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WINSTON-SALEM, NC (WGHP) — Watching Amber Gibson interact with her students, you can tell she really loves her job.

As a school psychologist, she’s trained in areas like intervention, data analysis, consultation, and crisis prevention. But her favorite part, she says, is being the number one “encourager!”

“My goal is to make sure that every child feels that they can be successful at something,” says Gibson. “It doesn’t matter what it is. It can be mastering phonics, doing single-digit addition. It can be writing that perfect sentence, but I want that child to know I got this and I can do this if I put my mind to it.”

The Coronavirus pandemic changed a lot for her. She says it was hard not being able to see her students in person, every day.

“We really shifted our focus to on mental health for our students and making sure that we were getting them in contact with agencies that could provide support and also making sure students were getting the education that they possibly could,” she says. “I felt like I saw a different child when I was working with them, through a camera, you know, there are a lot more shy, reserved, and you know, sometimes I have to egg them on to get them on camera, but it was just for a minute. And then we noticed that they started losing interest in academics and everything and pulling back and just staying at home and, you know, playing video games or whatever. So we really tried to just check in on them during the pandemic. And we’re really glad that everyone came back with a mask on and, you know, be in person again.”

Because of her caring ways, she was recently named the North Carolina School Psychologist of the year. But it almost didn’t happen. When she got nominated, she thought it was spam mail! “I don’t know what this mail is for. And then, so I was like, well, let me read it just to be sure.”

Encouraged by her sister, she filled out the forms and sent them in. The next email notified her that she had won! Her family and friends were in attendance when she accepted the award. “It was just fluttering feelings and knowing having my daughter there with me, you know, showing her that, you know, we can, as long as we put our minds to it and set some goals, we could accomplish anything,” she said.

But she’s not finished yet.

“There’s so much I want to do, um, in the field of school psychology, um, besides I want to step out of the schools as well. I want to provide support and services to, um, families that can’t always get access to the schools or might need some guidance. I like doing that. I like advocacy. Um, I like advocacy for our profession, and I just want to keep growing,” Gibson said.

And being an example for the students she serves.