Suzy Mansfield, a counselor at Bowman High School since 1992, has received the H.B. McDaniel Award for 2008-09, recognizing her excellence in the field of counseling and guidance. The award is named for H.B. McDaniel, who is fondly known as the father of school counseling and guidance in California.
Filled with powerful anecdotes of students she has guided to success, Mansfield’s nomination praises her for “doing whatever it takes to reach at-risk teens.” During her 16 years as a guidance counselor, Mansfield has inspired countless “of promise” students to change the destiny of their lives.
Mansfield has worked in alternative education since 1984, first as a teacher and for the last 16 years as Bowman’s head counselor. She has been involved in many professional development trainings, workshops and conferences where she has both attended and presented. She also serves as an adjunct professor for the University of La Verne’s counseling credential department.
While at Bowman, Mansfield designed a walk-in counseling program based on the idea that no paperwork, no report or thing is more important than listening to a student. She started a series of guidance lessons in the classrooms aimed at improving communication and study skills, and looked for resources for career development and academic concerns.
As a founding member of the SCV School & Business Alliance, Mansfield helped write the Hart District’s digital high school grant which equipped Bowman classrooms with computers and technology and led to upgraded materials in the computer lab. As Bowman’s counseling staff grew, Mansfield was able to add support groups and a peer counseling class and worked to provide concurrent enrollment opportunities for Bowman students at College of the Canyons.
Under her guidance, Bowman’s Academic Performance Index has increased an astonishing 312 points to 692, higher than many comprehensive high schools in the state. The school graduated a record 276 students in 2008, and has demonstrated a 97.5 average graduation rate for the last four years, with 91 percent of Bowman’s graduating seniors enrolling in college or community college.
“Suzy Mansfield never gives up on kids,” said Bowman Principal Robin Geissler. “Due to her tremendous courage and dedication, thousands of ‘at risk’ students have graduated from Bowman High School and have gone on to colleges and technical schools, but more importantly have gone on to lead successful lives.
“Suzy leads by example and ‘walks the talk’ that failure is not an option at Bowman High School,” Geissler concluded. “I have never encountered a more dedicated, gifted and brilliant educator.”
Mansfield will accept her award at the Stanford Educational Research Center on the Stanford University campus in Palo Alto on June 20. The Bowman staff celebrated with cake and accolades in the staff lounge last week.