Campus News

Two UGA grad students in counseling honored for work in Gwinnett schools

Two UGA grad students in counseling honored for work in Gwinnett schools


Athens, Ga. – Two University of Georgia graduate students in the College of Education have been recognized for their work as counselors in Gwinnett County.


Karen Griffith, a Ph.D. student in counseling and student affairs and a counselor at Berkeley Lake Elementary School, was named Counselor Writer of the Year in Gwinnett County for her book,Creative Small Groups, Ready-to-Use Lessons for Grades K-5.


Griffith has worked in education for 32 years, 24 of which she has been a counselor.She has served as the school counselor for Berkeley Lake Elementary School for the past five years.Previously, she worked in Rockdale, DeKalb and Forsyth counties, as well as Sevier County in Tennessee.

Her book is a compilation of her favorite activities for working with students.It includes group ideas for building social skills, study skills, increasing self-confidence, managing anger, improving behavior and dealing effectively with serious illness and grief.

“I tried to design activities that involve creative ways to present important ideas to the students,” said Griffith. “In addition, the students always leave the groups with some tangible representation of the concept or issue discussed in group.”


Griffith, of Lilburn, is a lifelong resident of Georgia. She received her Ed.S. in school counseling from Georgia State University in 1994, a 60-hour add-on certificate for school counseling from Georgia State in 1992, an M.S. in special education from the University of Tennessee in 1980 and a B.S. in elementary education from Samford University in 1977.


Leslie Harper, who is working on a specialist’s degree in school counseling, was named High School Counselor of the Year for Gwinnett County.


A native Tennessean, Harper lives in Norcross and has been the school counselor at Collins Hill High School for the past four years.


Under her co-direction, Collins Hill High was recently recognized for its implementation of the American School Counselor Association Model, a comprehensive, developmental guidance program that covers accountability, foundation, delivery and management.Collins Hill was the first high school in Gwinnett to receive the Recognized ASCA Model Program award, which means that they successfully implemented the program to benefit the multicultural needs of all of their students.


“I love working with students and want to make an impact on their lives,” said Harper.“I also want to help students prepare to be productive members of society.It is an honor and a privilege to work with those whose mission it is to help children be successful.”


Harper received an M.S. from Georgia State University in 2006 and a B.S. from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in 2000.