Kirsten Perry, SEL Specialist with Chicago Public Schools and the President of the Illinois School Counselors Association, discusses the evolving role of school counselors in addressing student mental health. Following the ASCA model, school counselors are taking a larger role in Social-Emotional Learning and being more proactive in student development.

About Kirsten
Kirsten Perry is a Social-Emotional Learning Specialist for the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) serving 29 schools in the Englewood and Auburn Gresham neighborhood. Kirsten also serves as the President for the Illinois School Counselor Association (ISCA) and as an adjunct instructor for DePaul University. Prior to this, she served as a K-12 School Counseling Specialist for the Chicago Public Schools for 2 years and as a P-8 school counselor for 7 years. Kirsten was named the National School Counselor of the Year by the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) in 2018 for her work at Lawndale Community Academy. She served as a Master Counselor for the Chicago Public School district for 5 years, mentoring school counselors and assisting with the development of district initiatives. Kirsten also served on the CPS Naviance Advisory Committee for 3 years, where she developed a middle school companion guide to be used district-wide to support Naviance implementation. Kirsten was awarded the CPS Directors Choice Award from the Chicago Public Schools in 2013 for her work with high school matriculation and was named the CPS Site Supervisor of the Year in 2015 for her work supporting school counseling interns. She earned her undergraduate degree in 2006 from the University of Illinois at Chicago with a degree in the Liberal Arts and earned her masters degree in school counseling from DePaul University in 2011 where she also earned the Distinguished Alumni Award in 2018. She is the proud mother of one son who is a Chicago Public School graduate and also a graduate of Roosevelt University where he studied social entrepreneurship. It is her passion to serve at-risk youth and underserved communities by developing programs that work to create change and close the achievement gap.
Connect with her on LinkedIn.
About Erika’s Lighthouse
We are a not-for-profit dedicated to educating and raising awareness about adolescent depression, encouraging good mental health and breaking down the stigma surrounding mental health issues. Our vision is to make sure no young person feels alone in their depression. To become the leading provider of teen depression awareness programs and resources in middle school and high school communities. Our free programs include classroom curriculum, teen clubs and parent engagement resources. Learn more at Erika’s