October 2, 2023
Laura McFarland says she has “the best job in education.” McFarland, the chair of the counseling department at Badin High School, has been named the school’s “Educator of Excellence” in the 2023 Harry T. Wilks “Hamilton Celebrates Education” program through the Hamilton Community Foundation.
“It’s super humbling” to earn the Wilks award, said McFarland, now in her 4th year at Badin. “I was very surprised. I feel very passionate about my job. People have been so supportive in what I do here.”
“Laura is precisely the type of person we need more of in our schools,” BHS Principal Patrick Keating said. “She is empathetic, student-centered and constantly works with students to ensure their mental health and well-being. Badin is lucky to have her on our staff.”
McFarland, 31, is a native of suburban Chicago, where she graduated from Cary Grove High School. She earned her undergraduate degree in Special Education at the University of Dayton, and then a master’s degree in counseling from Xavier University.
“The best part of the job is working with students,” said McFarland, who worked in Special Education at Carroll High School in Dayton for four years prior to coming to Badin. “It’s been great. With freshmen especially, you’re working with social and emotional issues and helping them with their transition to high school. You want to help them find their place socially as well as academically.”
McFarland said she made the transition from Special Ed to Counseling in order to work with students on a larger scale. Her counseling internship at Madeira High School in Cincinnati was interrupted by the pandemic in the spring of 2020, and she was actually hired at Badin that summer following a “Zoom” interview.
“Laura was our first ‘Zoom’ hire during the pandemic,” Keating nodded. “But we knew from the first moment that we began interviewing her that she was the perfect fit for Badin High. She had an immediate impact when she began, and has taken many different steps to ensure that our students are served best. Laura approaches her work with students with courage, care and zeal. They are the certainly the better for her efforts.”
“The job can be a challenge,” conceded McFarland, who lives in Liberty Township with her husband, Ryan. “In the wake of Covid right now, there are some mental health issues. It’s hard to see students hurting, struggling. You want to be able to help them.”
McFarland said her move to guidance counseling “was definitely the right move. I fell in love with counseling. We have awesome students at Badin – they’ve been a pleasure to work with every day.”
This is the 21st annual Harry T. Wilks “Hamilton Celebrates Education” program through the Hamilton Community Foundation. Recipients from various schools in Hamilton will be recognized at a dinner at the Courtyard by Marriott in Hamilton on Wednesday, Oct. 18. Badin will receive a $1,000 grant from the HCF in Laura McFarland’s name for the Counseling Department.
Contact: Dirk Q. Allen, Dallen@BadinHS.org or (513) 869-4490