August 2017

President's Letter: What Makes a Leader?

By Tammi Mackeben
Greetings, Texas school counselors.
LSSSCA extends our heartfelt concern for all of our school counselors in the regions currently dealing with the storms and flooding. You are in the thoughts of all Texas counselors and LSSSCA is here to support you as you work to rebuild and support your students and families as they do the same.

For all other counselors across the state, there is a great possibility that some of the displaced families will move to your district as a temporary home until their homes are again inhabitable. We want to make sure that you are adequately prepared to meet the social/emotional needs of our families in crisis. The American School Counselor Association (ASCA) has a number of resources available for school counselors working with displaced families. As we receive additional resources we will post them on
NOTE: Any school counselors impacted by Hurricane Harvey, please email Dr. Sylvia Lopez. Tell us your story and how we can help you as you prepare to work with your children. What are your classroom needs? LSSSCA would love to hear from you.
It has been an exciting first year for LSSSCA. With just under 1000 members, LSSSCA hosted a school counselor Leadership Academy, the first annual LSSSCA School Counselor Conference and the first “Day on the Hill;” congratulated 37 winners of the first Lone Star Awards, the top 5 finalists and 2017 LSSSCA School Counselor of the Year; was awarded the ASCA Charter and so much more! When I think of all the wonderful developments that occurred throughout this past year, I am so excited for the things to come.

I recently returned from the ASCA Conference. With 140 Texas school counselors, we learned, connected with others, and became rejuvenated for the upcoming year. During Delegate Assembly, Mark Kuranz posed this question, “Do you need special training/status to be a leader and do you have what it takes?” I pose the same question to each of you. Actually, being a leader is simple—people follow you. However, you want people to follow you because you have a growth mindset, a passion for students and want to make a difference and prove you did by using data. I don’t think you need a title to lead and make a difference and that was made very clear to me as we were leaving the ASCA Conference for the airport. We called for a car, but it was too small. A large black car had just dropped off a couple and was sitting in the hotel drive. We requested a second car and were surprised when the black car pulled back around and picked us up to begin the 26-mile drive to the airport. As we entered our first curve the driver asked, “Where are you ladies from?” We replied, “El Paso,” and he said, “Me, too.” Not only did he have phone chargers for us, but ice-cold water, tissues and gum! This was no typical ride. Over the next 37 minutes, he told us how his family and sports had such an impact on his life and on his mission in life. As we approached the airport he said, “I reached my goal today.” He had set out to have four $30.00 rides. He said he always sets goals and they happen. We asked how and he said they just always do. This young man was a true leader. He had a growth mindset, passion for people and life and data to prove the accomplishment of his goals. It was only 37 minutes, but he made a difference in my life and I think the lives of the other three counselors in the car. He made a difference in my life in 37 minutes! Just imagine what a difference you can make for your students in 37 days, 37 weeks or 37 months.

I wish you a great 2017-2018 school year. Have a growth mindset, continue your passion and be THE LEADER that changes the world for your students, faculty, staff, parents and community!