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ON EDUCATING LARUE: Joanna Newton accepts guidance counselor position

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By Ron Benningfield

Joanna Newton, LaRue County High School’s new guidance counselor, brings with her a great amount of experience in guiding others down their college and career paths.

A lot of that experience was gained in higher education where she has worked for 10 years. 

“I started as an admissions counselor with Midway College and progressed to the Director of Online Admissions,” said Newton. “Looking for options to work one-on-one with students, I began working with Bluegrass Community and Technical College as a student services specialist.”

While there, her roles included student recruitment, new student orientation, and advising. Most recently, she served as the West Central Kentucky Outreach Counselor for Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority. 

“Most people are familiar with KHEAA, in part, due to the KEES scholarship,” she said. “Working with KHEAA I was responsible for a nine-county territory promoting college and career readiness to students, both traditional and nontraditional.”

Her experience has left her familiar with the college admissions process, scholarship opportunities, and financial aid.   

She acquired her undergraduate degree from Eastern Kentucky University, majoring in psychology, and earned her master’s degree in mental health counseling from Lindsey Wilson College.

“When pursuing my master’s in education, my goal was to become a professional school counselor,” she said. “I took the long way around to get here, but I am so grateful to LaRue County High School for providing me with this opportunity.”

The position became vacant as Kristi Wright, former LCHS counselor, left to be a guidance counselor with Hardin County Schools at the Early College and Career Center under construction in Elizabethtown.

LCHS Principal Kyle Goodlett said Newton possesses the qualities he was seeking to fill the vacancy.

“The skills Ms. Newton has in dealing with college/career education – scholarships, admission, financial aid – will really benefit our students.”

Newton, who will begin her duties Feb. 17, already has a vision for what she hopes to accomplish.

“Ultimately, I hope to provide students with the resources and tools they need in order to pursue their college and career goals,” she said. “I want all LCHS students to be successful now and after graduation.”

She and her husband Aaron recently moved to Nelson County where they foster dogs from Barktown Rescue in Bardstown. Currently, they have a bull mastiff that is looking for his forever home. 

“Our only ‘child’ is a 6-year-year old hound dog, Rico,” she said. “We rescued Rico from the shelter and couldn't ask for a better dog.”

The new guidance counselor also takes part in community theater.

“I have been involved with theaters in Frankfort, Danville, and Bardstown,” she said.