2 Cornell-nominated counselors awarded

Two high school counselors nominated by Cornell College were among the eight nationwide who received the 2016 Counselors That Change Lives award. The award is given by Colleges That Change Lives, a nonprofit dedicated to the advancement and support of a student-centered college search process.

The two winning counselors were Joe Sailors of Campus High School in Wichita, Kansas, and Paula Steiner of Prairie Ridge High School in Crystal Lake, Illinois.

Joe Sailers
Joe Sailors

Joe Sailors, Wichita, Kansas
“Joe is the epitome of the ideal high school counselor, and it is a true honor to be able to work with him,” says Cornell admission representative Drew Shradel, who nominated Sailors.

Located in Wichita, Campus High School is a three-hour drive to Kansas City and a five-hour drive to Des Moines. Most students from the school would only look at large, in-state universities without Joe’s influence, Shradel says “His goal is to show students that there are other options out there that do really different things–great things. Joe works to help them see all of the options available and then to help them find the best college or university for their future,” he says.

For Sailors, this might mean lending out his copy of “Colleges That Change Lives”; working late at night or over lunch; or driving a van full of students eight hours in each direction to let them see a private college in Iowa for themselves. It also means that when Sailors talks to admission officers he can offer great insight about his students: he knows them all by name, what majors interest them, the topics of their IB diploma papers and, usually, a funny story involving each of them.

“I have not met another counselor who believes in his students more than Joe. Because of this, his students respect him and you can tell that they see the hard work he puts in for them–to give them these opportunities to go anywhere they want,” says Shradel.

Paula Steiner
Paula Steiner

Paula Steiner, Crystal Lake, Illinois
“When you visit Prairie Ridge High School, Paula goes out of her way to make the visit worthwhile for the students and the visiting counselor,” says Jennifer Sloan, Cornell assistant director of admission and Chicago regional representative.

It also is clear when you visit the office that Steiner has created a comfortable atmosphere that invites students to frequent it and utilize her expertise as well as the many resources available there. “Each time I visit there are students popping in and out to say hello or to check on ‘this’ or follow up about ‘that,’” says Sloan, who nominated Steiner.

Steiner wears many hats and seems to do that with ease, always putting the student first, Sloan says. “I appreciate the individualism she recognizes in each school and often benefit from the feedback that results from her questions,” Sloan says. “Her commitment to her students and the school as a whole is impressive and genuine. She is a tremendous asset to Prairie Ridge and all who have a chance to work with her.”