VanDevender’s Bixman receives West Virginia Middle School Counselor of the Year honor
PARKERSBURG — A Wood County middle school counselor has been named 2021 West Virginia Middle School Counselor of the Year.
Christy Bixman, the counselor at VanDevender Middle School in Parkersburg, is very excited, but also takes the whole thing in stride.
“It’s a great honor to be representing Wood County for the State of West Virginia,” she said.
Bixman said she goes about her day, providing counseling for her middle school students, who number about 375. These duties include small group counseling to help with, for example, those having issues with anxiety and helping them get the tools to deal with it. These groups are composed of about six to eight students.
Bixman also provides individual counseling and comprehensive school counseling with classes for the entire student body to help them with social and emotional skills, for example. The lessons include self-awareness, time management and decision-making skills, Bixman said.
It’s Bixman’s day-to-day routine that caused her to be surprised about winning the award.
“I was surprised to be nominated. I come to work and do what’s best for my students. It feels good to be recognized for my job,” he said.
A native of Parkersburg, Bixman went to Parkersburg Catholic High School, graduating in 2001. She received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from West Virginia University in 2005. She also received her master’s degree in counseling from WVU in 2007.
“It’s something I wanted to do. I was always a friend who people came to me to help them with their problems,” Bixman said of her decision to go into counseling.
Her first job as a middle school counselor came at the North Bethesda, Maryland, Middle School.
Bixman said she provided many of the services there that she does at VanDevender. She worked there from 2007 to 2012 when she came to VanDevender.
In addition, Bixman said in order to win the award, one has to be nominated, with school goals and student support goals being the award-winning criteria. The person being nominated also has to get letters from a co-worker, the principal, and from a student’s parent.
In her spare time, Bixman said she belongs to St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church in Parkersburg. She said she’s involved with a mother’s group that provides dinners for the homeless at the Latrobe Street Mission, also in Parkersburg. And her group, Bixman said, also provides Christmas presents to needy families.
Bixman also said she likes to spend time with her family. She has a son and a daughter, Landon Bixman, 9, who plays basketball for Parkersburg Catholic Elementary School, Emerson, 4. Both children swim for the Parkersburg Sharks swim team and both attend PCES.
Larry Launstein Jr. can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org