Community Profile: Meet McKinney North High School’s Senior Advisor | McKinney Courier-Gazette

In honor of National School Counselor Week, the McKinney Courier-Gazette spotlights one of the many school counselors who serve McKinney ISD.

Debra Fort was Senior Counselor at McKinney North High School for 10 years. The current school year marks its 29and year in education. She attended Texas A&M Commerce and earned a BS and MS (“GO LIONS!!,” she says). Fort has worked with elementary, middle and high school students throughout his career. She was recently named 2021 MISD Counselor of the Year as well as 2022 TSCA – Texas High School Counselor of the Year.

How did you get into your job?

I was the first person in my family to attend and graduate from college. I had to go through the journey on my own, so I decided I wanted to be a high school counselor to help students with their post-secondary education and career plans. I enjoy helping teens develop skills essential to their future success, whatever their plans after high school.

How would you describe the role of a school counsellor?

The role of the school counselor is an important part of the educational environment. School counselors work with parents, teachers, and administrators to help improve student performance in the classroom. Counselors respond to students’ social and emotional needs and help them explore their interests and potential career options. We handle an assortment of responsibilities such as: referrals to outside agencies for mental health issues, suicide prevention, mediations, individual and small group counselling, classroom orientation lessons, schedule changes, college and career preparation, and overall academic support.

What has been your greatest career moment to date?

My greatest career moment to date was being named MISD Counselor of the Year 2021 as well as TSCA – Texas High School Counselor of the Year 2022. I love being a school counselor and I can’t imagine a different career path. It’s wonderful to know that my hard work and dedication has been recognized locally and nationally.

What brought you to McKinney ISD?

In 1993, I started my career in education with McKinney ISD as a specialist teacher. I left the district in 1999 to pursue a career as a school counselor. After working in East and West Texas, I returned to MISD as Special Education Coordinator in 2007. When the opportunity arose to return to the world of school counseling, I accepted the Senior Counselor position at McKinney North High School in 2012.

What do you enjoy most about working with students?

I enjoy getting to know students on a personal level and guiding them through their high school years. It’s exciting to see students mature emotionally and socially over four years. They change so much between their first year and their senior year.

Are you a native Texan?

Yes, I am a proud Texan native of Bonham, Texas.

What is your fondest childhood memory?

Summer vacation with my family. Lots of wonderful road trips.

What is your favorite neighborhood restaurant?

Torchy Tacos

what is your favorite movie?

The Lord of the Rings Trilogy

Tell our readers about your family.

I live in McKinney with my husband, Darren and my son Parker. Darren and I will be celebrating our 20th birthdayand wedding anniversary June 1. We have been together for 27 years in total. Our son Parker is a junior at McKinney North High School and plays on the varsity football team. GO BIG!!

What are your hobbies?

I love to travel and visit new places. My goal is to visit all 50 states. I love watching HGTV and home decorating as well as gardening and landscaping.

If you were on a desert island, what is the element you could not live without?

A fire starter survival tool.

Tell our readers something about you that they would never guess to be true.

When I retire I want to buy a Honda Gold Wing Trike to haul behind our future RV. We plan to hit the road and visit so many cool and exciting places.

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