Polytech High School's Bob Bassett has been named the Delaware School Counselor Association's Counselor of the Year.

Polytech’s Bob Bassett knew he was in the running to be named the Delaware School Counselor Association’s counselor of the year, but still was not prepared when he heard his name called at the group’s March 13 conference.

“I was told I’d been nominated by someone I work with, and that’s a real honor,” he said. “There are a lot of really good counselors in our state, so I was surprised.”

The DSCA recognizes one top counselor for the state’s elementary, middle and high schools annually; Bassett, who has been working in education for 22 years, took top honors in the latter category.

“I like working with kids,” he said. “That’s a big part of being a teacher and a counselor.”

Bassett, 44, grew up in the Harrington/Felton area, and attended local schools through the first half of the 12th grade, when his family moved to Kansas. He started his college studies in Boston, but eventually returned to the First State, graduating from Delaware State University.

He joined the Polytech faculty in 1993 as an English teacher and also coached soccer before moving into counseling.

Q Why did you decide to get out of teaching English and into counseling?

A I had been watching one of our counselors, Len Chasanov, and getting to work with him I saw what he did on daily basis. I thought it would be something I’d enjoy. Also, being a soccer coach, I liked working with kids one-on-one. The kids liked to talk to me, and I thought that I had the skills so that it would be something I could do all day.

Q The role of school counselor has grown from the days of just giving career and education advice. What’s it like for you?

A I think we’re still doing that kind of work, but today there are a lot more expectations for the schools. The biggest difference has been the influence of social media. The problem has grown and there are a lot more issues to deal with in the school day.

Q What are your main goals as a school counselor?

A It’s tough when you see kids really struggling. They can only control so much, so we try to help them make choices where they can get a better future. Professionally, I want to see our students achieve. We have an outstanding school and we want to make sure our kids are prepared.