RMS Counselor Named Missouri Counselor of the Year
The Ritenour Prize Patrol made its debut for the 2020-2021 school year on Sept. 10, 2020 to surprise Matt Berry, a counselor at Ritenour Middle School, with the news that he is the top counselor in the state of Missouri.
Berry was surprised with the announcement that the Missouri School Counselors Association (MSCA) selected him as both the state Middle School Counselor of the Year and Missouri Counselor of the Year.
District leaders and RMS staff, district colleagues and surprised Berry with a socially distanced clap-out and cake in front of the school. Other dignitaries included MSCA Director of Advocacy Dr. Sharon Sevier and state Rep. Raychel Proudie.
The new accolades follow Berry’s honor as the Middle School Counselor of the Year by the St. Louis Suburban School Counselor Association (SLSSCA) in January 2020. He was nominated by Hoech Middle School counselor Leah Jones last year.
Since Berry joined RMS in 2016, he has created meaningful programs that build positive relationships throughout the school. From transforming the teacher’s lounge into a larger, more inviting and nurturing counseling area for students to creating mentoring programs for fathers to volunteer with students who needed homework help and positive behavior supports, Berry has created a caring culture for the Junior Huskies.
Whether he’s working with students in the classroom, leading small groups with students who have specific needs or providing one-on-one counseling, Berry is known for his amazing ability to create a culture where all students feel valued.
“Mr. Berry is a true advocate for our students and families and innately knows how to best meet their needs," said RMS Principal Dr. Brian Rich. "Although he has always gone above and beyond to connect students and families with the resources they need, during the pandemic he has been nothing less than a superhero for our kids, families and our staff members. He has been available on weekends and throughout the summer helping students and families navigate through the struggles associated with the pandemic.”
Berry’s leadership is not limited to RMS and the Ritenour School District. He is currently the Missouri School Counselor Association’s Board of Directors chairman and past president for SLSSCA. During his presidency, he organized the School Counseling Summer Forum which is now a yearly event for
counselors. Over the past 5 years, Berry has presented multiple workshops at the professional counseling conferences and for school districts, including Ritenour.
Sevier said Berry is “the epitome of excellence in leadership, advocacy and school counseling programming.”
Sevier said the selection committee that evaluated nominees for the state honor was impressed by the breadth and depth of his programs that impact a large number of students and the overall school community.
MSCA will formally honor Berry in November. As the Missouri School Counselor of the Year, he will be the state’s nominee to the American School Counselor Association for National School Counselor of the Year; his name will go forward in March 2021. The winner will be announced in the fall of 2021 from the representatives of the 50 states and U.S. territories.