Frederick Douglass High School Counselor Dr. Sheryl Neely Receives National Career Guidance Award

The Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) announces Dr. Sheryl Neely, a professional school counselor at Frederick Douglass High School as the winner of the 2016 ACTE Career Guidance Award. Neely was announced as the national winner during the ACTE Awards Banquet on November 19 at ACTE’s CareerTech VISION 2015 in New Orleans.

ACTE Vision 2015 New Orleans
ACTE Vision 2015 New Orleans

As the Region II winner of ACTE’s Career Guidance Award, Neely was one of five finalists competing for the national title. The ACTE Career Guidance Award recognizes guidance counselors and career development professionals who have made significant contributions to advocate, educate and communicate the value of CTE as a viable career option to a variety of audiences in their communities.

As a high school counselor for Atlanta Public Schools, Neely promotes lifelong learning and encourages students to work toward achieving diverse goals, competencies and specialized skills. An alumna of the University of Maryland, Neely received her doctorate from Walden University and her counseling degree from the University of West Alabama. She serves on Atlanta Public Schools’ CTE advisory board, is currently GACTEʹs President‐Elect for the Guidance and Counseling Division, and was named Atlanta Public Schools’ High School Counselor of the Year.

Neely has helped secure over $5 million in scholarships and has cultivated a number of CTE programs and award opportunities for her students, who have a strong track record of success. She led two engineering design teams of students to qualify for a state‐wide engineering competition and advance to nationals for a mousetrap car design. Two CTE students recommended and mentored by Neely were named Atlanta Ambassadors for Community Service by Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed. Through Neely’s support and recommendation, another one of her students was selected from 4,000 applicants for the Disney Dreamers Academy.

Neely is the founder of the F.R.E.S.H. (Faculty Reaching Every Student with Helping Hands) Foundation, a nonprofit organization focused on empowering and developing youth to become model citizens, while preparing them for career and postsecondary options. The Educational Development department for F.R.E.S.H. provides tutoring and mentoring services, test preparation, scholarships, financial aid, and college fairs and tours. In addition to these efforts, Neely spearheaded a small learning community design team for large high schools that were transformed from comprehensive high schools to career academies, and she played an integral part in getting buy‐in from faculty and staff to make the transition. “Sheryl is an ambassador for higher education and an outstanding leader for social change,” says says Frederick Douglass High School Assistant Principal Libra Royster.

The awards banquet was sponsored by Express Employment Professionals, Kuder, CareerSafe, Certiport, and Stratasys, Project Management Institute Educational Foundation and International Baccalaureate. For more information about the ACTE Excellence Awards, visit our webpage (

Congratulations Dr. Neely!


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