Kristi West, student council adviser at Hardin Jefferson High School, has been named the 2020 Warren E. Shull National High School Adviser of the Year. The annual award is named for Warren E. Shull, the founder of National Student Council, and recognizes high school student council advisers for their exemplary character, leadership, commitment to young people, and for fostering student leadership development.
West teaches math at Hardin Jefferson and has guided the student council as its adviser for 21 years. A leader herself, Mrs. West is the Math Department Chair and serves as Activities Director at the school. She declares that watching her student leaders take ownership of the council and responsibility for planning and leading its activities is one of the most fulfilling aspects of being an adviser.
Under her tutelage, the student council members have developed a culture of service to the school and community, as well as a commitment to unity among students and staff. From spirit weeks that include lively competitions and lip sync battles to teaching leadership lessons to freshmen, the council hosts a wide variety of activities and service projects that provide opportunities for engagement among the student body. Service is a passion that West instills in her students, which is demonstrated by their successful council activities like an annual toy drive that collects over 100 gifts each year and a “Beautiful Week” that promotes positivity of image and self-esteem.
West’s vision to give her council members opportunities to lead and serve beyond the school are evidenced in their participation in state-level student council. During her tenure, the Hardin Jefferson council has served as the President and Vice President school for the Texas Association of Student Councils (TASC). Mrs. West directs two summer workshops and two advanced workshops for TASC and regularly presents at the state’s annual conference.
West’s efforts and expertise as an adviser have not gone unnoticed as she has been honored as the TASC Adviser of the Year at both the district and state levels and as a recipient of the Wayne A. Reaud Excellence in Education Award. She has also been previously recognized as a Shull Award Region Finalist.
Terry Hamm, Director of TASC, says of West, “Kristi is a sounding board. She ‘gets’ student council. She sees through the storm and gives sound advice. In a meeting, I can count on her to say what she means and cut right to the heart of issues. She guides me more often than I can count.”
Of West, Patrick Brown, principal of Hardin Jefferson High School says, “She is a valued teacher who thrives in many areas of our school. Her enthusiasm about learning and leadership in various programs are seen daily in her attitude and classes. Although her accomplishments are many, I have the privilege of watching Mrs. West impact the student locally. She leads students to think outside the box, have integrity in all the projects the student council supports, and promote leadership and kindness. She encourages all students to participate in school activities and looks for projects to promote all student groups. She is a hard worker inside and outside of the classroom and her expectations for students to succeed is the goal.”
Maggi Gallaspy, the 2019–2020 Student Body President at Hardin Jefferson High School reflects, “Mrs. West’s dedication is unwavering and is seen in many ways. While balancing her everyday life, Mrs. West encourages the student leaders in her school to pursue positions of both state and national merit. Besides her motive to go above and beyond in serving others, Mrs. West also inspires those around her to make a difference in this world. When we decided to run for a state position on the TASC Board of Directors this past March, she, along with her student council, chose a platform that would educate others on the dangers of prescription drug abuse. She rallied behind us as a council to support an issue that had affected our community.”
For inspiring students to serve their school and community and for supporting student leaders and advisers throughout Texas and beyond, National Student Council proudly recognizes Kristi West as the 2020 Warren E. Shull National High School Adviser of the Year.