Martha Tuthill honored as Guidance Counselor of Year

MEGAN LANG PHOTO Recipient of the Barbara B. Ackerman Counselor of the Year Award from the East End Counselors Association is Shelter Island’s Martha Tuthill (left) with Ms. Ackerman, a former Southold guidance counselor.
Recipient of the Barbara B. Ackermann Counselor of the Year Award from the East End Counselors Association is Shelter Island’s Martha Tuthill (left) with Ms. Ackermann, a former Southold guidance counselor.

Shelter Island School Guidance Counselor Martha Tuthill has received the Barbara B. Ackermann Counselor of the Year Award from the East End Counselors Association.

Ms. Tuthill was honored by the group at its September 17 meeting at the Hyatt Place Island Hotel in Riverhead for the work she’s done since taking the position with the school district in February 2015.

“I’m so grateful to be here,” Ms. Tuthill said, talking about the opportunity the job gives her to work with students at all levels — preschool through grade 12.

Superintendent Christine Finn expressed her support for Ms. Tuthill. “We are so blessed to have Martha here at Shelter Island,” Ms. Finn said. “She works hard for our students and is a wonderful colleague who always goes above and beyond her job description.”

Ms. Tuthill came to the district from Greenport, where she had started as an intern; worked assisting special education students; and was a guidance counselor.

Arriving on Shelter Island, she brought a wealth of experience and knowledge of programs and contacts she’d developed on the North Fork, and was determined, she said, to give students opportunities to expand their horizons.

That included the DECA program, which involves students competing regionally and statewide in written and verbal business exercises. Two years ago, Ms. Tuthill was able to bring one student to the state competition and two students last year. During this school year, she hopes to give more of Shelter Island’s regional winners the opportunity to compete statewide.

She has also organized job fairs for Island students to find summer employment — and sometimes during the school year — at local businesses. The aim is to give students an opportunity to work and demonstrate their talents to potential employers.

Her Greenport ties and ones she’s maintained through the North Fork School Business Advisory Board and the East End Counselors Association have enabled her to offer Island students a chance to attend a college fair here in October with representatives from 23 schools, and to join Greenport in a college campus tour to several area schools.

At the college fair, school representatives will spend part of the day on Shelter Island and the rest in Greenport. Brandi Hopkins, Greenport district guidance coordinator, joined Ms. Tuthill in arranging the event.

Ms. Hopkins, who had worked closely with Ms. Tuthill in Greenport, nominated her for the Ackermann Award this year.

The award is named for long-time Southold guidance counselor Barbara Ackerman, who has mentored other guidance professionals during her career and since her retirement.

Receiving the honor is supposed to be a surprise. But Ms. Tuthill knew something was up when she walked into the Hyatt last week and encountered her in-laws.

Her son, Brian, had pulled the family together, although he couldn’t be there because of studies for his MBA degree. Her other children — Sarah, Katie and Matthew are also college students. Sarah is at SUNY Binghamton, Katie at SUNY Geneseo and Matthew at Brian’s alma mater, SUNY Buffalo.

What does the winner of such an honor do for an encore? “I’m going to enjoy this for a little while,” Ms. Tuthill said.