By News-Register staff • 

Mac High grad named counselor of the year

Ricky Almeida
Ricky Almeida

McMinnville High School graduate Richard “Ricky” Almeida has been named the 2020 Oregon School Counselor of the Year.

Almeida works at West Sylvain Middle School in the Portland Public School District. The son of Richard and Pamela Almeida of McMinnville, he lives in Portland with his wife, Stephanie, and their daughter.

He attended Patton Middle School before graduating from Mac High in 2002. Kris Olsen, his principal at both schools, recalled him as being “a great kid” who has always been “especially interested in equity and inclusion.”

And a former student of his called him “a tireless advocate for students” whose work helps students, families and the school “be successful in a variety of important areas.”

After leaving high school, Almeida attended Chemeketa and Lane community colleges, then graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in family human services. He received his master’s degree in school counseling from Northwest Christian College.

He worked in Salem schools as an elementary and middle school counselor before joining West Sylvain Middle School. In Salem, he also coached football and basketball and helped with the AVID program that prepares students for college.

Almeida also was named to the OnPoint 2018 Circle of Excellence, an honor in which each of six winners received $1,000 plus $500 for their schools.

He was lauded for being “essential in developing a culture of equity and diversity through a variety of innovative programs and a dedication to his students’ health and happiness.”

One of Almeida’s unique programs is a ukelele class for which he selects students based on their needs. Students learn to set and meet goals, as well as to play music. If they achieve their goals, they get to keep their ukuleles.

In addition to his work as a school counselor, Almeida is a member of the MEChA state board. He helps launch middle school student affinity groups around the state, and recently helped organize the 21st annual MEChA state conference, attended by 475 midde and high school students from around Oregon.

As 2020 Oregon school counselor of the year, Almeida now is in consideration for national recognition.



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