Counselor Randy Norris retires, gets ready to embrace her future


After retirement, counselor Randy Norris hopes to get involved with the community and spend time on her interests. She has been with Reagan since the school opened and will be missed by many.

Randy Norris has been a Reagan counselor since the school’s inception, and is finally retiring after 17 years of serving the school and students. Throughout the years, Norris has witnessed the growth of the school, the addition of new counselors and changes in leadership. After almost two decades with Reagan, Norris’ retirement offers her a chance to focus on all of the things she loves about life.

Although her time at Reagan is concluding, Norris has found plenty of enjoyment in being able to interact with students, whether it be through embracing diversity or the pleasure of helping someone solve a problem. 

“One of the things I really love is being able to interact with and be exposed to students of all different backgrounds,” Norris said. “That’s not something I’d necessarily have in my daily life, so I enjoy seeing students coming from other countries, different ethnic backgrounds or different socioeconomic backgrounds.” 

Being a counselor for many different kinds of high school students requires someone thoughtful who can be a good problem solver. Throughout her life, Norris has exhibited these qualities that have made her such an asset to the school. 

“I just love when I’m in a situation where I can answer somebody’s question and help them, and make something easier for them,” Norris said. “I think even when I was in high school, I was always the kind of person people went to with their problems.” 

She was also part of peer-counseling groups in both high school and college. Whether it be helping students apply for college or navigate a difficult situation with a friend, Norris is there to offer a helping hand. 

With the newfound free time retirement offers, Norris plans to continue working with young people in a volunteer capacity. Connecting with the students at Reagan is one thing she’ll miss, and Norris does not want to leave her interaction with the youth behind after retiring. 

“I will miss the interaction with the kids,” Norris said. “I think that is something I will continue in some way. I want to find a way to stay involved with young people.”

Norris has other aspirations on how to expand her involvement in the community as a whole.

“I really want to do a lot of volunteering,” Norris said. “I’m involved in some civic groups and that kind of thing, and I’d like to get more involved in promoting social justice initiatives, promoting voter registration— a little bit of something in politics. Just really getting involved more in the community.” 

Another main interest Norris is excited to pursue in the future is her enthusiasm for arts. She has an appreciation for art of all forms, and enjoys literature, printmaking, photography and the overall expression art can offer. 

“I love just doing something with a different part of your brain and being creative,” Norris said. “You create something new and different that you can’t find naturally. You’re creating something beautiful.” 

She has taken art classes at the Sawtooth Center for 14 years and even taught a stencil-making class.

During Norris’ time as a counselor, one of the things she’s enjoyed is meeting with students who share an artistic passion. If they happen to have images of their art on their phone or carry a portfolio, she’s happy to let them share their creations with her.

“I’m just fascinated by art, any kind of art,” Norris said. “I really enjoy seeing students express themselves artistically, whether they’re dancing or taking art classes or playing music. I think it’s so important.” 

Being a counselor has given her the chance to see the impact art can have on struggling students. Many are able to use it as a comfort when other things are going on in their lives, which Norris has found heartwarming. 

Norris will be missed by the community here at Reagan. Fellow counselor Chris McCoy has fondly called her the “All Knowing One” for her years of experience and the belief that she seems to know the answers to all of his questions. He will miss her organized spreadsheets, her leadership skills and hanging out with a fellow Wake Forest graduate.  

“When trying to put Ms. Norris into words, what quickly comes to mind is ‘driven’ and ‘committed,’” McCoy said. “The success of her students to me is what drives her to be the best counselor day in and day out.”

The years of retirement ahead open up opportunities for Norris to put time into the other things she cares about. She’s excited to travel more, catch up on her favorite shows and contribute to the community. She’ll have the chance to attend more sports games, read books for as long as she’d like and attend concerts and lectures. Overall it seems like the future holds an abundance of new adventures and explorations of her passions.

“There’s so many other things that I’m interested in that I want the opportunity to do,” Norris said. “I’ve really enjoyed my time at Reagan and I feel very lucky to have been here. It’s going to be a big adjustment to not have this part of my life, but I’m excited to fill my time with other things.”