Dr. Christy Conley, Lead Counselor, North Oconee High School (GA)

Q: How long have you been in your current role?

A: I have served the students and families at North Oconee High School for almost 20 years.

Q: What previous roles have you held?

A: My first school counselor position was at my alma mater, Crisp County High School, in rural South Georgia. It was a wonderful experience to work alongside the people who had such a massive influence on my life: my high school teachers! 

Q: How did you get started as a school-based counselor?

A: As early as middle school, I recall being a listening ear and sounding board for my friends. I enjoyed hearing about their life and helping them discover options, solutions, and craft plans of action. As I considered a career, counseling became a natural direction to pursue.

Q: What brought you to this particular role?

A: While I enjoyed giving back to the community that invested so much in me, I was young and looking to be a part of a vibrant, active community. Moving back to Athens, Georgia, provided the perfect environment for me—access to a wide range of activities but still provided me with an intimate community vibe. Athens was the perfect fit. My arrival to Athens aligned with the timing of North Oconee High School seeking to add to its counseling department. Having the opportunity to work at a new high school was an opportunity that I couldn’t pass up.

Q: Given unlimited time and funding, what one initiative, program, or service would you implement today for your students?

A: My dream job would be to work in a public school setting with a caseload of 100 students. Serving a small caseload would allow a public school counselor the time and energy to serve their students. Many school counselors with 300+ students need help advising and engaging their students in a manner that allows them to reach their full potential.

Q: What is your best piece of advice for someone new to the profession?

A: Focus on relationships. Be intentional about establishing meaningful connections within your organization and with other professionals in the field. I have been fortunate to have crossed paths with amazing people and mentors during my time in the profession. Their wisdom has shaped my professional path in more ways than they realize, and I thank the Lord daily for placing them in my life.

Q: What brought you to SACAC?

A: I did not discover SACAC and all of its benefits until later in my professional career. SACAC was never presented as a professional organization during my school counselor training or professional development through my local school district or the state department. Once I learned of SACAC, I quickly realized the benefits of joining an organization focused on college admission. I will be forever grateful for the opportunities it has provided for my students and families. 

Q: What has been (or what you hope to be) the most impactful part of your SACAC membership experience? 

A: Joining SACAC has been a game changer for me and the population I serve. As a public school counselor, I had one class during my post-secondary educational experience that discussed college admission and career information—ONE. Yet, a primary portion of my job requires me to be knowledgeable in those areas. 

SACAC has been a resource to fill the void in my education regarding college admission and career opportunities. The information and resources provided as a result of attending conferences, webinars, etc., are invaluable.

While all of the above-mentioned aspects of SACAC are important, the people of SACAC have impacted me the most. My professional life has been forever changed due to mentors pouring into me as a SACAC member and leader. Information and access to resources are greatly appreciated. Yet, it is the people who can talk you through unique situations and help you problem-solve through a work crisis that truly impacts you professionally and personally. To say that I am grateful for SACAC is an understatement, and I am thankful that I have joined an organization with the values and commitment to serving its members as SACAC strives to do.

Q: What is your favorite part of your job?

A: Our graduation ceremony keeps me returning to my role as a school counselor every year. By design, our school counselors serve students by alphabet rather than an assigned grade level; this allows each counselor to be a part of their student’s high school experiences all four years. Watching them grow and develop from 9th to 12th grade fosters meaningful relationships that make graduation so special. When I witness my students walk across the stage and know that they have a clear path for their future, I feel that my mission is complete. It is a gift to end each school year feeling excited, knowing that our students are prepared to embark on their next journey.

Q: What have you learned about the students you serve during the past year?

A: This year has provided many opportunities for growth. Serving as the President of an organization like SACAC has been an exciting yet humbling experience. This opportunity has allowed me to engage with members of the organization at a higher level while learning more about myself as a leader. Juggling the many hats of a wife, mother, school counselor, and President of an organization has taught me to create stronger boundaries for myself while utilizing the support systems that are in place to help me. Whether reminding me that I am worthy of serving in the positions that I have been placed in, helping me navigate scenarios outside of my comfort zone, or helping me ask the “right” questions, utilizing my support system and resources has been imperative to promoting my personal and professional growth.


Issues Front & Center In College Admission Counseling

What topics are front and center to you? Let us know: [email protected].


There is something for everyone on the SACAC professional development and events calendar!

Check out the full calendar here:

We are ready for the SACAC 2024 Annual Conference, Forward Together, in Raleigh, North Carolina! We know you’ll take great pictures of sessions, state meetings, social gatherings, and such. If you’re willing to share them with us, email [email protected]. We may feature YOUR photography skills in a social media or email wrap-up of the conference!

Southern Scope is brought to you by the SACAC Communication Advisory Board (CAB).

  • Joseph Blassberg, The Greene School (FL)
  • Allyson Brown, South Carolina Governor’s School for Science and Mathematics (SC)
  • Samantha Krietemeyer, Houston Academy (AL)
  • Madison McGlone, University of Tampa (FL)
  • Jonathan Woog, Charlotte Country Day School (NC)

Questions, comments, or story ideas? Send them to [email protected].