LITTLE FALLS, NJ - A guidance counselor from Passaic Valley High School (PVHS) was recently selected as the 2016-2017 top counselor for Passaic County.
Mariaelena Perosi, director of student personnel services, was selected for the honor by the New Jersey School Counselor Association, Inc. (NJSCA). The association announced the 2017 "Counselor of the County" Awards Program, which honors school counselors from different counties within the state.
The awards luncheon, held on May 19, was sponsored by the Undergraduate Admissions Department of New Jersey City University, located in Jersey City. The award was presented by Jacqueline T. Schumacher, school counselor, NJSCA professional recognition committee co-chair.
According to Dr. JoAnn Cardillo, PVHS superintendent, the award honors professionals who devote their careers to serving as advocates, and often lifesavers, for the nation's students.
"Candidates are selected for this award at their county-level school counselor associations," Cardillo explained. "They are selected because of their ability to deliver an effective school counseling program, which focuses on academic development, career counseling, including personal and social support."
A native of the Passaic Valley area, Perosi has lived in each of the three towns, but has resided in Little Falls the longest.
"I've lived in this town for the past 38 years," said Perosi. "I attended PV and was in the class of 1967. I'm excited that this year marks our 50th high school reunion."
After graduating high school, Perosi went on to receive two masters degrees-first in school counseling at Montclair State University, and the second in educational leadership in the first cohort at William Paterson University. She then worked in the Totowa School District for 22 years, teaching third, fourth, fifth and sixth grade. She was a sixth grade math teacher during her last year of teaching prior to becoming the director of guidance in the district. She then went on to PVHS where she has worked there for the past 17 years. She spent the first two years as a counselor before becoming director of student personnel services.
She revealed that she was shocked when she first learned of being selected, adding that the president of the Passaic County School Counselor Association contacted her to inform her of the selection. In order for someone to be recognized they have to be nominated and voted by their peers, according to Perosi.
" Bill Pantale, guidance counselor at PVHS, wrote on my behalf and the association contacted me to inform me that not only was I selected, but that I was nominated many times," she further added. "Dr. Cardillo introduced me to the state level."
Approximately 18 out of 21 counties were represented at the awards luncheon in Jersey City last Friday night, Perosi said.
"This is the pinnacle of my career and I was so shocked that they called me," she noted. "I was thrilled because Passaic County is so huge. It's quite an honor and I'm humbled to be recognized by the county."
Cardillo added that candidates further distinguish themselves by proving to be leaders of "systematic change and advocates for students."
"It also includes collaborative professionals who seek the success of the whole student in school and in life," she said. "We're very proud of Ms. Perosi for this honor."
For more information on the association, visit www.njsca.org.