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March 8, 2018
By Taylor Middleton, media relations assistant
Northwest Missouri State University alumnus Geoff Heckman recently named a finalist for the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) School Counselor of the Year Award, and he credits the education he received at Northwest for his success in the profession.
Heckman graduated from Northwest with a master’s degree in school counseling in 2003.
“I can say that through my program at Northwest, it very much prepared me for the career that I wanted to go into and so much to the point that I felt like day one walking into the job I knew what I was supposed to be doing,” Heckman said.
The ASCA award honors school counseling professionals who devote their careers to serving as advocates for students, helping them achieve success in school and life.
Heckman was named one of six finalists for the ASCA honor last fall. Although he did not win the award, he traveled to Washington, D.C., in January, where ASCA celebrated the finalists’ accomplishments.
Heckman is the counseling department chair at Platte County High School in Platte City, Missouri. He has been in education for 21 years, a school counselor for 14 years, and served as department chair at PCHS for the past four years. He also serves as president of the Missouri School Counselor Association.
Heckman credits many influential instructors throughout his time at Northwest, including Associate Professor of Counseling Dr. Shelly Hiatt
“She mentored me from the very beginning on how to establish a comprehensive school counseling program and how to refine counseling practice,” Heckman said. “I still visit with her about next steps in my school counseling program and professional next steps in my career.”
Heckman also credits Instructor of Psychology Michele Veasey and Associate Professor of Psychology Dr. Jackie Kibler. Veasey was a practicing school counselor when Heckman met her, and she introduced him to leadership within the local school counselor association. That introduction took Heckman to next steps at the state level where they served on the governing board together.
“I am still in contact with many of the people from my program to this day,” Heckman said. “Just having that closeness in the program but also to still be in contact with the University to this day, I know that I can talk to them about anything and not feel like I was just a number. I was a valued part of their program.”
Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
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