Southern alum finalist for national award

An alumni of Missouri Souther, Rob Lundien is a school counselor in Kansas City. He has received numerous awards for his work.

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An alumni of Missouri Souther, Rob Lundien is a school counselor in Kansas City. He has received numerous awards for his work.

Callie Wood, Staff Writer

Rob Lundien, a 1996 graduate of Missouri Southern State University, has been honored as a top six finalist for the 2016 School Counselor of the Year Award.  

The award credits the professionals who devote their careers to serving as advocates for the nation’s students, helping them achieve success in school and in life.  The finalists, their principals and a state representative will travel to Washington D.C. this month for three days of celebratory and educational events hosted by First Lady Michelle Obama.  

Lundien, school counselor and department chair at Staley High School in Kansas City, MO, stated that this has been a three year journey for him.  

The process of being nominated started with an Outstanding Teacher of the Year award, then went through several regional and state level awards, and finally ended being one of ninety nationwide applicants submitted to the American School Counselor Association (ASCA).   

The ASCA looks at “how are you advocating for your profession, how are you making a difference with kids, how are you helping kids socially and emotionally, and are you being a good leader”, Lundien explains.  

Before studying at Missouri Southern, Lundien attended Webb City High School where he played the trumpet.  

During his stay at MSSU he was very involved in several campus organizations including Student Senate, a campus ministry, and the yearbook and magazine staff.  He was also an active member in band where he switched instruments to the euphonium.

“Band had a really big impact in my life,” Luniden explained.  “I was fortunate to have really great professors at Southern, including the music staff.  They taught me lessons about life, and how to survive in the adult world.”  

The feeling of respect was a mutual one throughout the music department when it comes to Lundien.  “Rob is a very well respected college graduate by the community and the department.  He really made his mark at Diamond High School by developing a high quality band program,” Dr. Jeff Macomber, MSSU Interim Department Chair, described.  

Graduating with a degree in music education, Lundien started out not knowing exactly what he wanted to do with that career.  After graduation, since he was involved in band his whole life, he decided to take a teaching position as band director at Diamond High School.  After that chapter in his life closed, he then started working on his Master’s degree and moved into a new field as a school counselor.  He has now been with Staley High School for the last seven years.

When asked about the transition from a teaching career to a counselor, Lundien humbly described a “deep calling he felt to be of help in a bigger area.”  He wanted something that was a good fit for his personality and his interests. 

Another aspect that drives him as a counselor is to help kids find their passion and realize what their strengths are.  He relates this back to his start in college and not knowing what he wanted to do with his life.  

During his second year here he thought to himself that he does not want to be in school forever and he then worked on finding his calling.  

After a long journey, Rob Lundien has established his niche and is now helping students find theirs to be able to succeed in life.