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School Counselor Nora Snead Honored as Career Champion of the Year

School Counselor Nora Snead Pictured with CAE Director Jason Luke

Nora Snead, Linden Grove Middle School Counselor, pictured with Jason Luke, KRESA's Director of Career Awareness and Exploration

Congratulations to Linden Grove Middle School Counselor Nora Snead, who was recognized at the KRESA Career Connect Advisory Celebration on May 22, 2024, as the first Career Champion of the Year. We are thrilled for Nora to be recognized in this way and proud of the amazing career exploration work done by her and the entire Career Champion cohort this year. 

"Being a Career Champion becomes who you are," said Snead during her award acceptance remarks. "It's the passion of helping kids see a future where they only see struggle."

"Sometimes I think connecting with the kids helps reignite the spark in adults," added Snead, "I love to see their faces light up when they explain their job to the students."

Career Champions are K-12 educators and other youth-serving partners who commit to a year-long series of trainings, reflections, workshops, and customized career readiness projects in their districts. The Career Champions program was originally launched in 2021 by Kalamazoo RESA Career Connect’s Career Awareness and Exploration (CAE) team, thanks to generous financial support from Stryker.  

The 2023-24 cohort includes 40 Career Champions on 14 project teams representing seven school districts, KRESA’s Career & Technical Education (CTE) program, and El Concilio, which was the first out-of-school-time partner. Each team works throughout the school year with one of the CAE career development consultants to develop and implement a pre-approved career development project that incorporates the four CAE foundational themes: self-awareness, option awareness, financial literacy, and entrepreneurship/innovation. 

Projects range from career field trips to career clubs and beyond. Projects may involve a Xello component, which is a career exploration tool utilized by the CAE team across the K-12 districts in Kalamazoo County to help students identify their strengths and learn more about the careers they might want to pursue. Teams have access to financial support for their project and have used this support to cover costs of field trip transportation, materials and resources, events, and student incentives.  

The teams’ projects will be presented by Career Champions at this year’s Career Champions Innovation Showcase, which will take place on Tuesday, June 4, 2024, from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. at KRESA’s Service Center at 1819 Milham Rd.  

For more information, please contact KRESA CAE Career Development Consultant Joan Hawxhurst at