2021 BOARD OF DIRECTORS CANDIDATES

Click the candidate names below to learn more!

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JUSTIN CURRAN

JUSTIN CURRAN RESUME

My name is Justin Curran and I was born and raised in Tucson, AZ.  I attended the University of Arizona for undergraduate school and Northern Arizona for graduate school, receiving my Masters in School Counseling in 2011.  Though I am passionate about my profession and helping students succeed, I define myself by the other passions that I have been fortunate to experience in my personal life. 

I married my lovely wife two years ago and we are parents to two pugs who think that they are humans; we are working on bringing a real human into the world.  My competitiveness pushed me to coach Varsity Basketball for the last decade, I continue to play basketball and strength train but I also appreciate self-reflection so hiking, reading, and playing/listening to music help me balance and calm my mind.  I ride all types of boards- snowboards in the winter, surfboards in the summer and longboards when it’s nice outside.  I volunteer at A Light Network, a local non-profit dedicated to helping ill children and within the last year I have taught myself and started a screen-printing side business.  My family and friends are priorities to me and when this life is done, I hope to have made an impact on my community.
POSITION STATEMENT
I am seeking an opportunity to serve on the AZSCA Board of Directors to further support the School Counseling Profession as well as promote and represent the work that School Counselors do in a meaningful and impactful way.

I want to continue to grow and develop my leadership skills and the opportunity to do so while serving on a committee with like-minded professionals and honoring the job that I am passionate about is an opportunity that I look forward to.

I am confident that if selected, I can contribute and be part of the team that can improve and evolve Arizona's Counseling Association.
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AMY DAVIDSON

AMY DAVIDSON RESUME

My name is Amy Davidson, and I am school counselor with more than 30 years of experience in education. I started my career in Los Angeles teaching students with learning differences. Over the ten years that I worked at Westmark School, I had the pleasure of teaching reading, as well as middle school science, and eventually became an Academic Counselor. From there I moved to Summit View School, starting as a teacher and Workability Coordinator, and quickly becoming the College Counselor and Assistant Director of the high school, so I have extensive experience both in and out of the classroom.

My favorite part of being an educator has always been working with students as they discover their strengths and interests, and plan for their future. I am happy to be working at Ironwood Ridge High School as a school counselor and to have been given the opportunity to work with so many different students with so many different interests. I am always amazed at the different paths the students take and the wonderful goals they set for themselves. Building those relationships and helping students find those paths is the basis of all that I do.

Having spent time growing up in Michigan, Mississippi and Florida, I call Tucson my home having lived here twice now with 20 years in Los Angeles between those times. I went to the University of Arizona for my undergraduate degree (Go Wildcats!) and California Lutheran University for my master’s degree. I also took classes at Cal State Northridge and was in the first cohort of the Certificate Program in College Counseling at UCLA Extension.
POSITION STATEMENT
I have spent my professional life being an advocate for students and am ready to expand that role to advocate for my fellow counselors. This last year especially has shown the importance of school counselors and I would like to join the work our AZSCA Board has been doing to promote our profession and provide professional development and resources.

With the light that has been shown on our work and the work our Board has been doing in the political arena, I see this as a time to step up and add my voice to those working to gain for us the resources and recognition our profession needs to be able to provide services to all of our students. I want to be part of the change and the positivity that is our profession and am willing to make the commitment to do so.

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KAMMIE FURMAN

KAMMIE FURMAN RESUME

My name is Kammie Furman and I am running for the AzSCA board. My professional background is in mental health and academia. I hold a master's in psychology, clinical mental health counseling and human services counseling. For the past three school years I have been a school counselor in a rural, northern Arizona K-8 public school. I am passionate about improving both my district and other Arizona districts school counseling departments through encouraging training, networking and support. 
POSITION STATEMENT
I believe my professional experiences and academic experiences will make me a unique individual with insight that is dynamic, worldly, and invested. I have a strong desire to become more involved in this professional and I believe this is an excellent opportunity to do so.
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ANGEL McSWAIN

ANGEL MCSWAIN RESUME

My name is Angel McSwain and I am the counselor at Desert Meadows in Laveen. I come all the way from the metro Atlanta, GA area where I have been a school counselor for many years. This will be my 21st year in education, my 20th year as a school counselor and my first year as a counselor in AZ. I have worked with students from PreK to 8th grade and I absolutely love it! Counseling is not just my job, it’s my passion, it’s my ministry!

I have my B.S. degree in criminal justice and my M.S. degree in school counseling. I believe that my degrees opened the door for me as a counselor, but the experiences & training I have gained over the years, professionally & personally, have truly prepared me to work with and help others. There is no greater satisfaction than helping others to reach their full potential.

I have had the privilege of raising three unique children with my awesome husband, Dexter, who is also a school counselor. Through my experiences of raising our children, Christian, Christopher & Charity who are all “adults”, I have a greater understanding of the importance of connecting with my students. Building Healthy Relationships has been one of my primary themes for over 10 years, and I believe this focus has allowed me to bridge the gap between all facets of relationships. I will continue to strive building healthy relationships within every organization I work.
POSITION STATEMENT
My goal as a school counselor is to help all students reach their full potential in all areas of life. As a member of the AZ Board of Directors, I would advocate that all school counselors be afforded the opportunity to use their knowledge, skills and abilities through the implementation of a comprehensive guidance program, including college & career readiness lessons and activities. This can only be achieved through awareness of the school counselors roles and impact on student achievement, as well as collaboration with leaders who make critical decisions for educators and students throughout Arizona.
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FRANNIE NEAL

FRANNIE NEAL RESUME

Frannie Neal (she/her/hers) is a Professional School Counselor (Kinder-2nd Grade) at Grijalva Elementary School in Tucson, Arizona. Ms. Neal previously worked in college counseling at the Metropolitan Education Commission, Palo Verde High Magnet School, and Salpointe Catholic High School as well as the school counselor at both Collier and Gale Elementary Schools. With her extensive professional service roles and leadership experiences, Ms. Neal actively advocates to create systemic change at the national, state, regional, and local levels with the Counselors for Social Justice National Division, Donors Choose Teacher Advocate Program, Arizona School Counselor Association, Southern Arizona Trauma Informed Network, Pima County Superintendent’s Office Healthy and Safe Schools Program Initiative, and multiple teams within the Grijalva Elementary School. Ms. Neal is passionate about crisis counseling, adverse childhood experiences, influences of social media and technology on student success, and social justice issues in counseling, specifically on systematic oppression and barriers faced by the LGTBQ+ community, immigrants, and refugees. Finally, Ms. Neal disseminated her work through peer-reviewed publications and presentations at national, state, and local conferences and recently published a chapter in Responding to Critical Cases in School Counseling.
POSITION STATEMENT
Advocacy, leadership, collaboration, and systemic change are the four key themes for school counselors as part of the ASCA National Model. These are key themes for our counseling associations as well, and I hope to serve with the AzSCA Board of Directors to advocate for our students, counselors, community, and profession. I hope to serve as a director to (1) be a voice for our community and students as we continue to evolve our profession, (2) collaborate and connect with school counselors across Arizona to provide necessary resources, communication, and support, (3) empower our student members to become leaders within AzSCA as counseling students are the future of our profession, (4) engage our members and conduct ongoing outreach for our initiatives and events, and (5) actively listen to our members and ensure that we coordinate programs and initiatives in the strategic plan that meet membership needs. With AzSCA, I will work tirelessly to accomplish these goals. I believe that my skills, talents, personality, and passions will benefit the Board of Directors. My effective communication, detail orientation, motivation, teamwork outlook, and determination to see a project to fruition would complement this role. My strong desire to fight for social justice for my students coupled with my professional experiences and active involvement in several counseling associations make me a strong candidate for this role. If elected to the Board of Directors, I would strongly advocate and collaborate to ensure systemic change. Thank you for your time, energy, and consideration.
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BRENDA VARGAS

BRENDA VARGAS RESUME

Brenda Vargas is a natural born leader who advocates for students and the critical need for more professional school counselors daily. Her current position as the Director of Counseling and Social Services for the Chandler Unified School District provides her with significant opportunities to advocate for our profession. Brenda is responsible for leading all school counselors and social workers district wide. She has developed procedures, regulations, and training used throughout all K-12 schools allowing professional school counselors to promote student wellness, mental health and provide information and resources to students, parents, and staff. She has provided researched based suicide prevention training for all staff in contact with students including certified staff, classified staff and administrators. As a member of the Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents, and the Chandler Education Foundation, Brenda connects with key supporters of professional school counselor efforts. Through her active participation in community leadership activities, she has built collaborative partnerships to support students. Before being named to this role in 2018, Brenda was the assistant high school principal with oversight and responsibility for the Special Education and Career and Technical Education department ensuring that all students received a well-rounded and engaging curriculum driven by student interest and learning opportunities. She credits this role with teaching her that the impossible can be achieved by remaining grounded in what students, staff and parents need, having a willingness to have courageous conversations and blending in a dose of healthy self-awareness with unstoppable faith to achieve the impossible. 

Ms. Vargas’s career spans nearly 20 years, 16 years of which have been at Chandler Unified, where she has grown and evolved from teacher, to counselor, to administration. Ms. Vargas earned her Master’s Degree in Educational Administration and certificate in School Counseling and a Bachelor’s of Science in Special Education from Cleveland State University in Ohio.  Additionally, she is a certified trainer for Mental Health First Aid and ASIST (suicide prevention).
POSITION STATEMENT
Even though I grew up in the US, Puerto Rico and Ohio, English was not my first language.  Growing up you see I saw the world very differently than most I lived between 2 cultures as my identity. For example, owning a pair of blue jeans was a rite of passage of being American, something I did not have. Although I struggled in school, as I got older I was met with the help of kind school counselors. I was placed in classes that assisted and challenged me.  When the cultural differences were overwhelming, they provided a safe place for me to go. These strong figures encouraged me, listened to me, and empowered me to go after my dreams and achieve my goals.  All these years later, I still consider these counselors personal heroes.  In part because of their dedication, I am the first person in my family to graduate from college and obtain an advanced degree.  I have always been inspired to work in education; these strong role models, and the students I serve inspire me to be a part of this board.

Today more than ever, our students need advocates, support and safety.  Our profession is uniquely positioned to carry student voices beyond the school level.  Student needs are constantly changing and during the unusual circumstance of 2020, we know more than ever how much professional school counselors are needed.

Every student has a story.  We are the front line of hearing, understanding, and responding to those stories, whether it is a class change, suicidal thinking or struggling to navigate school/world, we make a difference.  We can empower these students!  And, we can empower others to support us.
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SHILOH WHEELER

SHILOH WHEELER RESUME

My name is Shiloh Wheeler and I am a district school counselor for Thatcher Unified Schools.  Thatcher has been my home base for the last 12 years and I love the small town life- for the most part. (I do enjoy a good trip to “The big city” from time to time). I was born in Gilbert and raised in Mesa until my family decided small towns were a good idea and we moved from Parker to Kearny to Williams. It was a great adventure and I graduated from Ray High School in Kearny!  I continued my education at Arizona State University, then took some time to work and travel.  Finally, it was time to “get serious” and I obtained my Master’s degree at Seton Hall University in New Jersey where I was currently living and teaching. 

I was so happy to have the opportunity to return to my home state and work as a school counselor. I love what I do because every day is different and each day I work with amazing students.  I believe all students have great potential and they need people along the way to help them figure out how to unlock that potential.  I am privileged to join them in their journey for just a short time.
Outside of work, I love to travel. My husband and I have one daughter who is 10. We have hosted several exchange students because we love learning about different cultures.  In the time of COVID, I rediscovered a love of reading and the outdoors.  Last March when schools closed, you could find me working from my hammock in the backyard. 

Having served a term on the board, I am excited about the potential to keep the passion and work going to move us even further as an association. I am also excited about the opportunity to dive a little deeper into the immediate needs of our members and how we, as an association, can better meet those needs.

POSITION STATEMENT
What an exciting time to be on the Board of Directors! It is amazing what our association has accomplished in just a few short years, and it is my privilege to be an active part of the board. We have pushed boundaries and been successful in creating awareness around our profession, yet, we have much more to do! I know there are numerous ways I can contribute to the board to continue this forward momentum.

Our focus this year is for all school counselors to receive 301 funds, and we know this fight will be long. Long-term goals are a work in progress and can take time. We have created the space and structure that will enable us to continue with this and other initiatives as we push forward into the future.

Without losing focus on our long-term goals, as a Director, I would also focus on various short-term goals that provide for the immediate needs of our members. We need to engage more with our members and provide for our “now needs”. Perhaps the need is accessible and relevant professional development or connecting with other school counselors or just an outlet to vent, discuss challenges and receive peer support. Now, more than ever, as the world of school counseling changes, we need support as we rethink our programs and how to reach our ever-changing students in this post-pandemic world.

I appreciate your support as we move forward, and I look forward to working on your behalf.