According to student Emily Ahart, guidance counselor Brittany Gaines of Miller County R3 High School in Tuscumbia, Mo. is one of a kind. “She truly exemplifies everything a counselor should be and then some,” says Ahart.
One example of what makes Gaines so special is the individual attention she gives to each of her students. She creates individual “log books” which highlight the goals of each of her students that she uses to help determine what steps they need to take in order to get where they want to go. In addition, Gaines creates “scholarship packets” which contain scholarships that everyone can apply to, as well as more specialized scholarships that she thinks will fit her students as individuals.
Beyond the realm of college preparation, Gaines also lends a listening ear when it comes to the issues her students are facing. In addition to her high school students, Gaines also works with elementary and middle school students, talking about different subjects that she finds many students struggle with. “She teaches [students] foundational basics they can apply to their life, even at a very young age,” says Ahart.
Perhaps Gaines’s most obvious effort to listen to her students comes from her weekly “Girl Talk” sessions that she has with girls in the middle school. In these sessions, she offers an open environment in which girls can talk about anything that is on their mind for the group to discuss.
“Mrs. Gaines goes far beyond the call of duty,” says Ahart, “never turning down a student, no matter how small the issue. She always takes time out of her day to help anyone.” And if there was any doubt that Gaines is anything but super, Ahart says, “even with her stressful job, a super smile is always on her face!”