Skip To Main Content

Close Mobile Menu ( Don't delete it )

Mobile Utility

Header Top

Header Utility

Header Bottom

Mobile Trigger

Breadcrumb

Meet Your 2024 County School Counselors of the Year

Meet Your 2024 County School Counselors of the Year

The San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE) recently surprised three school counselors at their campuses to let them know they were named 2024 San Diego County Counselors of the Year. 

This year’s honorees include:

  • Diego Arias, Loma Verde Elementary School in the Chula Vista Elementary School District - elementary school level
  • Candia Sierra London, Greenfield Middle School in the Cajon Valley Union School District - middle school level
  • Eryn Barker, Bonsall High School in Bonsall Unified School District - high School level

“Our school counselors play an enormous role in the success of students and schools as we continue technological and cultural shifts affecting our children,” said San Diego County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Paul Gothold. “I congratulate this year’s honorees and thank all counselors for their impact supporting students, schools, and families throughout San Diego County.” 

The School Counselor of the Year awards are sponsored by North Island Credit Union. Each honoree was awarded a $500 check from the credit union. The counselors will be highlighted and recognized during an in-person event in April.

In addition, three special awards in school counseling leadership – Advocate of the Year, Administrator of the Year, and Community-Based Organization of the Year – were announced this week.

  • Dawn Cuizon, director II college and career readiness for the Grossmont Union High School District, received the Administrator of the Year award
  • Vivian Carranco, content area specialist, College & Career Readiness for Escondido Union High School District, was presented the School Counselor Advocate of the Year award
  • Cal-SOAP was given the Community Based Organization of the Year award

“North Island Credit Union has been a long-time supporter of this important San Diego County Office of Education program because we understand the essential role counselors play in their school community and the future of our next generation,” said North Island Credit Union President/CEO Steve O’Connell. “We congratulate the 2024 Counselor of the Year honorees. Their commitment to their students’ academic, social, and emotional growth is inspiring to their school communities and all of us at North Island Credit Union.”

About The Honorees

Diego Arias has been a counselor at Loma Verde Elementary School in the Chula Vista Elementary School District since 2016. In nominating Arias, his principal, Bree Watson said, ”One of Mr. Arias' greatest strengths lies in his ability to establish and maintain excellent rapport with all stakeholders. His interactions with students, parents, teachers, and community members are characterized by warmth, empathy, and genuine care. He is highly respected and admired for his kind, positive, and nurturing approach, which creates a sense of belonging and safety for everyone in our school community.”

Candia Sierra London is a counselor at Greenfield Middle School in the Cajon Valley Union School District. She began there in 2016. She stated, "Being a middle school counselor feels like stepping through the pages of a Harry Potter book. Every day feels like we're right there in Hogwarts, watching our kids figure out which house they belong to and how to unleash their magic. My why? I want to help students see the incredible potential that's already inside them, even if they don't quite believe in it yet. Like gardeners, we're planting seeds and trusting that one day, they'll bloom into something remarkable. That's what keeps me going every day, knowing that even if I don't see the results right away, I'm making a difference in our students' lives."

Eryn Barker joined Bonsall High School in Bonsall Unified School District in 2018 at Pasqual Academy. Her nominator, Jewyl Alderson said, “I have watched Eryn Barker reach great heights in serving the students at Bonsall Unified School District. Her drive to provide students with career readiness, early college access and a welcoming environment is truly amazing, especially in a small rural community where the challenges of access to industry, changing leadership and the balancing of many priorities.”

Dawn Cuizon has been in education and counseling for 25 years, most recently as director II college and career readiness of the Grossmont Union High School District. She has supported and advocated for students and school counselors. While presenting her the award, SDCOE Counseling Coordinator Tanya Bulette said, "Thank you for being such a beautiful example of a courageous leader who takes risks and inspires us to be better. Your passion and love for our community, and for each person in this space is evident in all that you do." 

Vivian Carranco has been a college and career readiness specialist for Escondido Union High School District since 2022. Bulette said, "Vivian has never been one to take the safe route. She has not only committed herself to supporting the work of school counselors in the Escondido Union High School District, but she has taken her passion and been an active participatory voice and leader throughout the county."

Cal-SOAP was given the Community Based Organization of the Year award for its work "going above and beyond to support students and families." Under the unwavering leadership of Linda Doughty, Cal-SOAP has been instrumental in increasing FAFSA and CADAA completion rates for San Diego County students, breaking down barriers to college access for many. Cal-SOAP goes above and beyond to support San Diego students and families navigate postsecondary education and financial aid.


All recipients will be recognized at a special awards ceremony on April 19. 
Find information about school counseling and upcoming events at sdcoe.net/schoolcounselors.


triangle SDCOE emblem

More to explore

Date Range
-
Cover image of the third edition of the School News Roll Call

San Diego County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Paul Gothold was recently published in the third edition of the School News Roll Call, which features messages from school district superintendents across San Diego County. Read Gothold's full article.

Three outstanding employees were selected recently to represent San Diego County as Classified School Employees of the Year. The honorees highlight the wide variety of skills that classified school employees bring to school sites, representing the health and student services, paraprofessional services, and custodial and maintenance services specialties.

Speaker Eugene Hamilton in front of room talking to students.

More than 300 middle school students from across the county came together to attend workshops on college preparation, leadership, black empowerment, and more at the 2nd Annual Black Student Summit.