses should I take?”

“How do I enroll in a course with prerequisites?”

Ever had a school-related question that you couldn’t quite find the answer to? Who should you reach out to ask all these questions?

The FLVS School Counseling team – that’s who!

Kristie Knight has more than 10 years of school counseling experience that serves her well in the fast-paced environment at FLVS. Her phone never stops ringing – which is a good thing!

Kristie enjoys working closely with parents, students, and school-based personnel to ensure each and every student in her district is placed in the appropriate courses. Supporting student achievement (even before the student steps into the FLVS classroom) is important to her. She loves when parents call her back to thank her for the support she offered and they share all of the wonderful news of students working hard in their classes. Nothing gives her greater job satisfaction.

The FLVS job description of an online school counselor is as follows: “The School Counselor directly counsels students and their parents regarding FLVS courses and procedures. The School Counselor provides support to FLVS instructors assisting with proper student placements, FLVS policy as it relates to student status in courses, and individualizing education.”

knightToday, I would like to introduce you to FLVS school counselor Kristie Knight.

What brought you into the field of education?

In high school, I knew I wanted to work with children; I just was not sure in what capacity. I first thought of medical school and becoming a pediatrician or child psychologist, but then I realized that blood was not my thing by taking one college-level Anatomy course and switched my major from Pre-Medicine to Psychology. Toward the end of my degree program in Psychology at the University of Florida, I realized that I had no idea what to do with my degree. I went back to visit my school counselor from high school to talk with her and realized that her career was the perfect fit for me. I loved the idea of helping students figure out what courses to take to graduate from high school, to help them prepare for college/career, etc. I immediately applied for a Counselor Education Master’s Degree at the University of Central Florida and here I am, 12 years later, still loving what I do. 🙂

How long have you worked at FLVS and what roles have you held?

I have worked at FLVS for almost five years now and have held the role as an FLVS Flex School Counselor the entire time. I was previously a public school counselor for seven years before coming to FLVS.

Who inspires you?

The first person that comes to my mind is my father. He was born in Cuba and was moved to the U.S. when he was only five years old (my daughter’s age). His father was a prisoner of war for more than two years, while he, my grandmother and great grandmother tried to find a place to live and strive in a brand new country. My father learned English immediately; he went to school, never completed college, worked in an assembly line at a large company at a young age and worked his way up to Vice President of the organization before retiring.

With simply his drive for success and willingness to give his all, he was able to have a successful life and family in a country that he was not born in. I am so proud of him and I feel like I have a lot of that drive and leadership within myself as well.

What are the best three things you think you’ve done since you’ve become a school counselor with FLVS?

Honestly, at least once a week, if not more, I feel so proud to do the work that I do with FLVS.

Whether it is a call/email from a family thanking me for my time counseling and advising them through the years and letting me know their son/daughter has been admitted to their dream college…or pictures from my families showing me trips and destinations they are able to visit and still work on their education all because FLVS exists for them…I am a proud counselor and love the job I do day in and day out.

I know as a virtual school counselor I am not able to see my students and families face-to-face in an office/school type setting. However, I feel close to my families with FLVS because I am able to remove the extra paperwork, testing responsibilities, etc. and really get to be a school counselor. I can focus on what I am passionate about doing – advising students and helping them to be successful.

So, to answer your question:

1) Being able to actually be a school counselor and fulfill those duties as I was taught to do
2) The success stories I get to hear from students that I have assisted
3) Not needing thanks at all from them, but still knowing I am a resource here for our FLVS Flex families

How do you like to relax after a long day of supporting families?

I love to spend time with my own family and make sure that I am remembering to support them as well. I have two children, a 13-year-old son in 8th grade and 4-year-old daughter in VPK (pre-kindergarten). They mean the world to me! We go to the beach (we live nearby), we go to Disney on the weekends, and we have fort-building movie nights. It reminds me that I am a school counselor and I get to help so many students all day long, but I am a mom and wife as well and spending time with them makes me smile and unwind. 🙂

Why not ask your teacher(s) one of the 5 questions above?

Get to know the instructor who is working for your success!

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Jeanne Giardino-ZanegoodJeanne Giardino-Zanegood, FLVS Parenting Skills instructor, has a true passion for all things literacy. She enjoys the collaborative process in promoting reading in all aspects of virtual education. Having held a variety of positions with FLVS since 2006, she brings a global perspective to her current position. After 20 years in the field of education, she maintains a wealth of literacy knowledge and enthusiasm for student success.



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