Belia Martinez. Photo courtesy of Dallas ISD.

A counselor at Hillcrest High School has been named Dallas ISD’s counselor of the year.

Belia Martinez has been at Hillcrest for six years. She won the award for her “meticulous work” in auditing transcripts, for supporting students and for contributing to district counselors.

According to DISD, counselors “promote and support the academic excellence and personal well-being of students by helping them focus on academic, personal, social, and career development.”

This year, Martinez has put her leadership skills to work, as Hillcrest brought in three new counselors. She held meetings every week, aided in daily decision-making and keeps an open-door policy.

Arleshia Okoli. Photo courtesy of Dallas ISD.

Principals nominate counselors for the recognition, and top-scoring nominees move on to become finalists. Only one is chosen for the honor.

Arleshia Okoli, a counselor at W.T. White, was the counselor’s choice award finalist. Her colleagues described her as someone “who truly cares for each student’s future. She established strong and lasting relationships with students and their parents. Whether working with a student in crisis or a student who simply needed to talk, Okoli made that student feel like they were the most important person in the world. She is a shining example of servant leadership and a role model.”

Martinez and the finalists were celebrated in a virtual event.

Hillcrest’s principal, Joseph Sotelo, also received district-wide recognition earlier this year when he was named the principal of the year.


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