Karon Wright currently serves as a guidance counselor at Andrew Jackson Middle School in Grand Prairie, Texas. Her official title is that of Lead Counselor; she is honored to be able to provide advice and guidance to children in grades six through eight. Adolescence is a difficult time for these students, as they struggle to transition from children to young adults and discover who they want to be in life. Wright has held this position since August 2012. Wright is available not just to aid students who need help adjusting but also to their parents; she is happy to provide advice on how moms and dads can face tough decisions with their children.
As a guidance counselor, Karon Wright sees middle school boys and girls coming to terms with a wide array of complex issues. Children between the ages of 11 and 14 are in the midst of learning to explore different interests, which helps them connect their lessons from the classroom to the broader world around them. However, this very task can become challenging because this age group is in need of the most approval from everyone around them—especially their peers. As students begin turning to their friends for approval and advice instead of their parents (or other traditional role models), sensitivity to criticism and emotional reactions can run high. Helping such boys and girls come to find their own unique sense of identity and comfort within their own skins is one of the highlights of Wright’s job.
Karon Wright began her journey at Paul Quinn College in Dallas, Texas. PQC is a small, liberal arts institution traditionally associated with the African Methodist Episcopal Church; Wright received her Bachelor’s of Science in Secondary Education and Biology in 2003. She continued her educational journey by obtaining a Master’s of the Arts in Secondary Counseling from Prairie View A&M in 2008, but she didn’t stop there. To complete her qualifications, she also obtained a Master’s of Education from the University of North Texas in Educational Administration and Leadership, graduating in 2010.
Through all of this education, Wright became certified to teach science in Texas to grades four through eight. Her master’s education provided her with all the latest classroom techniques for engaging students and incorporating innovative new technologies into the classroom. Karon Wright taught in science classrooms from August 2003 to June 2012, first at Shackelford Junior High in Arlington and later at Boude Storey Middle School in Dallas. To keep up with her education and stay at the top of her field, Wright currently holds five certifications:
● Texas Teaching Certification Science 4-8 (Expires 09/2015)
● Texas School Counselor Certification EC-12 (Expires 09/2015)
● Texas Principal Certification EC-12 (Expires 09/2015)
● ILD Certification, UNT Dallas (Earned March 2010)
● PDAS Certification, UNT Dallas (Earned May 2010)
After logging nearly ten years of experience as a classroom educator, Karon Wright decided her talents could be better used in counseling services and accepted the position of lead counselor at Andrew Jackson Middle School. She concurrently holds the position of Health Unit Coordinator at Zale Lipshy University Hospital as well, a position she is certified to occupy until August 2014. Wright’s work is routinely of the highest quality, and she earns copious praise from peers and supervisors alike: one supervisor stated that Wright is an “exceptionally energetic and enthusiastic teacher,” who “captures the imagination of students” and demonstrates the utmost capability and authority in the classroom.
As both an educator and a counselor, Karon Wright has sought to improve the lives of her students. She worked hard to engage kids in the concepts she was teaching in her science classroom, and deliver lectures with relevancy and a variety of interactive teaching aids. She used every means possible to meet student needs and individualize lessons for boys and girls who needed an extra boost toward comprehension, all while maintaining an atmosphere of mutual civility and respect.
But of course, Karon Wright realizes that teachers only have control over students for so many hours of the week, and ultimately it’s the parents’ job to raise a child. But being responsible for an adolescent (or two or three) is trying, and sometimes parents feel that, despite their best efforts, they’re doing everything all wrong. When students or parents become too frustrated to work productively together, Wright sometimes needs to step in and mediate. To help parents of middle school students who may sometimes wonder where their sweet little boy or girl went, Wright offers the following tips.
First, know what is going on with your child. Adolescence was a long time ago for a middle-aged mom or dad, but it’s immediate for their child. Don’t presume that your son or daughter is going through exactly the same thing you did at their age; after all, science is constantly evolving, and our understanding of adolescence grows and changes from year to year. Sympathetic parents might consider doing a little research to understand exactly what is going on—physically, psychologically, and emotionally—within their child. This could help moms and dads remain calm when it seems like their child is acting irrationally or overly emotionally.
Second, be open and honest with your son or daughter. Your child is facing a number of complicated challenges during this time, Karon Wright cautions, and if he or she feels that they can’t talk to mom and dad, he or she won’t hesitate to seek out (possibly erroneous) information from friends or the internet. Don’t let other sources govern your child’s knowledge of the world around them. Even if some topics are uncomfortable, encourage your child to always come to you with questions; and whenever possible, interact with them as another responsible, curious individual, not as your baby who needs protection from the world. An remember, part of being open and honest is trying not to judge! Trust your son or daughter to make the best decisions that they can, in accordance with the way you raised them.
Finally, encourage education. The habits students establish during this period will stay with them for the rest of their lives. Therefore, it’s crucial that parents and schools encourage reading and studying. By working with children to foster lifelong learners, adults can counteract the negative impressions that being scholarly is somehow uncool.
Karon Wright has formed these and other ideas through more than ten years as an educational professional, and loves her job every day. When it starts to become too intense, even for her, she is happy to fall back on her outside interests. Wright is a devoted family woman—a mother of two children of her own. She loves doing arts and crafts with her children, and is an avid reader (what better way to demonstrate the importance of reading to children than by doing it yourself?). Her books of choice tend to be spiritual or biographical novels; her favorite authors are Joel Osteen and Pastor T.D. Jakes. She is also passionately invested in her community. Through her sorority, Delta Sigma Theta, Wright has been involved in an active “Get Out The Vote” campaign that helps individuals register to vote and find polling places. All in all, while she loves adolescents and her job at the middle school, Karon Wright also places a high importance on finding fulfillment within her own family and community.
In the future, Karon Wright looks forward to watching her own children grow up and progress through the pivotal adolescent stage. As her career progresses, she wants to continue her own educational involvement and maintain her certifications. But most importantly, Wright wants to work to see school and communities become better integrated in the years to come. Schools are a wonderful resource, full of knowledge and skills, and children are a community’s future; it seems only natural that these two institutions should be better integrated.
To this end, Karon Wright has sat on a number of community-integration-based committees throughout her career:
● Site Based Decision Committee Member, Shackelford JH, August 2003 to May 2006
● Campus Improvement Committee, Boude Storey Middle, August 2007 to May 2008
● New Teacher Support Chairperson, Boude Storey Middle, August 2009 to June 2010
She was also an 8th grade professional learning community leader. Wright truly feels that involving the community with the life of the school is the best way to encourage lifelong learning and help students overcome common issues. Wright also has background knowledge in physical medicine and rehabilitative counseling, and in the future wants to use these skills to greater effect in helping students.