Kristy Davis is originally from Weatherford and graduated from Weatherford High School in 1999. She was a Kilgore Rangerette for two years and then received a Bachelor’s in Kinesiology from the University of North Texas. Davis was a drill team director and dance teacher for seven years, coming to Poteet High School in 2006. She received a Master’s of Science from Texas A&M Commerce in Counseling. She became a school counselor at Poteet HS in 2011. Davis was the At Risk Coordinator in Mesquite ISD in 2020 before becoming the Director of Counseling in 2021. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor Associate and sees clients at the MISD CARE Clinic for Mesquite employees. She has also worked for Showtime International, a dance and drill company for 22 years as an instructor, choreographer and judge and is currently a DFW Contest Director. Davis also volunteers with Dallas Court Appointed Special Associates (CASA) as an advocate for children in foster care. She has been married for 11 years to her husband Brad, a Mesquite High School graduate and Mesquite native. She also has two children, Claire and Ethan.
How did you become director of counseling?
When I was a counselor at Poteet High School, I worked hard to be on every district committee, volunteer whenever I was available and take advantage of professional learning opportunities to grow my counseling skills. I wanted to do whatever I could to make us more efficient and better at our jobs, so more time could be spent working with students. I knew that if I spent an extra hour creating or organizing something, but it saved other counselors in the district several hours, it was worth it. I would share everything I did. In the last several years I was very fortunate to work closely with Kem Edwards, the former Counseling Director. When she made the decision to move to the Family Support Center as a therapist and clinic facilitator, it created the opening for this role. Mrs. Edwards is a mentor to me, and we have worked so hard together on the vision and mission of Counseling in MISD the last several years. I love this group of Counselors and the opportunity to be their leader is extremely important to me.
What's been your greatest career moment to date?
In February of 2020, we attended the Texas School Counselor Association conference, and MISD received their first Counselors Reinforcing Excellence for Students in Texas (CREST) award recognizing excellent counseling programs in the state for Poteet HS. Myself, Kem Edwards and Audrey Robinson also presented a session about MISD and how to grow Social Emotional Learning (SEL) in your district starting with a grassroots campaign. We had multiple people from other districts in Texas come up to us in the days afterwards, praising our work and development in MISD and asking how they could get started in their own district. At that point, everything we had in our SEL Curriculum was done solely by MISD Counselors. I realized how special it really was when compared to school districts that were not yet addressing the Social and Emotional needs of their students. I was so proud to be from a district that was made up of so many counselors willing to come together to create great programming to address our students needs.
What are the roles of counselors in schools?
Overtime, it has become a little bit of everything. School counselors in MISD address the social and emotional needs of students, provide individual academic planning and goal setting, deliver school counseling classroom guidance activities and lessons, provide short term counseling to students, respond to crisis that occur in the district, help students to be career or college ready and collaborate with teachers and families. School counselors also connect students and families to community resources and advocate for the needs of their students. We strive to always be a safe place and a trusted adult for our students. Our goal is that all of our students graduate and are prepared for the next phase of life after graduation.
In the wake of the pandemic, how has the role of counseling and social emotional learning changed?
Last year was difficult with so many students virtual. Despite our best efforts to reach out and provide virtual counseling and do home visits, students sometimes still felt disconnected and alone. The stress and pressure we as adults have felt, since the pandemic began, has trickled down to our children and we see that in their behavior and mental health concerns. Depression, anxiety and suicidal ideation is on the rise across all ages from children to adults. SEL has been important to MISD Counselors for many years, but it really hits home this year with the need so great for all students. Counselors have had to pivot and grow to meet the changing needs of our students because when a student is in crisis that will always take precedence. Many days the needs outpace our resources and MISD counselors have been exceptionally creative to continue serving our students since March of 2020. This year we are delivering broad based, SEL interventions to all students. Our student mental health needs are at the forefront, and we have adapted to better serve those needs by developing ways to better identify students in crisis. We have also trained campus staff on Trauma Informed Classroom practices so that they are better equipped as well to identify students in need of assistance.
How would you encourage more students to seek counseling as needed?
Students and families in MISD face many barriers to accessing outside counseling due to availability, lack of transportation and financial constraints. We have many skilled and trained counselors on our campuses across the district, they just need to be connected with the student that is struggling or having a bad day. If a student is having a hard time finding their counselor, they can tell a teacher or staff member and they will help you get in touch. Having a trusted adult that you can talk or vent to, that will help you work through what you are dealing with, in a safe place, can make a big difference in how you feel about coming to school every day.
How did Mesquite ISD become an award-winning school district through its counseling programs?
In 2020 we won our first CREST award, Counselors Reinforcing Excellence for Students in Texas for Poteet HS and in 2021, we won four more, for PHS, Beasley Elementary, Kimbrough Middle School and John Horn HS. We hope to win even more this year. Our counselors and schools work really hard to provide quality programming, but counselors are not good at bragging on ourselves. By nature, counselors are typically humble, hard workers and much of our work is done in a confidential manner. I realized that if we didn’t start showing others what we were doing, it wouldn’t be recognized. We have been doing this work for many years, it is just finally being acknowledged by outside organizations. Campuses put together a large presentation and submit it the Texas School Counselor Association to be judged against the Texas Comprehensive Model for School Counseling Programs standards. I can’t wait to see who wins this year.
What do you enjoy about Mesquite?
I love how supportive this community is. It feels big but really it is small for the families that have lived here for many years. When I was at Poteet HS, many of the students there are the children of Poteet alums. I also love the passion and care that MISD employees have for our students. You see it in every department across the district. It is easy to see how much MISD employees care about our students and families.
Outside of MISD, what are your hobbies?
I enjoy traveling with my family, working out, cooking, shopping and anything related to the dance and drill world. I have two elementary age children so most of my free time is currently taken up with their activities and sports and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Most weekends I am on a soccer field.
If you were on a deserted island, what is the one item you couldn't live without?
Tell our readers something about you they would never guess to be true.
In 1995 I was the Grand Reserve Champion at the State Fair of Texas for showing a goat. I was treasurer of Parker County 4-H, and we had several show goats for many years. I think this is so funny because this is not at all who I am today. I grew up on a farm with goats, cows, chickens and lots of land. I really love goats though, they are so fun.