Long-time educator and school counselor Heather Bushelman will join the staff at the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) as program coordinator for comprehensive school counseling in the Office of Teaching and Learning. She will begin her duties on Dec. 20.
Bushelman has been an educator for 19 years. After five years in an elementary classroom, she decided to become a school counselor. During the past 14 years she has created three comprehensive counseling programs in Warren and Boone counties.
Damien Sweeney, Ed.D., director of KDE’s Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and the former program coordinator for comprehensive school counseling, is excited to have Bushelman join KDE and said her skills and knowledge will be beneficial in her new role. She will work alongside school counselors from across the Commonwealth to equip them with best practices.
“We are so excited to have Heather onboard with us at KDE,” Sweeney said. “I have had the pleasure of working with her on a number of occasions and I know that she will lead the work knowledgably and with compassion. We can’t wait for Heather to get started. Her leadership with our school counselors will be invaluable.”
As the program coordinator for comprehensive school counseling, Bushelman will oversee minimum high school graduation requirements, Individual Learning Plans and accelerated learning, including Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, Cambridge International and dual credit. She also will help co-lead the work on a Kentucky framework for social and emotional learning.
“Heather understands how important it is to meet every child’s social and emotional needs. If a child is struggling on either one of those fronts, we know they will have a much harder time focusing on their studies in the classroom,” said Commissioner of Education Jason E. Glass. “Her knowledge and dedication will be a benefit to students, families and communities across the Commonwealth.”
Bushelman, who says her passion is ensuring all students in Kentucky have their needs met by training, collaborating and coaching all stakeholders, is looking forward to this latest challenge.
“I am beyond excited to accept this position. Working with our school counselors and stakeholders at all levels statewide is truly a dream job and blessing,” she said. “Our counselors are among the top in the nation and we will continue to strive to do what is best for our students, staff and communities through collaboration and teamwork.”
Bushelman has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Morehead State University and a master’s and Rank 1 in elementary and secondary counseling from Western Kentucky University.
She currently serves as elementary vice president of the Kentucky School Counselor Association (KSCA) and in July 2022 will assume the position of president-elect. For three years she has served on the KDE’s School Counselor Advisory Council and most recently on the Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Task Force. She was recognized for her achievements when she was named the 2022 Kentucky School Counselor of the Year.
Bushelman has offered training through statewide presentations focusing on SEL within the Multi-Tiered Systems of Supports model and data-driven school counseling at the KSCA state conference, Kentucky Administrators’ Conference and Rise Up for Resilience in Daviess County. Nationally, she has presented for Texas and California, and has been chosen twice to present at the American School Counselor’s Association national conferences.
Bushelman lives in Boone County with her husband, Eddy, and two children, Kendall, 14, and Eddy, 11.