For the second time since 2010 Jay Lingo was named counselor of the Year for the Milford School District. Working with Lulu Ross Elementary, Jay is currently enjoying his 24th year with the district where he has worked with students from kindergarten to fifth grade over the years. No stranger to career achievements, Jay was also recognized in 1993 as Kent County Counselor of the Year and in 2003 as Delaware State Counselor of the Year.
In 1987 Jay received his Bachelor’s degree in Phycology with a minor in Sociology and earned his Master’s in 1989 in School Counseling from the University of Delaware. After working with the Appoquinimink School District for one year during graduate school, Lingo chose to work at Lulu Ross Elementary, where he has spent over two decades working with adolescents. As a school counselor at the elementary level, he helps children deal with a spectrum of affairs including adjustment to social issues such as divorce or death and friendship issues within the school.
“It’s all about having kids realize that there is someone at school that can help them,” commented Lingo. “Counselors lend an ear to kids that feel they need to express something.”
Dealing with kids of varying ages over the years, Jay aims to teach students how to express feelings in a positive way, build coping skills and how to deal with people that are different than themselves. He creates success by encouraging confidence in students, letting them know that they can contribute to the world. Working with an age where adults are very impressionable and many times lay the foundation for that child’s future, Lingo helps to set each child up for a future of positive possibilities.
Jay’s favorite exercise to share with students is called the Car Wash, which he has used continually over his 24 year career. During this task, children form two lines facing each other as one by one students walk between the lines formed. As they proceed through the line each student receives positive affirmations from each of his fellow students.
“Kids can tend to focus on the negatives but actually hearing positives about them from the other students produces confidence,” stated Lingo. “I remind them that it is open twenty-four hours as compliments can be given all day long.”
A recognized leader of Lulu Ross Elementary, Jay is in charge of a weekend backpack program where children in need receive food for the weekend through three local churches. He is also involved in the mentoring program and advisor of the National Elementary Honor Society.
Lingo has been very active preparing not only the next generation of students but also the next generation of counselors. Since 1997 he has taught a Master’s Group Counseling course as a professor at Wilmington University. He has helped to shape Milford school counseling as 5 of the 10 current counselors working in the Milford School District have interned under his direction.
“I am really thankful to have worked in this district and have always had supportive administrators,” commented Lingo. “ I am also lucky to have worked with some great counselors over the years.”