School Counselors As Program Leaders: Applying Leadership Contexts to School Counseling.
As a profession, school counseling is experiencing a paradigm shift from ancillary service provider to full partner in the education process (Johnson, 2000). As school counselors struggle with divergent demands (Burnham & Jackson, 2000) and divergent definitions of their professional roles (Herr, 2002), a consistent message is that school counselors must become leaders of their programs, advocates for counseling and for students, and representatives of the profession (Dahir, 2001; Gysbers & Henderson, 2001). As leaders of school counseling programs, school counselors have a role in addressing the problems of today’s schools. Various authors have identified the need for school counselors to lead in program design and advocacy (Baker, 2000; Hatch & Bowers, 2002; Herr, 2001), to become involved in school reform (Adelman & Taylor, 2002; Bemak, 2000), and to accept certain organizational roles in the school (Clark & Stone, 2000a, 2000b). In looking to improve the educational experience for students, school counselors need to lead in multiculrural awareness efforts, pupil assistance committees, mentoring programs, student leadership development, connection with external constituencies, and political activism (Clark & Stone). School counselors also need to be leaders in championing healthy choices, respect for students and families, social justice, healthy environments for schools, and most of all, the development of students and families (Cole & Ryan, 1997; Kurpius & Rozecki, 1992; Smaby & Daugherty, 1995).