Guidance counselor

Gabrielle Jansen / The Outlook Alexander City Middle School guidance counselor Christy Lashley talks to Denise Shivers' class about bullying. Lashley has been a school counselor for 12 years. Feb. 3 through Feb 7. is National School Counseling Week.

Despite a lot of seeming differences between schools, things always seem to stay the same for Alexander City Middle School guidance counselor and native Christy Lashley. She has taught or worked at all Alexander City Schools in 12 years and said the only difference in the students is their sizes.

“I’ve loved something from everyone of them,” Lashley said. “All of them are different but they’re all kids.”

Lashley starts every day by greeting students. Between meetings, Lashley walks in the hallways so she always is available for students and her door is open for students to approach her. She also teaches bullying prevention.

“I’m kind of a safe place,” Lashley said. “Most of the time is dealing directly with students, either one-one-one or guidance with the kids.”

During disciplinary action, she is the second person students talk to about what’s going on. As a counselor, Lashley said students see her differently because they don’t see her every day.

“Once they see that you care, they’ll open up and talk to you, which helps,” Lashley said. “Sometimes it’s hard because they’ll come in with issues they can’t control that we can’t control. So we’ll give them a safe place.”

She enjoys talking to them one-on-one, but sometimes she brings home her work because she is empathetic.

“Sometimes I’m here for a little while debriefing myself before I leave and take it home because that’s not fair to my family,” Lashley said. “But that’s what counselors do and that’s what we’re thanked for.”

A 1982 Benjamin Russell graduate, Lashley started her career in education at Stephens Elementary School as a fourth-grade teacher when she realized she wanted to help parents help their kids. She decided to switch careers to guidance counseling.

She originally worked at Jim Pearson in the mornings and Benjamin Russell in the afternoons for a year before being hired full-time at BRHS. She started working at ACMS this year after the previous counselor retired. 

Lashley helps with the school’s Parent Teacher Organization and also volunteers at middle school dances.

National School Counseling Week is being celebrated this week. Lashley advises people thinking about becoming a guidance should know they can’t help everyone. They also need to understand they’re not in charge.

“It’s a very rewarding calling,” Lashley said. “You have to really want to listen and help the students to become a counselor because like I said it is really hard to leave some of it here. You want to save every one of them, but every one of them can’t be because you don’t have control over everything.”