A Freshman Among Staff

Coming from McGee’s Middle, Katherine Moynihan is one of many new staff members this year. Taking up the new role of freshman councilor, she is here to help usher in to the next four years of their lives.

Moynihan first became inspired in mental health in high school when a counselor gave “uninspiring statements” to her and her friends.

“I decided to pursue a career in the mental health field because I had a school counselor when I was in high school that was truly awful at her job,” Moynihan said.  “She did not encourage students, she was negative. She just clearly didn’t want to be there. I decided to become a school counselor to help make sure that students would always have someone who supported and helped them, and lifted them up.”

Since then, Moynihan has gone to pursue counseling and has served at both elementary and middle schools before her current job. In need of a full time position in the right place at the right time, she found her calling.

“I was lucky enough to work with Mrs. Swartz last year at McGee’s Middle School,” Moynihan said.  “I told her when she was given the opportunity here, that if a space ever opened up I would really love to come work here.  Over the summer, a half time position became available, but I needed a full time spot.  Thankfully, a full time position ended up being approved.  I received a phone call from human resources and was offered the position. I enthusiastically accepted.”

High school counselors have to work with each of their students individually, helping them deal with social and academic issues, as well as preparing them for college and life after senior year. Moynihan finds the environment to be very different compared to what she is used to.

“I have worked at all three levels, elementary middle and now high school,” Moynihan said. “I think that high school is very fast paced, and there is more focus on very specific goals.  I think all the students have a more tangible goal in mind now, and they can see where their hard work is leading.”

Moynihan has a large history with Johnston County schools, having spent many years working with McGee’s Elementary and Middle. She now has the opportunity to see many of her former students as they prepare to enter life beyond high school.

“I feel incredibly lucky, because I began my career in Johnston County at Dixon Road Elementary School.  So some of the students who are current juniors were in kindergarten my first year in the county.  I was then with them for five years before moving up to McGee’s Middle.   The following year those same students came up to the middle school.  I’ve been with most of the juniors almost their entire school career.  It’s the same with the seniors who I’ve had since they were in first grade.  I am so incredibly proud of every single student.  I feel blessed that I get to be here as they are achieving so much and growing into such wonderful young adults.”