Lisa DiMurro-Johnson has worn many hats in VPS. She joined the district in 2005, working as a paraeducator. She later became a school clerk, then a secretary. After earning her master’s degree in school counseling in 2016, she joined the Franklin Elementary staff. At Franklin, DiMurro-Johnson launched a school-wide focus on kindness and collaborates with her colleagues to empower students. Her work has gained notice. Recently, DiMurro-Johnson was named the Washington School Counselor Association’s 2021 School Counselor.

Counselor Lisa DiMurro and a student

Counselor Lisa DiMurro-Johnson and Franklin student Cade Waterman

Below she shares more information about her work and what inspires her.

One of your areas of focus is teaching students to be kind. Tell us a little about Kindness Week and why it’s a passion for you.
Kindness Week is my favorite week of the school year! This year, I created a Virtual Kindness Week. I received some wonderful, kind responses from students. One of my goals at Franklin is to create a culture of kindness. My social-emotional lessons focus not only on teaching students to manage feelings and develop a growth mindset, but to also be kind to one another whenever possible. It is always possible!

I am very passionate about kindness in honor of my niece, Samantha. Samantha’s motto in life was “Above all be kind.” I have experienced the beauty and power of kindness and have witnessed how kindness has the ability to change someone’s life. It is my hope help others see how special one simple act of kindness can be to someone.

What do you wish more people knew about the work of school counselors?
I wish people knew how the work of school counselors impacts student success. The school counselor’s job is to build positive relationships to create a learning environment where every member of the school community feels safe and cared for. When I think about how I can make a difference for students, the first thing that comes to mind is how I and other educators help students learn to become the best version of themselves. This idea of teaching and learning to become our “best self” is my vision for students and the guiding force that determines what I teach students and what I advocate for.

Favorite professional moment?
I have many. I love hearing students and parents talking about and using skills I teach them. It fills my bucket to see all of the kindness love happening around our school during Kindness Week. However, my biggest favorite professional moment was having KGW cover one of our super kind students during Kindness Week last school year (2019-2020), and then watching that student talking about kindness on Good Morning America!

Name three words that describe you.
Kind, flexible and intentional.

When you’re not working, what do you like to do?
Spend quality time with my family and friends, go for long walks and read.