School counselors

School Counseling Alumni Honored by OC Department of Education

School counselors support students in ways that extend far beyond the classroom, and when the Orange County Department of Education chose its most exemplary mentors this year, Chapman’s Attallah College of Educational Studies school counseling graduate program stood out.

Four of the six recipients of the 2019 Counselor Recognition and Counselor Advocate Awards were Chapman alumni or current faculty:

  • Katerina Sorrell (M.A. ’15), school counselor at Gates Elementary School and six other elementary schools in the Saddleback Valley Unified School District
  • Andrew Fredriksz (M.A. ’16), school counselor at Aliso Viejo Middle School in the Capistrano Unified School District
  • Beau Menchaca (M.A. ’02), school counselor at Century High School in the Santa Ana Unified School District
  • Rebecca Pianta, Attallah College adjunct professor and coordinator for counseling and student support and foster youth liaison in the Capistrano Unified School District

“As school counselors, our highest honor is being told we’ve made a difference—not just in an individual—but in an entire family,” Sorrell said. “For a counselor, life success is about improving the world … one amazing person at a time.”

Pianta, who trains and supports counselors while working toward a doctorate in organizational leadership at Brandman University, was one of two recipients of the new Counselor Advocate of the Year Award.

“Everywhere I go, when I do site visits or even when we interview students, Chapman alumni stand out,” Pianta said.

Kelly Kennedy, Ph.D., associate dean of graduate programs, said Attallah College is proud of the dedication of its alumni and faculty.

“That so many of our Chapman Panthers were recognized this year with OCDE awards speaks volumes about our school counseling program,” Kennedy said.

Complete coverage by Cheryl Baltes and more photos can be found on the Attallah College blog.