Cary High counselor finalist for national honor

Posted February 1, 2011

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— Cary High School counselor Linda Brannan has been named one of 10 finalists for the School Counselor of the Year award.

A counselor for more than 25 years, Brannan helped to found the Wildcat Academy at Millbrook High School in 2001, which seeks to ease students’ transitions from middle to high school. Under her leadership at Cary High, graduation rates have increased from 79.7 to 82.3 percent, and students say they feel more empowered about the college admissions process.

Brannan also led a team to increase the number of minority students enrolled in Advanced Placement courses. Her committee identified qualified students, managed a Curriculum Fair for families to see the benefits of taking AP courses and developed an attendance plan to ensure students were present in their classrooms every day.

“Mrs. Brannan has guided students and parents through the maze to reach positive outcomes,” Debra Goldman, vice chairwoman of the Wake County Board of Education and a parent of one of Brannan’s students, said in a statement. “She has truly proved that she is here to serve the students and will do whatever is necessary to accomplish that goal.”

The School Counselor of the Year awards program was open to all 100,000 members of the school counseling profession. The top 10 counselors were nominated by their peers and administrators and judged by a select panel on several criteria, including: creative counseling innovations, effective programs, leadership skills and contributions to student advancement.

Brannan and the other nine finalists will be flown to Washington, D.C., on Wednesday for three days of celebratory events, including meetings with their members of Congress and attending a black-tie gala.


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  • torque1 Feb 3, 2011

    Kerplunk ... if your child was one of the 2.5%, you would be writing home about it! We have someone in the community who is going above and beyond for the children, why is that not commendable?

  • Valkyrie Feb 2, 2011

    Mrs. Brannon is very dedicated and hard working, as I'm sure the majority of counselors are. Cary High's students have benefited greatly since her arrival on campus. I am thrilled to see her get this recognition and hope she receives the Counselor of the Year Award. It's a shame the principal isn't of the same ilk.

  • jacalynt Feb 2, 2011

    kerpluk, why do we need a devil's advocate here? The writer cited many reasons why Mrs. Brannan was nominated by her peers. A panel narrowed down the nominations based on "creative counseling innovations, effective programs, leadership skills and contributions to student advancement." We should be honored and privileged that one of our own in Wake County has been nationally recognized. Why would you want to debate that?

  • kerpluk01 Feb 1, 2011

    To play a little devils advocate, could the rise in graduation be due to the fact that teachers push kids through these days. Plus 2.5% isn't anything to write home about. Maybe a better thing to point out is the scholarship rate, college acceptance/graduation rate of her former students.

  • jacalynt Feb 1, 2011

    Congratulations! I have the pleasure of knowing Mrs. Brannan personally and I can say that she has a huge heart for her students. She truly loves what she does and this award is so well deserved!