NCSCA School Counseling Director of the Year Crystal Reardon ‘11MSA: ‘I Can’t Imagine a More Fulfilling or Gratifying Career than the One I Get to Experience Each Day’
Although Crystal Reardon ‘11MSA loved teaching English Language Arts, building relationships with students and motivating them to be the best they could be was her favorite part of being in the classroom.
That feeling inspired her to pursue a career in counseling and ultimately in administration. Reardon felt that as a counselor she would have the opportunity to build and influence those positive relationships with even more students.
For 25 years she has been a professional educator. And for the past nine years, Reardon has served as the Director of Counseling for the Wake County Public School System (WCPSS). She was named the 2019-20 North Carolina School Counselor Association (NCSCA) School Counseling Director of the Year.
“I am humbled and grateful,” she said. “To have my work recognized in this way is really a reflection of teamwork and having the fortune to be part of such an amazing network of strong leaders who are focused on improving outcomes for students.
“My work is possible because of the support and collaboration with so many dedicated and talented professional school counselors and colleagues, all working to build a safe and supportive learning environment for our students.”
As Director of Counseling for WCPSS, Reardon supports resources and programming for approximately 470 school counselors, leads the financial aid program and manages the Central Records Office for the district. In this role, she enjoys being able to support each school through their school counselor and the comprehensive school counseling program.
“I have the privilege of partnering with each of our 191 schools in support of over 161,000 students to ensure that students receive equitable resources and support to attain their academic goals, develop their social emotional skills and become college and career ready,” Reardon said.
She credits the NC State College of Education for her success. She enrolled in the Master of School Administration in Educational Leadership program to build her leadership capacity. NC State, she says, had a strong program focused on school leadership
“I had so many amazing professors at NC State, many of whom were also leaders in WCPSS, so it was a perfect fit for my professional goals of becoming a well-prepared leader,” she said.
The learning experiences, she says, were practical and hands-on rather than just theoretical, which helped her discover and develop authentic leadership skills. She also said the experiences and growth opportunities helped her frame her focus on leadership through service.
As a part of the school administration program, Reardon was in a cohort of 16 professionals. Many of them are now principals, assistant principals and other leaders in WCPSS. And Reardon has the privilege of working side-by-side with them each day.
“I have always felt my niche was being in a school, working with students in some capacity, and I can’t imagine a more fulfilling or gratifying career than the one I get to experience each day,” Reardon said.