Burlington alumni named state’s school counselor of the year

Stephanie Tolman

The American School Counselor Association has announced that Kaylena Rasmussen was chosen as the 2025 state school counselor of the year, representing the state of Wyoming.  
Rasmussen is the school counselor at Anderson Elementary in Cheyenne and has been a school counselor since 2021.
“I am truly humbled and honored beyond words to have been bestowed with this prestigious title,” said Rasmussen. “Wyoming holds a special place in my heart as it’s been my lifelong home.”
Rasmussen graduated from Burlington High School in 2010 and was grateful for the guidance and support of Mrs. Judy Jessup, her home economics teacher and FCCLA coach.
“Her encouragement and mentorship were invaluable, leading me to achieve success in state FCCLA competitions and guiding me to national FCCLA events. Mrs. Jessup’s unwavering support and attentiveness throughout my high school years were instrumental in shaping my passion for education,” Rasmussen said.
After high school, Rasmussen enrolled at Montana State University, and with the help of a professor from the College of Education, she chose a career in teaching and graduated with her bachelor’s degree in elementary education. Her decision to go into education was solidified when she had the opportunity to teach in an after-school program in Billings. She also spent time gaining practical teaching experiences in both Billings and Cowley, under the mentorship of Eric Honeyman.
She relocated to Cheyenne and spent six years teaching fourth graders in the classroom setting. “I came to a profound realization about my deep-seated interests in supporting the mental well-being of students,” she said. This realization led her to pursue a master’s degree in school counseling.
“What motivated me to shift from teaching to school counseling was the desire to have a more direct and impactful role in supporting students’ overall well-being and personal development,” she said. “I believe that as a school counselor I have the opportunity to work more closely with individual students on a personal level, addressing their specific needs and challenges. This allows me to provide more targeted and personalized support to help students navigate their academic, social and emotional concerns effectively. In contrast, as a teacher, my focus was primarily on delivering academic content to a larger group of students. Balancing academic, social and emotional concerns with individual students is definitely the key aspect of my role as a school counselor, and I strive to address each of these areas by creating a comprehensive and holistic approach to support students.”
Rasmussen has dedicated her efforts into specializing in crisis intervention and is an integral part of the Incident Response Protocol team at Laramie County School District No. 1. She is also serving as a court-appointed special advocate, which allows her to work with children in the foster care system. “By combining my expertise in crisis response with my dedication to advocating for vulnerable children, I strive to make a meaningful and lasting impact within our community.”
As part of the honor, Rasmussen and her husband were invited to the White House in February to celebrate
with other finalists and state school counselors of the year.