MNPS Voices: Edrena Lewis

MNPS Voices: Edrena Lewis, School Counselor, Jere Baxter Middle School
Posted on 02/15/2023
Edrena Lewis

Edrena Lewis’ piece of advice to anyone is to plant the seed. Plant the seed for yourself; plant the seed for someone else. 

Lewis is planting seeds for each of her students at Jere Baxter Middle School. And while she says the seeds she’s planting now may not flourish in time for her to see everything they become, she knows her efforts are impacting these students for the better.

Edrena Lewis

Lewis is a school counselor at Jere Baxter. She believes students will flourish both in and out of school when given the tools, opportunity, and support to succeed.

“As long as the seeds are there, the students just have to keep watering them,” she said.

School counselors are critical in creating a supportive and inclusive learning environment for students. They advocate for students and campaign for their well-being by assisting in their emotional, social, and intellectual development. Lewis is doing this and much more with her students at Jere Baxter Middle.

Lewis started her school counseling career at the height of the pandemic, three years ago. She started at MNPS virtually and worked on nurturing relationships with her students through videos and chat rooms. Today, she is meeting with her students in person and is happy to be building face-to-face, lasting relationships with them.

Her favorite part of being a school counselor is building a genuine rapport and trust with her students.

“I want them to know who I am and know that I care – that’s why I do it.”

She’s not just “Ms. Lewis” to her students – you’ll hear her called Auntie, Mama, and Cousin. She is a friend and a confidant to these middle schoolers, preparing them for high school and helping them break down issues and concepts to solve in healthy ways. ELewis in Proud School Counselor t-shirt

Lewis always knew she wanted to be in public service. Her mother was a teacher and her father a police officer in their hometown of Chicago. Lewis started her career as a teacher there before moving to Tennessee eight years ago.

“I found it was in these little things that I was doing that I found my passion,” she said. “I thought of a career that I can do where I can still be with my kids and still serve them in their whole capacity.”

Kisha Cox, the principal at Jere Baxter Middle, goes back to a quote shared by the National Center for Youth Issues that reflects Lewis and her counseling at the school off Hart Lane in East Nashville: “A School Counselor’s most valuable tools are a heart full of love, ears ready to listen, and hands willing to help.”

“This quote reminds me of Ms. Lewis,” Cox said. “She is an active counselor who seeks to understand, support, encourage, and inspire.”

The first full week of February is always National School Counseling Week. Our 240 Metro Schools counselors are vital to our students and their development, and they play key roles in each of our schools. They work with students, guardians, and teachers to cultivate a place for learning, growing, and achieving.

More than that, though, MNPS school counselors are instrumental in building and supporting students’ successes in school and beyond.

Lewis has many characteristics of her mother, Margaret. Her mother is her hero and has passed down her passion for service and teaching, her gift of cooking, and her love for the music of Motown. Lewis will tell you that the thing she admires most about her mother is her genuineness. These teachings from her mother are shown through her counseling efforts, which she takes on genuinely and with a full heart.

Lewis and MNPS school counselors are an integral part of the district. Their services benefit students, parents, and teachers by providing essential support, guidance, and educational planning. Lewis and her encouragement are shaping students at Jere Baxter Middle, preparing them for their next journey.

Every day she’s planting her seeds and watching her students flourish.

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