Dempsey Middle School Guidance Counselor Jenny Nicely was recently named the Middle School Counselor of the Year by the Ohio School Counselor Association.
Nicely said she was nominated during the 2017-2018 school year by fellow Guidance Counselor Jane Ziegler.
“It’s certainly an honor,” Nicely said. “I think this is a great place to work and a great community that we have. I tend to not be a spotlight kind of person, but if this brings a spotlight to our school and how great we are here, then I’m okay with that.”
Nicely said after she was nominated she had to submit some materials like essays and a video. After not hearing anything back for an entire year, she assumed someone else had been selected.
“I thought, ‘Okay, moving on, that’s fine,’” Nicely said. “Then I got an email on Friday the 13th from the person at the Ohio School Counselor Association telling me I’d been selected for this award.”
Nicely laughed and added that she “thought it was a hoax or something.”
“Our principal, Dan (Bartha), came and stood in my door and said, ‘I got an interesting email,’ and I said, ‘So did I.’ Then, Jane opened her door and said, ‘Hello Ohio School Counselor of the Year!’” Nicely said. “It was very out-of-the-blue, very unexpected.”
Bartha said Dempsey is fortunate to have Nicely under its roof.
“Jenny Nicely is an incredible school counselor who wears many hats, and she is very deserving of this honor,” Bartha said. “Over the years, she has had a positive impact on the lives and futures of thousands of students in Delaware. She makes sure that all students feel like they are valued and have a voice. We are truly fortunate as a school and a community to have a counselor who is so thoughtful and dedicated.”
Nicely said being selected for the award was “surreal.”
“(I feel) humbled,” Nicely said. “At first, it was so surreal and unexpected. I’m not used to being in the limelight or the spotlight.”
Ziegler said she was very pleased that Nicely was selected for the award.
“I was excited to hear that Jenny won as I think she is very deserving of the recognition,” Ziegler said. “When you observe Jenny as a school counselor, you see that she has a presence that puts others at ease making it easy for students, parents, and staff to open up to her. She also has an infectious energy that is perfect for working with middle school students. Jenny goes above and beyond and is truly great at her job.”
Nicely said she told Bartha that she needed to “step up her game” but added Bartha reminded her it’s an award recognizing her work and not an award for seeing potential.
“That helped me put it in perspective,” Nicely said. “It’s quite an honor, and I definitely share it with out school staff and I share it with out school staff and our great community of students and their families. I work for a great district.”
Nicely said this is her 13th year working as a counselor at Dempsey, and she doesn’t think the award will change her counseling style.
“I try to come to school every day and do a good job and try and do it with a cheerful attitude,” Nicely said. “I don’t foresee that changing. That’s why I don’t feel like I’m anything special with this. I’m just trying to do the best that I can do. I love our kids, and I love being here.”
Nicely will receive a formal award from the Ohio School Counselor Association in November.
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.