Randi Fasnacht began her education career as a teacher, but earned her masters degree so she could have more one-on-one time with her students.
Every morning Bunnell Elementary school counselor Randi Fasnacht greets the fifth and sixth-grade students with a riddle, or maybe a survey – something to get them thinking the minute they come through the door.
Fasnacht, one of the Flagler Teachers of the Year, started her career as a teacher. While she loved being in the classroom, she wanted something that would give her some one-on-one time with the students as well.
“When you are teaching you can do some counseling, and believe me, our teachers do a lot of counseling already,” Fasnacht said. “What attracted me to counseling was being able to talk to them individually, and do classroom guidance with them about issues bothering them.
Fasnacht recently conducted a survey, asking the students what they wanted from her this year.
“The number one thing they wanted the most help with, was help with stress,” she said. “Number two was bullying prevention, emotional management, and careers was the fourth.”
Fasnacht will be bringing career counseling back in 2016. In the past she has worked with the older students on goal setting and exploring possibilities. The students can also apply for the TRIO program for sixth graders to research job opportunities, scholarships and even colleges. Once enrolled in the TRIO program it follows the students through graduation.
“What attracted me to counseling was being able to talk to them individually, and do classroom guidance with them about issues bothering them.” Randi Fasnacht Bunnell guidance counselor
Her job involves student stress, caused by a variable of sources, and Fasnacht has a fun way to address that issue as well, using HeartMath, a bio-feedback-type program that allows the students to monitor their breath on a the computer screen.
“I use it mostly for test stress,” she said. “I had one girl who visualized songs in her head and she could get her breath in a flowing motion. It’s about getting the heart and brain into sync.”
Fasnacht seems to be able to see the potential in her students. Her leadership program isn’t just for the straight-A, always well-behaved students; she also brings in students who display leadership qualities but might have some minor issues.
“They read to the younger students and don’t want to be a bad example, like getting into a fight on the bus and then coming into the classroom,” she said. “The students in the leadership group start to look forward to school and make better choices.