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Brent Burnham Honored at Washington, D.C. Gala

Midway, Utah is a long way from Washington, D.C., but Brent Burnham, counselor at Midway Elementary, made the trip during the first week of February to be honored as one of the finest school counselors in the country. “We are extremely proud of Brent and the work he has done,” said Principal Shawn Kelly of Midway Elementary.  “His work has been so wonderful with our children, that this award is well deserved.”

“Mr. Burnham is the first educator from Utah ever honored at this national level,” said Principal Kelly, “so we are particularly pleased for him.  His dedication to his work and our students has been amazing.”

Mr. Burnham was nominated for the award by Holly Todd from Old Mill Elementary.  They both were flown to Washington D.C. where they received  VIP treatment.  “It was overwhelming,” said Mr. Burnham.  “The 5 star treatment and accommodations we received were a lot of fun, but the opportunities we had to network and make new connections was even more important.”

Mr. Burnham and Miss Todd each met with Senators Orin Hatch and Mike Lee.  The meetings with the senators and their staffs included some in-depth discussions about issues that deeply impact school counseling. Following the meeting with the Utah delegation, they attended a Senate briefing with congressional representatives and the leaders of the NEA and the American Federation of Teachers.

“One of my favorite events was the personal tour of the White House,” said Mr. Burnham.  During the tour of the building, the delegation was assigned their own personal Secret Service Agent. They also spent another 45 minutes meeting with the Executive Director of Education at the National Governor’s Association. Again, they were able to discuss, in depth, some of the most pressing issues relating to school counseling.

To culminate the experience in Washington, the ten finalists for the counselor of the year were honored at an Awards Gala at Union Station. Each of the top ten counselors was highlighted in a video presentation hosted by the Washington D.C. news anchors and set to the music of a song written especially for the occasion by Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul and Mary fame. Randy McPherson, from Tennessee was named the Counselor of the Year.

“I feel extremely honored to represent Wasatch County School District and Midway Elementary School and the state of Utah at this venue,” said Mr. Burnham.  “It’s nice to be back home and back to a normal work schedule, but I have to tell you, it was a lot of fun to experience the opportunity to rub shoulders with outstanding educators and leaders like we did during our week in Washington.  It was an experience that will not soon be forgotten...but it’s nice to be back in Midway with my kids.”

BY JOHN MOSS   02/17/2011

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