MIDDLETON — Angelee Davis, school counselor at Middleton Middle School, has her favorite Martin Luther King Jr. quote framed in her office. It says “intelligence plus character, that is the goal of true education.”
It’s also Davis’ personal goal for herself and her students. The past three years she spent her time educating students about kindness, and she’s been a friend for teens to confide in.
Those traits are what stuck out to the Idaho Association of School Counselors who named Davis the School Counselor of the Year.
“It was a total surprise to me,” Davis said. “I’ve been a counselor for six years. Three years at the Middleton elementary schools and three for the middle school.”
Davis said she decided to go into counseling later in life when her personal goals changed.
“I went from the business money-making goals to more something where I could do some good,” she said. “I like the ability to be able to help kids’ lives when they are having hard times. To be able to put them on a good path and give them skills is very rewarding. I feel it’s a privilege every day when a student comes in.”
Davis moved to Middleton with her husband, who is a private practice counselor, and three children before taking the job at the school district.
Her oldest son and daughter are both in college, and her youngest son is a 15-year-old attending Middleton High School. When she started as a school counselor at the middle school, her son was in the eighth grade.
“His only request was that I don’t dance in front of the students,” she said laughing.
Davis sees anywhere from 10 to 14 students a day in her office for multiple reasons. Davis speaks to students about family matters like divorce or death to school matters such as goal planning or organization.
“It’s important for kids to have access to someone they trust,” she said.
In her off time, Davis creates a weekly PowerPoint presentation for the entire school that goes over lessons about friendship, weekly goals and recognizes excellent students.
Teresa Brown, the Middleton School District’s social worker, nominated Davis for the title of Counselor of the Year.
“She’s done such a tremendous amount of work,” Brown said. “She’s taken a community that at one time was separate to molding them into a single unit.”
One of Davis’ larger accomplishments is the VIKES program she initiated in the middle school.
VIKES stands for Values, Integrity, Kindness, Education and Safety and plays off the fact that Middleton’s mascot is a Viking.
Students receive VIKES tickets when they are caught doing something kind or helpful in the school.
Students can use their tickets to enter a drawing for large prizes or they can use them as money at the school store. The store is filled with candy, small toys and other goodies.
Assistant superintendent for the Middleton School District, Mike Friend, is proud of the work Davis is doing for the middle school.
He said he wasn’t surprised when she was named counselor of the year.
“I hired her,” he said. “She came to me looking to help in any way. I spent about an hour with her in my office, and after she left, I commented to the superintendent and said, ‘Someday we’re going to hire her.’ She’s been a very big part of our district.”
Friend and Brown agreed Davis is unique among many counselors because of her passion and kindness.
“It’s her heart,” Brown said. “She absolutely refuses to give up on anybody. She is just completely involved in making sure everybody has a positive experience in everything they do.”