Lakeland University Blog

Bilzing receives state counseling group’s leadership award

Bilzing receives state counseling group’s leadership award


Bilzing receives state counseling group’s leadership award

Deborah Bilzing, Ed.D., director of Lakeland’s Master of Arts in Counseling program, has been recognized as the 2021 recipient of the Mary Gehrke-McAllister Leadership Award presented by the Wisconsin School Counselor Association (WSCA).

This award annually recognizes individuals within the school counseling profession who demonstrate profound impact on the school counseling profession and lives of students. Bilzing’s nomination included multiple examples of how she exemplifies what a leader within the school counseling profession represents.

In announcing the award, the WSCA said, “Over three decades ago, Dr. Bilzing began her work as a professional K-12 school counselor. Dr. Bilzing has also served as an instructor at the graduate school level, as a Director for the Department of Public Instruction, and as a School Counseling Consultant for DPI. She now leads the Masters of Counseling Graduate Program at Lakeland University.

“Dr. Bilzing goes above and beyond by making a personal connection while also supporting students and faculty in her program. Dr. Bilzing always engages the voices of key stakeholders in her roles. She has sought a curriculum that reflects experiences and perspectives of diverse populations. Dr. Bilzing has worked to develop a counseling faculty and pedagogy that reflects diversity, equity and inclusion.”

Bilzing became director of Lakeland’s MAC program in January of 2010. Under her leadership, the program ensured that MAC program graduates had pre-approval from the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services and from the Department of Public Instruction.

She has served in leadership roles in the Wisconsin Counseling Association and the Wisconsin School Counselors Association, ensuring that Lakeland’s program had a place at the table when policy decisions were made. She serves as a mentor to many students, and has helped many of them secure employment and leadership positions in the counseling field.

Bilzing said she was honored and humbled to receive this award.

“It was even a greater honor to be placed in such distinguished company with colleagues who have been past recipients of this award and the other 2021 WSCA award winners,” Bilzing said. “For me, leadership becomes stewardship and has been my choice for service. Service has always meant building substantial relationships that are built through partnerships with everyone invested in the work to be done. This leadership or stewardship provides the opportunity for everyone to, as Peter Block said, ‘construct the house in which they live.’”

Nominations for the Mary Gehrke-McAllister award are submitted to the WSCA Professional Recognition & Scholarship Committee and are rated by a committee of active and retired school counselors. Award recipients are determined based on their contributions to the school counseling program, leadership and service to their community.

The organization selects one individual to receive this leadership award. This year, award winners were recognized on February 4 during WSCA’s National School Counseling Week Virtual Breakfast Celebration.

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