Education Award: Greg McDonald
Greg McDonald’s family is used to students approaching him outside the classroom to tell him what an impact he’s made in their lives, even “saving” them, at times.
McDonald was with Adams 12 Five Star School District for 11 years before becoming a counselor at Broomfield Heights Middle School, where he has been the past seven years.
Greg has made immeasurable impacts on the lives of his students and the community of Broomfield, his family said in his nomination letter for a Heart of Broomfield Award.
One way he connects with students is through humor.
“He himself is full of life and joy and this comes out in his natural way of just being goofy around students and allowing them to be themselves,” his family said. “Especially with middle schoolers who are constantly worried about what others think of them, he shows students the importance of not taking yourself too seriously.”
Over his career, he has worked with students who have experienced abuse, thoughts of suicide, or deep loss. His family said he invests in students to make sure they are safe and that people care for them.
“He has even gone the extra mile (literally) to ride along with a student as they were being transported to a mental health hospital, so that the student would not be alone and scared while they waited for their parents to come,” his family said in their letter. “Greg is a school counselor who goes above and beyond to care for our students with the most need,while at the same time trying to connect with every kid through positivity and humor.”
McDonald is the sponsor of Student Council and Executive Board and has coached girls’ and boys’ intramural basketball.
Outside of school, he plays and coaches lacrosse. He has coached numerous teams for the Rattlers Lacrosse (which primarily serves Broomfield) and Broomfield Bobcats Lacrosse. He also began the lacrosse program component of I-9 Sports, which includes clinics and camps designed to teach basic skills.
Broomfield Heights Middle School special needs teacher Christian Adams said McDonald’s presence is everywhere in the building in the hallways he can be seen with a “smile on his face, a greeting for everyone and open and supportive ears.”
He approaches situations by asking what’s best for students.
“Across all domains where he impacts others, Greg always creates a culture of respect, openness, and professionalism that has no match,” Adams said.
He has served as President of the Colorado School Counselor Association, where he represented more than 1,700 counselors, advocating for them on state and national levels. As a member of the Governor’s School Safety and Youth in Crisis Committee, McDonald constantly is advocating for the needs and safety of all students as legislators listen intently to his guidance and perspectives, Adams said.
“Greg is a friend and mentor. I am not able to recall how many times I have come to him with a student issue, a school-wide question, a district level concern, or a community idea, but I do know that he listened to each and every one and offered guiding questions, support, or professional assistance every single time,” Adams said. “He has such a wealth of talent and gifts, but most importantly he chooses to share them freely with others, which benefits our entire school community.”
Jennifer Rios: 303-473-1361, email@example.com or Twitter.com/Jennifer_Rios