Seventeen of the 19 years Dr. Julie Moss has worked as a school counselor have been in Richland One. She was first a seventh grade counselor at Hand Middle School for 10 years, and she has invested the last seven years counseling Brennen Elementary School students.
“I believe I have the best job in the education world,” she said.
Moss is one of 90 school counselors in the district whose unique contributions were celebrated during National School Counseling Week, February 7-11. This year’s theme was “School Counseling: Better Together,” which serves as a reminder of the collaboration of school counselors, students, and other education stakeholders.
“It is a pleasure to work with such talented educators to help students,” said Moss. “It is an honor to work with students and help them realize their inner strength.”
As a school counselor, Moss provides classroom lessons on various topics relating to social and emotional health, careers and academic success. She also supplies individual and small group counseling for students, which include the weekend snack bag program and mentoring services. Moss takes the knowledge she gains in working with students to advise school staff members and parents on how best to ensure student success.
“Within the school, we work as a team,” said Moss. “Together we are able to meet a larger range of needs that our students and families have. Emotional needs have to be met before students can focus and succeed academically.”
Moss encourages parents to contact school professionals if they have concerns about their child, describing counselors, teachers, administrators, psychologists, social workers and other staff members as the parents’ support system.
“School professionals are part of the parents’ team to best help their child succeed,” said Moss. “As a parent myself, the past two years have been challenging. I think it is also important for parents to give themselves a lot of grace during these trying times.”
This isn’t the time to be too tough, she intimates.
“Feelings are okay,” said Moss. “It’s okay to feel sad, mad or frustrated. It’s important to process our big feelings and have healthy coping strategies.”
Moss has had extensive time to develop her skills as a counselor, realizing as early as she can remember that she wanted to work with children in an educational setting. With a mother who taught high school and a grandmother who was a teacher, counselor and college professor, education has been her life all of Moss’s life.
Equipped with a bachelor’s in psychology from Converse College in Spartanburg; a master’s in counselor education, with an emphasis in elementary and middle school counseling from The Citadel in Charleston; and a Ph.D. in counselor education and supervision from the University of South Carolina, Moss entered the profession with much optimism.
“I really enjoyed learning about human behavior, especially child/ adolescent psychology,” said Moss. “When looking at potential careers, school counseling was the perfect fit for my interests in education and children’s mental health.”
Her fervor for the profession has resulted in numerous awards and bodies of published research to her credit, with topics ranging from the transformational tasks of counselors and character education to bullying and advocacy. She’s followed in her grandmother’s footsteps, serving as an instructor and guest lecturer at UofSC.
Just as with her alma mater, Moss’s footprint in Richland One has been one of value, and she credits administrators as making it possible.
“I have been fortunate to work with outstanding administrators. I appreciate their understanding of my role as a helper,” said Moss.
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