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COPPERAS COVE – For just the second time in the district’s history, a Copperas Cove ISD counselor has won a prestigious state award.

Martin Walker Elementary School counselor Hillary Newton was selected for a 2023 CREST Award for counseling excellence by the Texas Counseling Association for outstanding service to students.

The CREST Award (Counselors Reinforcing Excellence for Students in Texas) recognizes school counselors across the state who demonstrate continuous improvement, leadership and engagement as well as the role of their school counseling programs in students’ academic, personal, social and career development.

“This award recognizes the hard work put in to the counseling program at Martin Walker,” Newton said. “I am honored to get to work with the amazing Martin Walker community to improve the lives and achievement of students on our campus. Being recognized by the Texas Counseling Association shows that I am making a difference in the lives of students and it strengthens my commitment to continue to do that.”

Newton has been with Copperas Cove ISD for 14 years and at Martin Walker Elementary the entire time, with her time as a teacher and now three years as a counselor.

“Mrs. Newton is there for kids in whatever they need all day, every day,” Martin Walker Principal Mrs. Breanne Turner said. “She works closely with staff members to identify student needs and works with students individually, in small groups and as whole classes to meet those needs. In the hustle and bustle of her job as an elementary school counselor, she keeps her focus and priority on kids. She has built relationships with each one of our students and is loved dearly by every person on campus. She makes Martin Walker a better place to be.”

Newton is the second counselor to earn this recognition from CCISD, after Amy Simpson earned the award in 2022, while a counselor at National Blue Ribbon School House Creek Elementary. Simpson earned the award, again, this year before she was approved as CCISD’s new Director of Behavior Support Services at November’s Board of Trustees meeting.

“School counselors provide support to their campus and students in ways that are immeasurable, with the ultimate goal of positive student outcomes academically, socially and emotionally,” Simpson said. “In all things, they advocate for change and growth and consistently look for ways to improve student and staff culture on their campus.  This, most assuredly, applies to Mrs. Newton. Earning the CREST Award signifies her commitment to the success of staff and students each and every day. Defining the role of a school counselor is one thing—going above and beyond that scope defines the work that Mrs. Newton accomplishes on a daily basis.”

Newton and Simpson will be recognized together at the 19th annual Professional School Counselor Conference in San Antonio in February.