When choosing between a career in mental health counseling and school counseling, Richard Tench said it was a no-brainer for him.
“When entering graduate school, I had every intention to focus on clinical/mental health counseling, until entering into dialogue with my school counseling counterparts. School counseling provides the opportunity to leave a lasting impact on hundreds of students and build relationships with families and the community that will last a lifetime. School counselors truly have the opportunity to help shape the minds and attitudes of the next generation, and I cannot think of anything else I would rather gift to our society.”
As a school counselor at St. Alban’s High School for the last 10 years, Tench said school counseling programs and initiatives are successful when school counselors have stakeholder support and resources.
“School districts around the state have worked diligently to build partnerships with individuals and companies that have aid in expanding resources for our students. No single program, school counselor, or school counseling team could successfully implement a comprehensive school counseling program without the support of administrators, faculty, families, and the community.”
Under his leadership, his school counseling program received the RAMP designation for the first time in 2017. Tench said a comprehensive counseling program is an essential part of the education system because school counselors can provide the necessary resources to create the foundation on which to build.
“For learning to occur, students must feel safe and supported in all domains. School counselors provide education and support in academic, career, and social/emotional needs of the students and families. These pillars of school counseling allow students the opportunity to grow and develop mindsets and skills they will utilize in the classroom and for years to come as they work their way toward being successful citizens post-graduation.”
Completely dedicated to our students, families, and communities, Tench said West Virginia’s school counselors go above and beyond the job description to ensure that all students are provided the opportunity to succeed.
In addition to his role as a school counselor, Tench also serves as an adjunct faculty member at Marshall University where he teaches practicum and internship courses. He is an Approved Licensed Professional Supervisor, a National Certified Counselor, and a National Certified School Counselor. He served as the Past-President of the West Virginia School Counselor Association and is currently serving on the ASCA Board of Directors. He has presented at various local, state, and national conferences on a wide range of topics.