PSU school counseling alumna Holly Vaughn-Edmonds receives statewide honors

holly-vaughn-edmondsFranklin High School Counselor Holly Vaughn-Edmonds, ’02, was named the 2016 Oregon School Counselor of the Year by the Oregon School Counselor Association (OSCA). She received the honors at the organization’s fall conference in October. She is a graduate of the GSE’s School Counseling Program. She has been a practicing school counselor for 17 years, most recently at Franklin High School where she focuses on career and college readiness.

“Holly’s creative spirit and big heart make for strong collaboration with her colleagues, partners, and college resources,” said Juanita Valder, Franklin High School principal.

As the Oregon School Counselor of the Year, she is automatically a nominee for the American School Counselor Association National School Counselor of the Year.

About Holly Vaughn-Edmonds

Holly Vaughn-Edmonds has worked as an advocate for children and families for 30 years. Her work in a community-based healthcare center led her to pursue her MSW at UC Berkeley and then to work as a hospital social worker at OHSU, Providence, and Kaiser, where she focused on pediatric and maternal and child health.

In 1993, Vaughn-Edmonds began working for Jason Lee Middle School in the Vancouver School District as a school social worker. She received training in working with first-generation families, because Jason Lee was the newcomer center for the district. She then moved to Portland Public Schools (PPS) and has worked for 17 years as a licensed school counselor, beginning in 1999 at Fernwood Middle School. At Beaumont Middle School from 2002–09, she worked closely with other staff to track outcomes for a one-on-one mentoring program for students of color to reduce the achievement gap in reading and math. The highly successful program continues to this day.

At Franklin High School, Vaughn-Edmonds has worked closely with her school counseling colleagues, teachers, students, and parents to expand access to college for all students, particularly for first-generation students. Her belief that “no one person can solely affect change in a building” serves as a collaborative guidance model for this work.

Over the last two years, she and her colleagues at Franklin have worked closely with All Hands Raised to implement a continuous-cycle improvement model that helps high school seniors complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid through the U.S. Department of Education. Vaughn-Edmonds and her team succeeded in increasing senior completion rates for this federal student aid from 61% to 84%, opening a critical pathway for attending college.

Their collaborative work with five other teams nationally resulted in a trip to the White House in May 2016 to meet with First Lady Michelle Obama’s staff. “I have never been so proud to represent our profession, PPS, and our team in my 24 years of work in the field,” Vaughn-Edmonds said.

Vaughn-Edmonds holds an undergraduate degree from Bucknell University in business management, a master’s degree from the University of California at Berkeley in social work, and a completed her school counseling licensure at Portland State University. She and her husband, Bill Edmonds, have two sons, ages 21 and 24, who graduated from Portland Public Schools.

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