Schools appoint division wide mental health coordinator

By Heather Michon

Just In time for the start of the school year, Fluvanna County Public Schools (FCPS) has announced the appointment of a new division-wide mental health coordinator.

Kaitlyn Harlow-Burner has spent the last five years as a clinical social worker in pediatrics at UVA Health, with a focus on “solutions-based interventions, grief therapy, and adjustment to chronic illness,” according to the FCPS press release.

“I’m thrilled to be joining FCPS as the new mental health coordinator!” Harlow-Burner said in the release. “I’m overjoyed to join such a determined and passionate division that values the importance of mental health.”

Harlow-Burner is herself a 2010 graduate of Fluvanna County High School. She went on to get her undergraduate degree at Ferrum College and a master’s in social work at Radford University. She said she is happy to be returning to her roots as part of the Fluco family.

 “I am excited to continue to connect our students and families with resources to empower their futures. There is no place like home, and Fluvanna is a wonderful place to be. We have lots of work to do! I am excited and honored to be on the FCPS team and look forward to my future with our educators, administrations, families, and students!”

School Board Chair James Kelley he is “delighted” to welcome Harlow-Burner to the division, in a position he fought for throughout this year’s budget debates.

He said that the mental health of students “is a topic that comes up continuously as I speak to staff, parents, and the community writ large.” 

At a budget session with the Board of Supervisors in March, both Kelley and Bryan Moeller, director of the Children Services Act, told supervisors that funding the mental health infrastructure within the school system was critical, as an increasing number of students were so clearly struggling with emotional and behavioral issues in recent years. The final budget allocated $100,000 in funding for the new position.

As mental health coordinator, Harlow-Burner will work with students and staff at each of the county’s schools, but she will also give the administration feedback on the types of programming and staffing the division needs to support the mental health of all students. Kelley said he is “eager to hear more about her vision” for the district and how they can better allocate resources. 

Several candidates interviewed for the position, but Harlow-Burner was clearly a standout in that field.

“From my first conversation with Kaitlyn, it was obvious that she would be a perfect fit to help us coordinate and provide the services that our students and families need,” said Jennifer Valentine, director of special education. “Her education and background as well as her personal and professional experiences make her the ideal fit for our team to continue the work we need to do.”   

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