Diane Peltz – Contributing Writer
James Taylor, (MMS) Macon Middle School counselor, has been chosen as the Support Person of the Year. Taylor has been a school counselor for six years, and has worked with all levels, K-12.
As a school counselor, he provides for the mental health needs of students in individual, group, and family settings. He works with teachers, parents, and community stakeholders to insure that students’ needs are met. He also coordinates with other mental health and student service providers district-wide. Other duties that he performs includes heading up ongoing projects like clothing closets and food programs as well.
Presently Taylor is working as a counselor at Job Corps for the summer on a contract basis. He helps provide services to students such as evaluations of progress, mental health concerns, answering questions pertaining to the program, and more.
“I went straight from my Master’s program into counseling,” said Taylor. “I have worked in both educational and clinical settings and am a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in the state of North Carolina. I have also had the great experience of teaching college level counseling classes as an adjunct faculty member at Western Carolina University.
“Being a school counselor is both challenging and rewarding,” he continued. “The most rewarding aspects involve seeing a student’s mental health, educational situation, or family dynamics improve. I love it when students are successful and happy. I like hearing from students years later to see how their lives are progressing and the amazing things they have been able to accomplish. Some of the most challenging cases involve larger systemic issues like students not having their basic needs met outside the school setting. It can be challenging to be able to provide what they need outside of school.”
Taylor has lived in Franklin for the last seven years and really enjoys and cares about the amazing community and school system.
“I have never lived in a town where people genuinely cared for each other as much as they do in Franklin,” he said.
On a personal note he says, “I have two dogs. I enjoy hiking, reading, running, spending time with family and friends, and working in my garden.”
“2020 has taught us a lot about being flexible and rethinking our traditional educational plans. It has taught me that we can overcome any obstacle if we come together as a team to problem solve and implement plans. MMS has done a great job of that. I am not sure what plan will be implemented in the coming year, but I am confident that our state and county educational leadership will make the best decision for the students, educational staff, and community.” he concluded.
“I feel honored to be able to serve MMS in the way that I do. We have an impressive student body, fantastic teachers/staff, great administration, and awesome parents. No matter what happens this year, we will continue to strive to provide for our students. We will all work together to make this happen. Remember, different is not always bad. It is just different. There is opportunity in struggle and change,” he concluded.