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Student Advocacy Coordinators hired for NHS, NNHS

Norman Public Schools announced that it has hired two individuals for the newly created Student Advocacy Coordinator positions at both Norman High and Norman North. 

The NPS Board of Education at its regularly scheduled meeting tonight approved Michelle Sutherlin and Kristin Atchley for the two positions. Sutherlin will be employed at Norman North and Atchley will serve Norman High students.

NPS Superintendent Dr. Joe Siano announced in December the district, with input from the NPS Gender-based Violence & Bullying Prevention & Response Task Force, would be developing job descriptions for the new positions and hiring for them before the end of the current school year.

The two positions will focus solely on providing support and any wraparound services for students who have been victims of trauma, sexual assault, harassment and/or bullying.

Sutherlin is the current counselor at Longfellow Middle School and has been employed at NPS as a counselor for five and half years. She earned her master’s degree in Human Relations from the University of Oklahoma and also is a former journalist and director of emergency services for the American Red Cross. She is extensively involved with the United Way of Norman as its Destination Graduation Committee Chair and is a former board member of the Center for Children and Families.

Atchley joined NPS in December when a vacancy in the Adams Elementary counselor position occurred. She previously has been a therapist for the Moore Youth & Family Services organization and as a school counselor in Moore, Guthrie, and Mustang. She earned her master’s in Human Development and Family Science from Oklahoma State University.

Siano said he was pleased the Board of Education approved the new positions because counseling positions dedicated solely to serving students who are victims of trauma, violence, harassment and bullying is a necessity for schools in this current day and age.

“Unfortunately, social issues significantly impact our schools and students, and these issues have become increasingly complex in recent years,” he said. “Our district’s student advocacy coordinators will be an asset to the teachers and administrative teams at each of our high schools as they will be the certified staff member that is accountable and solely dedicated to students who have been victimized, providing them and their families the support and information they need and being the point-person for school-related responses when appropriate.”