• Shannon Albert: School counselor, Benner Elementary School

    albert19 Shannon Albert calls herself an “odd duck” in Centre County. After all, she’s one of few who didn’t study at Penn State, but rather received her undergraduate degree in psychology from the University of Pittsburgh and has a master’s degree from Duquesne University.

    But it wasn’t long after graduation that she moved to Lion Country for her first fulltime job at the Bellefonte Area School District – first working at the high school -- and showing her Pittsburgh pride by hanging the flags from the schools she calls her alma maters. And if you walk into the counselor’s office, you can bet they’re still hanging.

    The longtime school counselor first started in 2008 at Bellefonte Area High School, and was transferred to Benner Elementary School about eight years ago, filling an opening after another counselor retired.

    Now, she’s bringing her experience as a professional and mother to a role she calls “rewarding.”

    “There’s something special about the connection with the kids,” Albert said. “I really get to know them on a different level and see them grow up. Sometimes you see them more than their families do. I think about that with my own kids -- day care and teachers see them more than you, so you really get to care for those kids like your own.”

    Albert’s role as a school counselor is one that allows her to work with students on skills beyond academics and athletics.

    “My job is unique,” she said. “I don’t have to teach them academics, I can teach them social and problem solving skills and get into the emotional and developmental (aspect). I make sure kids have a good time and feel great while they’re here and that’s kind of awesome, because I get to make kids smile every day.”

    The Bradford native is a mother of three who said she loves Disney. It started several years ago after she and her husband took their first trip together as a couple to Disney World. Now, they make it an annual family vacation.

    *By Brit Milazzo, public relations director, BASD