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Ritenour Counselor Named Finalist for National School Counselor of the Year

Matt BerryMatthew Berry, a Ritenour counselor currently serving as the interim director of Husky Academy, was named one of five finalists for the National School Counselor of the Year by the American School Counselor Association.

Berry will vie for the top national award along with finalists from Georgia, California, Wisconsin and Texas. In early November, finalists will be interviewed in the Washington, D.C. area. The winner will be announced in early winter. The winner and finalists will be honored in Washington, D.C. in February.

During the 2020-2021 school year, the Missouri School Counselor Association selected Berry, who had been a counselor at Ritenour Middle School for four years, as the Missouri School Counselor of the Year. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, his formal Missouri recognition ceremony was delayed. He was formally honored in September 2021 in Jefferson City by the Missouri School Counselors Association.

Superintendent Dr. Chris Kilbride said Berry reflects the very best of what school counselors need to be for students and families.

“As an extraordinary advocate for our students and families, Mr. Berry brings the best of social emotional learning to the forefront of everything he does,” said Kilbride. “He goes above and beyond to build strong relationships with students and help them recognize the tools they have within themselves to build resiliency and reach their goals.”

Berry is known for his tireless efforts that go well outside the school day to connect with students, which have included home visits, small support groups and opportunities for families to build stronger relationships with their children. 

At the start of the 2021-2022 school year, Berry transitioned from Ritenour Middle School to lead Husky Academy, which serves at-risk youth in grades 5-12 in a non-traditional school setting. 

In addition to his roles in Ritenour and as the Missouri Counselor of the Year, Berry has been a leader among his counseling colleagues throughout the region and state. He has served as the chair of the board of directors for the MSCA for the last two years and is past president of the St. Louis Suburban School Counselor Association (SLSSCA). In January 2020, Berry earned accolades as the Middle School Counselor of the Year by SLSSCA.