Palmer Middle School’s Barbara Truluck Named Georgia’s Counselor of the Year; Cobb’s Sherri Hill Earns Advocate of the Year Award

One by one students stepped forward to describe a champion at Palmer Middle School. A champion for students is caring, helpful, highly organized, and teaches life lessons, the students said. A champion is a mom at heart who cares for all students like they are her own. A champion makes students feel important.  

Those traits describe Palmer Middle School’s Barbara Truluck, who in a surprise announcement on September 10 was named Georgia’s 2019 Counselor of the Year.  

Superintendent Chris Ragsdale and an entourage of Cobb Schools staff members, past and present, joined the Georgia School Counselor Association (GSCA) for the Counselor of the Year celebration at Palmer. 

The Georgia School Counselor of the Year award honors professionals who devote their careers to advocating for the nation’s students and addressing their academic, social and emotional development, and college and career readiness needs. Truluck will represent Georgia on the national stage as she moves forward to the American School Counselor Association’s 2021 School Counselor of the Year awards program. 

Truluck and two other semi-finalists, which includes Lovinggood Middle School’s Antionette “Toni” Dickerson, were selected by a statewide panel based on their ability to create systemic change within the profession and school counseling innovations. The top counselors also created exemplary comprehensive school counseling programs, exhibited leadership, and advocacy skills, and contributed to student achievement. They increased student success through their comprehensive school counseling programs that have been designated by ASCA as recognized model programs (RAMP).   

Barbara Truluck has served as a school counselor at Palmer Middle School since 2015. Before stepping into the role as a counselor, Georgia’s Counselor of the Year served students as a science teacher for 12 years. She chose to work as a school counselor to help students achieve their dreams.   

For the Counselor of the Year, her own childhood struggles drive her to be a champion for all her students.  

“Her enthusiasm and passion for her profession permeate throughout the school, as she is constantly looking for ways to support students and leave a lasting impact on their lives,” explained Bradley Blackman, Palmer Middle School assistant principal. 

Her counseling colleagues also praise Truluck for being an invaluable resource for the entire school community.  

“She is a constant and unwavering source of support and encouragement for all,” said fellow Palmer counselor Lauren Holland. “In her solution-driven, but kind approach, Barbara can be witnessed day in and day out impacting the lives of all students both directly and indirectly.” 

Cobb’s Chief School Leadership Officer Named Georgia’s Top Advocate for Counselors 

Sherri Hill thought she was at Palmer Middle School to celebrate Barbara Truluck being named Georgia’s Counselor of the Year. She did not know there was a second surprise planned at Palmer Middle School.  

After the Counselor of the Year presentation, GSCA President Maria Grovner announced that Ms. Hill, Cobb Schools Chief School Leadership Officer, won the GSCA’s Advocate of the Year award. Cobb Schools Board Member Brad Wheeler won the Advocate of the Year Award in 2017.  

In addition to the Georgia Counselor and Advocate of the Year, Cobb Schools also took home other state awards from GSCA. 

Cobb Horizon High School’s counselor Ebony Payno was named Writer of the Year, and the Emerging School Counselor Leader award went to Nadiya Rosen, a school counselor at Acworth Elementary School.  

All the Georgia School Counselor of the Year Award winners and semi-finalists will be honored and formally recognized at the annual GSCA conference in Augusta, Georgia on November 15.