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Jackson Middle School counselor elected to MSCA statewide board

Jackson Middle School’s Lori Kayser was elected to the Board of Directors of the Missouri School Counselor Association. The MSCA represents more than 1,400 school counselor members from school districts across the state of Missouri.

Kayser will start her three-year term on July 1, 2018, along with Matt Berry of Ritenour School District and Becky Houtchens of Maryville R-II School District.

“I will serve the last three years of my career,” Kayser said. “I’ve been in education for 32 years and a school counselor for nine.”

Kayser had previously served as treasurer and later president of the Southeast Missouri School Counselor Association. She said her involvement with that organization is what led her to run at the state-level.

“I always tried to lead by example,” Kayser said. “I want people to step up and hold office in our regional organization, so I decided to try to hold office in our state organization.”

The election results were announced at the organization’s fall conference, held Nov. 5-7 at the Tan-Tar-A Resort in Osage Beach. MSCA members were able to choose from seven candidates who passed eligibility requirements and created videos that explained why they were running.

Kayser said the Board of Directors is new governing structure for the organization. The current governing board is much larger, and the move toward the nine-member board is expected to make the organization more efficient and effective.

“Our main job is to advocate for our role as school counselors at every level in the state of Missouri,” Kayser said. “Sometimes we are given a lot of non-duties that are put on us so that we can’t really do our job and help the kids the way that we need to help.”

Besides their advocacy work and lobbying to legislative bodies, the organization provides professional development tools and events to help counselors support students academically, socially and in their career development.

“I always said you’re never too old to learn something new,” Kayser said.

Kayser said MSCA has helped her become a better counselor at the middle school. She said her involvement has kept her up to date with the latest counseling ideas and trends and allowed her to form relationships with peers that she can turn to when she has questions.

“I love what I do,” Kayser said. “If I can help somebody else, that’s my main goal in life. That’s one of the reasons I became a counselor.”

Jay Forness covers education, county government and community events for The Cash-Book Journal. He graduated from Southeast Missouri State University with a degree in multimedia journalism and has lived in Jackson for the past five years. He can be reached at

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