ACTE Announces Georgia Counselor as 2018 National Award Winner

December 7, 2017

Jarrod Nagurka,

ACTE Announces Georgia Counselor as 2018 National Award Winner

ALEXANDRIA, VA Today, the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) announced Sharon Barrow, Counselor of Ware County School System in Waycross, Georgia, as the recipient of the 2018 National ACTE Career Guidance Award. This award recognizes school counselors and career development professionals who have demonstrated commitment to connecting students with opportunities for success, shown innovation in career exploration and development, and have advocated for CTE as a viable option for all students.The Career Guidance Award is sponsored by the U.S. Army.

Currently the 11th gradecounselor at Sandy Creek High School in Tyrone, Georgia, Sharon Barrow began her career as an elementary school counselor in Liberty County, where she created the county’s first career education program for elementary students. This program included a Careers on Wheels day for K-2nd graders, research activities for 3rd graders, a traditional career fair for 4th grade students and a summer program for 5th grade students entitled the World of Opportunity Program, which included lecture, research, guest speakers and numerous field trips to workplaces in Liberty and Chatham counties. She was awarded a $10,000 grant from the Coastal Georgia Workforce Development Partnership to fund this program, and later went on to co-author and win another $30,000 grant to bring more hands-on technology to Liberty County elementary students.

Barrow went on to counsel at Ware County High School (WCHS), where she spearheaded several firsts, including the 9th Grade Guest Speakers Series; the initial Pathway Rush Night for freshmen and assisted with the annual job interview day for Ware County High School juniors and seniors. Barrow also created the first high school counselors website at WCHS; partnered with Toastmasters International to form a public speaking club for 9th grade students; and created the WCHS 9th grade curriculum crosswalk, which connected Georgia Quality Core Curriculum, American School Counselor Association Standards, and the National Career Development Guidelines. In her current school counseling position in Fayette County, Barrow plans and facilitates all Bridge Law requirements for 11th grade students.

Barrow also served at the middle grades level in Waycross Middle as the sole counselor with more than 500 students for whom she facilitated all Georgia Bridge Law activities. She collaborated with other school counselors in the system to plan and initiate the system’s first Career Bridge program for every 5th and 8th grade student in the district and obtained enough funding to bring the Mattie C. Stewart Choice Bus to all middle schools in the district for the first time-ever.

Many of these innovations were ahead of Barrow’s time, and came far before state law began requiring greater exposure for students to career counseling. Medea Shuman, Ware County Schools CTAE (Career, Technical and Agricultural Education) Director (retired), credits Barrow for shifting the paradigm of school counselors roles and preconceived notions of CTE students: Ms. Barrow was instrumental in changing mindsets to be those of forward-thinking advocates for CTAE.

“The Army shares a commitment with ACTE of creating a skilled and competitive workforce,” said Brigadier General Kevin Vereen, Deputy Commanding General, U.S. Army Recruiting Command. “Through our long-standing partnership with ACTE, we have seen the important role that CTE and the guidance counselors play in the development of our future leaders. Thank you to the dedicated guidance counselors, who have positively impacted students, and congratulations to the finalists and the winner of ACTE’s 2017 Career Guidance Award.”

Barrow was one of four finalists for the 2018 national title. The national winner was announced at theACTE Awards Banquet, a dinner and award presentation recognizing the best CTE educators in the country. The event took place on Wednesday evening, December 6, during ACTE’s CareerTech VISION 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee. The Awards Banquet was sponsored by Express Employment Professionals, the US Army, CareerSafe, Stratasys, and International Baccalaureate. For more information about the ACTE Excellence Awards,visit our webpage.


About ACTE The Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) is the nation’s largest not-for-profit association committed to the advancement of education that prepares youth and adults for successful careers. ACTE represents the community of CTE professionals, including educators, administrators, researchers, school counselors, guidance and career development professionals and others at all levels of education. ACTE is committed to excellence in providing advocacy, public awareness and access to resources, professional development and leadership opportunities.