LIVINGSTON, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – A counselor from Livingston Middle School has been named the 2022 School Counselor of the Year.

The American School Counselor Association selected Alma Lopez as the overall winner, beating finalists from across the country.

“I’m super excited about the opportunity,” said Alma Lopez to YourCentralValley.com about the win. “Super excited to serve as the face to the school counseling profession right now.”

Lopez says her role at Livingston Middle School is to help the children develop the best version of themselves, develop their goals, and put into action plans to fulfill those goals.

“To help young people increase their self-awareness and social awareness by understanding themselves and other people a bit better,” said Lopez.

According to the American School Counselor Association, the 2,500-student Livingston Unified School District had only two school counselors when Lopez started working there. It was her advocacy efforts in 2015 that contributed to the district’s decision to expand the number to five.

Lopez won the California round of the award and was selected as the 2021 School Counselor of the Year by the California Association of School Counselors. That qualified her for the national award, which she was named as the winner in November.

“Receiving this award is super meaningful,” said Lopez. “I was never considering it – I’m just doing my job.”

Alma Lopez will be going to Washington D.C. on Saturday to spend a week meeting the other contestants who were in running for the School Counselor of the Year. They will also have the opportunity to meet with the surgeon general and secretary of education.