JCPS Student Services Team Members Earn State Awards 

Two members of the Johnston County Public Schools Office of Equity, Information and Student Services were recognized with state awards from the North Carolina School Counselor Association for the year of 2020.

Dr. Amanda Allen, Executive Director of Social and Emotional Learning (SEL), was awarded North Carolina’s Counseling Director of the Year and Rena Keith, SEL Interventionist, was named North Carolina’s Advocate of the Year.

Allen has served in her current role since 2018, and began her career as a school counselor with a practicum in 2007. She has been recognized for her support of the counseling profession through her leadership, service, and advocacy for the counselors in their school or district.

The NC Counseling Director of the Year award further recognizes her positive impact on improving the counseling field. Award honorees show the implementation of innovative counseling programs; recognize the importance of school counselors within the schools and support attendance at workshops and conferences; and demonstrate evidence of implementing a comprehensive school counseling program and the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) National Model.

Keith began her career in mental health, and became an EC teacher in 2008. She is in her eighth year as a counselor, and began serving as an SEL Interventionist in 2020.

Keith has been recognized for showing outstanding support and advocacy for expansion of existing and implementation of new school counseling programs; advocating for students to receive appropriate community resource referrals; and addressing systemic barriers that directly impact marginalized student populations’ ability to have equal access to school services and programs.

The Advocate of the Year award also recognizes Keith’s advocacy and promotion of comprehensive school counseling programs that are inclusive of diverse students, staff, and parent populations. The award highlights the work that she does to advocate for the ability to meet students’ academic, career, and personal/social needs in order for students to reach their fullest academic potential; and for the professional identity and field of school counseling.