Position: School Counselor
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School: Tukurngailnguq School
School District: Bering Strait School District
City, State: Stebbins, AK
Music that Describes Sarah
Sarah Swanson was nominated by Jaimie Gleissner, her colleague.
"Sarah Swanson is, hands down, the best school counselor I have ever worked with," said Gleissner. "Sarah not only works to keep students on track for graduation, but she is often the confidant of many students working through trauma. She is amazing at developing meaningful relationships with students, and she works hard to support those in the community."
When adults look into continuing their education or obtaining a GED, the first person they reach out to is Ms. Swanson - whether they are a former student or not. For years, Ms. Swanson made herself available to help colleagues process secondhand trauma or even just a bad day. She has touched and changed countless lives.
"I can even think of a student or two that ended up graduating solely because Sarah was there to support them and push them to be successful," explains Gleissner. "She is an amazing human being."
Life changers change lives. That is what Sarah does. It is a gift she has, it is a gift she freely gives.
I was blessed to have received that gift the 5 years I worked with her in Stebbins.
I am a better teacher, heck, a better individual because of it.
Can you interact with Sarah and not be changed? I don't think so.
Thank you for going to bat for me, the kids, and the community.
May all the blessings you've bestowed come back to you Sarah!
(PS-In my book, and others' for sure, you've already won this award.)
I continue to be amazed by Sarah Swanson. She is the most real, most in-touch counselor I've ever met working with kids. She knows how to be with students and hear what they have to say. She gives solid feedback that truly helps, whether the student needs a kind word, helpful options to make their own choices, or to be held honestly accountable - she can do it all! Her office is right next to mine, and day in and day out I see kids go into her office in meltdown and come out looking like they found a kernel determination that they can build on. Sarah is also an invaluable leader in our school. She can see the big picture, put together a detailed plan, and then martial the resources make it happen. She instinctively dovetails her abilities with others' on the leadership team. She knows how to encourage staff in the building to pitch in and work hard, and partly because she is relentlessly supportive of us, we cheerfully jump in when she needs us. In a word she is amazing. I wholeheartedly support Sarah Swanson as Lifechanger of the Year. There is no one better.
I worked with Sarah at a middle school in Minnesota. She never was too busy to listen to a colleague or a student. A wonderfully warn person whip could laugh with you or at herself!
I have known Sarah since I worked with her in a middle school in Bloomington, Minnesota. Because of her commitment to helping others and her students, we have stayed in touch over the years. Frequently, when I want to discuss an event at school or ask for advice, Sarah is the first person I reach out to. She is bright, compassionate, enthusiastic, and soulful. I can't think of a more deserving person for this award. Over the years I've heard stories of Sarah's dedication in Alaska. It's not at all surprising. She is such an advocate for our youth that I'm never shocked when she jumps in and helps anyone and everyone she can. I am honored to know Sarah, and she should be honored with this award.
I had the pleasure to get to know Sarah while working at a middle school in Minnesota. I haven't seen her in years but think about her often. Many occasions I wish we could go back in time because even though I knew then she was a wonderful person, I know now what a gem she really was! She loved the students and treated her co-workers like friends. She shared wonderful stories, gave of herself and had values that made me want to better myself.
Thank you Sarah for being a part of my life. I know you are touching many lives with your kindness, love and wisdom.
Sarah has been the north star in my life for years. Constant and bright! Because of our physical distance we don't see each other often, but when we do we pick up exactly where we left off.
When we worked together she was always there for me and my students. Calm and supportive. No one deserves this award more!
Well basically- she was with me when I was in my falling for boys hard stage, like jumping off a plane and landing on my face hard. And now I'm in my feeling like I left that old me - changed drastically, am learning new abilities, finding out my worth and worrying about my future.
She's always there, at every stage, to listen to all my stories that are on my mind - without a judging or trying to correct me when I'm looking wrong. Always knowing what I mean.
She helped me with so many problems... You help me realize truth because there's so many things in my head and when I talk about them you help me realizes what's real and what's not.
You help me believe there is somebody out in the word who cares about me because life tells me I'm worthless.
Sarah Swanson is the best counselor's I know. She has helped a lot of people in this school. She has a big heart for everyone and listen to everyone problem and finds the best way to help. The way people open up tp her is amazing and I'm proud to say she is our counselor.
I think ms. Swanson should win because she is a good counselor.
I have known Sarah in the capacity of our work on the Alaska School Counselor Association state board. She chairs our scholarship committee as well as the awards committee which votes on Alaska School Counselor of the Year. Were she not the chair of that committee, she would definitely have been nominated for the award herself! She does not hesitate to step up to help when help is needed as evidenced when she volunteered to coordinate recruiting and securing all the vendors/exhibitors for our annual conference this November. A huge task.
I am continually impressed by her knowledge and experience and her professionalism. She works in small Native Alaskan village which is only accessible by small bush planes. It is a community that has experienced profound trauma and pain. Resources are limited - particularly mental health resources. Sarah works constantly to build relationships with students as well as community members so she is able to help those people build on their own resilience - and connect them to additional help when needed.
She often holds hope for students when they do not feel it themselves. Sometimes it is for a young student who just found out s/he is becoming a parent - often times she holds hope for students who are on the brink of suicide. To her credit, students will seek her out to talk about those kinds of situations.
Congratulation Sarah!! You truly deserve this Nomination and to Win this Award. There is no one like you!
Sarah is a compassionate, loveable and caring Individual. She has continued to serve the community with intense intergenerational trauma with utmost dedication, patience, love and compassion. She is everything that her community and her students need. She works tirelessly to support students in the academic, social, emotional and personal domains of their lives. Sarah is dedicated to her students and always goes the extra mile. She has a way of understanding each situation deeply and finding unique ways to address the exact needs of that situation. She is such a team player. She is always available whenever I need her. Sarah has helped and supported me at every step of my career as a counselor at BSSD. She truly is a LifeChanger! I wholeheartedly endorse her Nomination as Life Changer of the Year! Love you Sarah!
As Sarah’s Dad, I must say that I’m proud of her dedication to be the best counselor that she could be for her students and families. Over the years I have watched her develop into this person as she has loved and worked with children and young people. Yes, she has a caring heart.
Great Advocate for all students
Sarah is the kind of counselor you wouldn't want to follow! She's so great, there is no way you could meet the standard she's set @ her school. I've known Sarah for 7 years. She is able to support her students in the areas they need, because she knows them well and has years of experience that she puts to good use. She's intuitive with ALL the people she works with-- and intuits with good, positive energy! The "glue" in Stebbins, I believe.
Thank you for being such a positive force and influence among the students and community. My you continue to excel in whatever you do. Congratulations!!
Sarah is the kind of person that the world needs more of. She is approachable and kind to everyone, from all walks of life, and goes above and beyond for everyone in Stebbins. I had the absolute pleasure of working with her for two years in Stebbins and was amazed by her work ethic, her commitment to the people of Stebbins, and the kids in the school. Sarah is the counselor in Stebbins, but she is much more than that. She works tirelessly to make sure the high schoolers have what they need to have the best chance at graduation and their dreams beyond graduation. She works with both students and families, helping them to find resources needed and giving them support when needed. Sarah works with the staff throughout the entire school on the delivery of Social-Emotional Learning and works with leadership on initiatives to encourage school attendance and success, including cultural enrichment, and culturally responsive ways of dealing with difficult situations. When I was there, she did all these things, plus put on quarterly celebrations for students who met attendance goals and helped with the reading initiative to get kids reading more. Once the school year ends, she stays for credit recovery in the summer, to help high schoolers who need just a few more credits to graduate. As if she didn't do enough, she is also an amazing resource and friend to staff. She is thoughtful and kind, she is always there to listen, and she realizes how difficult it can sometimes be to teach somewhere so isolated, like the remote Alaskan villages. Sarah does so much and she does it willingly, joyfully, and with no expectations. She is incredible and not only do I wish there were more people like her, but I wish I was more like her.
Thank you so much for providing such excellent counseling services to the entire Stebbins community! I am especially impressed by your efforts to further the education of Stebbin adult residents through the GED program.
I have had the honor to work with Sarah since 2015. She provides a stable and safe support for not only her students but for the whole community of Stebbins. Through the hardships and traumas our region has faced, she is always there to be a caring and compassionate leader. Her work extends through the whole region in the way she supports other counselors as well. The nomination is very well deserved!
Sarah has a warm and open relationship with just about everyone she meets. As a counselor in our district, she is given a lot of weight to carry, from academic advising to helping with the emotional support and wellbeing of students. She always goes out of her way at district training opportunities to learn and bring new skills back to her school. In this way, she enriches her student's lives not just with who she is but also by continually striving to be better. It is a rare soul who has both the mastery of her craft to be so effective and the humility to continue wanting to learn.
I worked with Swanson for 7 years in Stebbins. Always helpful with anything needed. I know first hand how many hours she has spent over the years helping kids. My son was able to get scholarships and all the help he needed to graduate from AVTEC with welding certification and has gone on to be a great fabricator in the profession. She has made great positive changes in childrens lives for many years and deserves this award more than anyone I know.
Sarah has been an outstanding force and a definite Lifechanger here in the Bering Strait School District for many years. I couldn't imagine BSSD without her. She positively supports all of her students (and staff) as evidenced by the messages below. I just LOVED seeing the comments from her students below on how much she means to them. This brought some tears to my eyes--what an honor for her. She is always there to lend a helping hand and a listening ear. Sarah is a gem, and a treasure, and most definitely worth of this award!
Congratulations Sarah for your hard work and support for all the years you have been here in Stebbins. You have made a great difference at the Tukurngailnguq school and our community. Once again thank you Sarah for your hard work and support.
I have had the honor and privilege of working with Sarah since 2014. Sarah provides constant support to the students at her school and extends this support to her colleagues. Sarah is genuinely dedicated to the well-being of her students and community. She is constantly looking for ways to improve her role as a counselor. It is no surprise that Sarah has been nominated for this award. She truly deserves this recognition.
Thank you, Sarah, for the continuous guidance you give to your students, the never-ending aid you provide to your colleagues, and the pure sunshine you provide to our district.
It is my pleasure to call Sarah my friend. I worked with Sarah for many years in Bloomington, MN. She was the kindest and most authentic counselor we had. She cared deeply about all students, but gave lots of love and care to my special needs students. They loved and trusted her.
I have had the honor and privilege of working with Sarah since 2014. Sarah brings constant support to the students at her school and extends this support to her colleagues. Sarah is genuinely dedicated to the well-being of her students and community. She is constantly looking for ways to improve her role as a counselor. It is no surprise that Sarah has been nominated for this award. She truly deserves this recognition.
Thank you, Sarah, for the continuous guidance you give your students, the never-ending aid you provide to your colleagues, and the pure sunshine you contribute to our district.
Sarah Swanson is a true professional: dedicated, devoted, and wise.
Swanny is a rockstar and has been for years. She could get awards like this every year...and it wouldn't affect her mission to serve and save kids. We love her and privileged to count her as a dear friend and colleague.
Swanny! No one deserves this recognition more than you! Stebbins and BSSD are SO FORTUNATE to have you as part of our team! Congratulations!
Sarah cares so deeply and genuinely for everyone around her. Her skills and talents allow her to live and work anywhere in the world and we are so grateful that she chooses the Norton Sound region, and specifically Stebbins. It's clear that her passion is for kids to understand what mental wellness means for them and use the resources around them to work toward health and wellness. I am grateful to know her and to be influenced by her positive energy!
Ms. Swanson demonstrates her commitment to our students and community on a daily basis. She has been a mentor and advisor to countless students and consistently offers her assistance to staff and the community.
Sarah is one of the best people I know. She's been there for not one person, but for ALL people, any age, young and old. Sarah is more than dedicated to students and to her community. Ive known her for most my young life, and believe me, she is a life changer. Without her help, we all wouldn't be where we are at today. She has made a huge impact with the students of wbb, with great success.
I am voting for Sarah Swanson because over the years I have known Sarah, she has made a big change in the Stebbins school and not only for the school,our community as well. She has made a lot of friends over the years here in our community of Stebbins. Sarah knows how to understand people when they are in great need of help. We as a community of Stebbins believe in Sarah Swanson because she will get the job done and make sure that her friends are always well taken care of. My vote is for Sarah Swanson.
hi sarah swanson Thank you for letting me cool of in your office thank you ok Bye good luck
swonson is alwas there for us wen were mad
ms. swanson lets me play with fidget toys when i need to calm down. and hi.
she helps me when i have a bad day
Ms.Sarah Swanson help me wen i am being bothered and she will take me to her office and i will come down their and i will go back to class and start doing my work and she will tell me to be good and i will listen to the teacher
ms.swanson you're the best
ms swanson has a good heart
Ms. swanson is there for us when we need help
ms.swanson is there wen we need help on enything
ms. swanson is there for us when we need help
Ms.Swanson, you make me feel safe whenever someone bothers me, Thank you Sarah!
Ms.Swanson helps me calm down. She helps me plan out what to do, so I can do my work. she helps me when I'm sad. When I am depressed, She is able to talk to me and make me feel better. I am so grateful for her being here.
Ms.Swanson is Fun.If i get frustrated, she talks with me and helps me with my breathing.
Sarah Swanson the best she brings joy to everyone
Ms. Swanson is the best counselor i know! She helps me feel better when I don't want to be in class she makes every ones day better. i love Ms. Swanson! Thanks to Swanson for helping me when i ain't feeling okay. She gives me enough confidence in myself to go back to class shes helps make everything better!. keep being the best counselor i know!<3
She is kindhearted and thoughtful, she helps others to deal with stress, depression, anger, and other kinds of negative emotions.
It's never awkward or uncomfortable when talking to her, she is very understanding and listens when we have something to say.
The best school counselor she's like traditional grandma from Alaska who takes care of everyone.
Ms.Swanson is an amazing person and always knows what to say to put a smile on your face when you need it we are very thankful to have her in our school.She is always there for the students when they need her never letting them down,always bringing them up, encouraging them to reach their dreams and never give up no matter what obstacles stand in their way.She is totally amazing!
She helped me with my locker, she helped me with breathing, and other stuff
Sarah is awesome. Thank you so much!
As a past teacher at Stebbins School I found it difficult leaving my students behind when I moved from Stebbins. Knowing that Sarah Swanson was there to support them made it easier. Ms. Swanson Is very approachable. She goes above and beyond her assigned duties to support her students.
Sarah deserves this award for her complete dedication to helping others. She has never turned anyone away and helps in anyway possible. Working in remote Alaska is a place with extreme high turnover and Sarah has been a constant in many children and adults lives for over 9 years. She is truly a life changer for many!
Do you know why Sarah Swanson changes her hairdo so often? She grows the gorgeous strands to DONATE!
As a colleague at the turn of century, she supported our Reading Week Seminar students and me at Olson Junior High/Middle School in Bloomington, MN. I highly recommend this honor now and many more honors for Sarah Swanson in the future!
Sarah works tirelessly for the children in Stebbins. I have worked with her for several years. She has been a constant positive influence in the lives of all kiddos in the village. In a place with people always coming and going, she has remained solid and consistent. She is always giving of herself. Sarah is the BEST!
Sarah is the most amazing school counselor. She puts her heart into the position and knows the importance of her work with not only her students, but the community she lives in as well. As busy as she is, she is always helpful in filling in for others when needed. I can't see anyone else as deserving of this award than Sarah. Stebbins is blessed to have her. Thank you for your continued effort in healing our students and helping them succeed after graduation.
I have not seen Sarah in years but she was a very important part of our family back in 1994. She was Dean of Women at Covenant Bible College in Prince Albert, Sk. the year that my son attended.
We had the privilege of billeting Sarah when she was at our church in Melfort, Sk. helping to run Kid's Kollege a week long program for K to Grade 6.
I loved her, my family loved her, and all the kids loved her.
Sarah is amazing!
Sarah positively encouraging students and others around her to maximize their potential in life with what their gifted with and helps believe in themselves towards success.
Ms. Swanson has been an amazing partner for Kawerak's College & Career Navigators!
Sarah is dedicated to the success of her students and has impacted so many people’s lives with her work.
Sarah Swanson is the reason I am where I'm at today. She was there to help when it mattered most, whether it was putting in the work for winning scholarships or laying the foundation for my next steps in pursuit of further education. Without her I wouldn't be the person I am today. She pours her heart into her community and especially to those who reach out for help. Regardless, if she wins or not, I'm sure I can speak for many people that she has helped in saying that she was our life changer.
Sarah is incredibly dedicated to her students and her community. She cares deeply for them, with tremendous understanding, empathy, and genuine love. She brings a smile wherever she goes and uplifts everyone she meets.
In order to understand her impact on our kids, you need to understand our situation. Our region has one of the highest rates of suicide, toughest teaching conditions and highest teacher turnover rate in the Nation. Sarah’s dedication to her school and community is second to none. Her commitment to excellence can be seen in the very students that have commented on this nomination. Our region and more specifically, the community of Stebbins is a better place because of Sarah Swanson.
Ms. Swanson is the best counselor, I know. She helps people when they need help with something. She is a great listener; she always knows what to do/say. Ms. Swanson has the biggest heart.
Sarah does such an amazing job connecting students at her school to CTE opportunities outside of the school. She helps students complete a 9 page application to go to NACTEC in Nome for a variety of CTE and STEM focused career sessions. She empowers students to look at careers outside of going to a 4 year college, like becoming a pilot, careers in the health field, small engine mechanic, to name a few. She also helps students get their driving permit and license by securing those vital documents needed by the DMV. Sarah is on top of making sure her students succeed and we appreciate all she does!
I’ve known Sarah for most of my life. She was my youth leader at church years and years ago. She had an excellent relationship with young people then and I’m so glad to hear she continues to make a difference in young people’s lives now.
It was a sad day when Sarah left Oak Grove Middle School in Bloomington. She was a gift to staff and students alike.
Sarah was my middle school counselor in the early 90's in Fergus Falls, MN. I have never forgotten her, her kindness, & how she made me feel included, special, & cared for. She is a life changer!!! I'm in my forties now & she continues to fill a place in my heart ??
Thank you for making a difference for our Stebbins youth. They need all the support they can get. It’s great to hear you are making a positive impact in my hometown. Congratulations on this honor!
I worked with Sarah for 6 years in Stebbins! She is a caring, positive , amazing person! She deservres this! The students trust her, she has made a huge impact on the students and the village!
I met Sarah in 1994. She was a dorm 'mom' at my college in Canada. Most of us were away from home for the first time, and a new country too! Sarah was so kind and loving it made our year away from home an easy transition and unforgettable experience. She's one of the best!
Jamie is so deserving of this award! I’ve had the pleasure of seeing her with action and she is a gift to her community.
As a former teacher and Sped teacher and presently mental health clinician working along side Sarah for 8 years in her village, Sarah is truly a master counselor. She is humble, joyful, affirming, emphatic, kind, and generous —she had a profound understanding of our Yupik culture and is greatly love by our village.
This wonderful lady takes such great care of the community I grew up in! I am 1000% behind this nomination!
What can I say about Sarah Swanson? Swanny was my Dean of Women at Covenant Bible College. She was exactly what I needed as a mentor and role model as I was living away from home for the first time. She instilled me the confidence to make my own choices. She cheered and celebrated with me in my victories and supported and cried with me, when sometimes I had to cope with the consequences of those choices. After I graduated I was glad to call Sarah a friend. We have worked together for youth events and camps, built bouquets for a friends wedding and I know that someday if our paths cross again we will laugh our selves silly and make new memories. I am absolutely a better person for having known my dear Swan <3
This is the same Sarah who influenced and loved our children as a friend and Youth Counselor way back in the 1980’s. She has continued to develop her same wonderful self. Yay Sarah!
Ms. Swanson is one of the most positive individuals I know. She motivates everyone around her to improve and grow. Absolutely amazing!
Sarah, as a veteran school counselor, is a supportive and inspiring colleague. I know if I have anything I need a hand with, I can call on Sarah. Everything she does is for the kids' benefit. Her commitment and skill are highly evident.
Sarah Swanson is a wonderful counselor that tirelessly serves the community of Stebbins, Alaska. I could not think of a more deserving person to receive an award.
I second that nomination! In my short time knowing Sarah she has impacted my life tremendously and leads by example in her work. She will lend an ear to anyone who isn't having a great go at the day, or whoever may need to just vent. I must say, it is truly inspiring to see her in her element everyday.
Ms. Swanson is an awesome person, she is always helping out other people in the school including the students. Whether you just need to talk about other topics that you're concerned about.
sarah is one amazing person! i love that she has such a big heart for everyone. keep it up!
Ms.swanson she makes me happy when i am sad and mad
Ms. Swanson is a great listener, she helps many people when they are stressed out.
miss. Swason is amazing and so fun and a good listener she help us when we are mad sad frustrated
ms.swanson is the one i go to talk and she is amazing
Ms.Swanson is a very incredible worker!
Ms. Swanson is one of the most encouraging people I have ever met. She pushes the staff, students, and community to be their best selves. She is incredible!
Ms.Swanson, good job for obtaining "life changer of the year", Nice, Cool, Awsome, Good job!
Sarah Swanson is the BEST school counselor ever! She helped me so many times, if it wasn't for her i probably wouldn't even be alive. I love Sarah so much, she is the only one I go to when i need help or someone to talk to about what i'm going through. I love Sarah Swanson so much!!
I think Sarah is one of the best counselors because shes always there for us when we want to talk or if we need to talk to someone about any problems we have. shes the person to go to even if its not school related you can go and chat with her. shes most likely able to help you with anything shes pretty awesome with pulling up our grades when we want to see our grades or credits shes been there for me a couple times when i was having a bad day or when i didn't feel to go about myself i went and talked with her and she was able to help me like talk me out of my situation and made me feel better shes really an amazing person I'm glad to have her as our counselor i look forward to having her as our school counselor for the other students who are still attending school next year because this is my last school year of school so im glad and thankful to say she was our school counselor throughout my schooling years
Sarah Swanson has helped me so much over these past years of high school. She was there when i needed to talk, cry, and talk about stuff that bothered me. She has been there for anyone in the school. She pushes everyone to go to class, catch up on work, shes there when someone needs alone time in her office, or when someone needs to talk. Even helps us seniors catch up on stuff for the first semester. She makes sure that we all graduate on time, shes done so much for us here at our school. Every year Sarah Swanson helps seniors get applications and scholarships for college. She's a big part of our school, and she keeps our middle school and elementary on track.
I think Sarah is the best counselor because shes a true real person to talk to and to be with, and a good helper to get us where we need to be, and a kind loving person.