Stacey Hunt said she didn’t hesitate when leaders at University View Academy asked her to leave the classroom to become a middle school counselor. Mrs. Hunt was teaching third-grade math and saw the move as a bonus. “I used to have a classroom with 25 kids. Now, I have 954 of them. I enjoy doing it. I like helping the kids and the families,” she explained.
As a counselor, Mrs. Hunt guides students in academics and sometimes emotional issues. Middle school is a time when students become more independent and learn more about themselves. Mrs. Hunt says she works closely with the high school counselors to make sure her middle schoolers are prepared and have the building blocks in academics to be ready for the upper grades. She is one of eight counselors that comprise the team at University View Academy. Stacey can rely on her experience of 22 years of teaching, three with UVA, to help with the most complex issues. “I love it. I wish I started earlier,” she said excitedly. “I feel like I touch more people’s lives this way,” she added.
Mrs. Hunt’s enthusiasm captured the attention of Middle School Principal Lekisha Chambers, who observed, “Her superpower is that she also manages to maintain the best notes ever in our online systems and on paper as a backup! Metaphorically speaking, Stacey is the glue that keeps us connected to our students and families.” The connection is what Mrs. Hunt craves. Although UVA is in the online environment and not the traditional brick and mortar school setting, Stacey marveled at how relationships can develop into closeness with students. “You can still get to know the kids and families even though you’re not with them every day,” she explained. Her contact tools are the phone or video conference via computer, and she prides herself on being prompt in responding to requests for help or to answer questions. Surprisingly, Mrs. Hunt said she hasn’t dealt with much discussion about COVID-19, although it impacts schools and how they currently provide education. She admitted the pandemic is a driving force for parents looking for the best possible fit for their students, bringing them to UVA. “With all of the great technology here, the curriculum we offer, the administration, and other staff, I like being part of the growth we’re going to see in the future,” she predicted.