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Sheila Barnhart-Ramirez, counselor at Langley Elementary School, earns doctorate

Sheila Barnhart-Ramirez, counselor at Langley Elementary School, has successfully defended her dissertation to earn an Ed.D. from Liberty University. Her dissertation is titled The Impact of Microaggressions and Microaffirmations on Safety, Acceptance, and Inclusion for LGBTQ+ Middle School Students: A School Counselor's Perspective. 

Barnhart-Ramirez holds a BS in psychology from Christopher Newport University, an MSEd in school counseling from Old Dominion University, and her Ed.D. is in Community Care and Counseling-trauma studies from Liberty University. She is also a product of Hampton City Schools having attended Syms Middle School and Kecoughtan High School.

Barnhart-Ramirez spent her first 12 years in education as a middle school counselor in Casa Grande, AZ, but moved back to Virginia in 2012. She worked at Langley Elementary School from 2012 to 2018, and moved to Kilgore Gifted Center in 2018 and worked there until 2021. She returned to Langley in 2021. 

“I came back to the elementary level because I feel like I am able to make a greater impact by helping little ones create a foundation of resilience and coping skills to carry with them through life, especially when they have been impacted by trauma,” shared Barnhart-Ramirez.

She is also pursuing the requirements to be a School-Based Registered Play Therapist (SB-RPT), as well as an Internationally Credentialed Sandtray Therapist (ICST). Additionally, Barnhart-Ramirez was recently selected to be a part of the Virginia School Counselor Association Emerging Leaders program. 

Regarding her dissertation focus on LGBTQ+ youth, Barnhart-Ramirez has presented on the topic over the last few years at annual conferences for the Virginia School Counselor Association and the Virginia Association of School Social Workers, as well as the VDOE's Safe and Supportive Schools Conference, the DBHDS's Reimagining Mental Health in Schools Conference, and Rejuvenate for HCS. She also started (and continues to run even after she left) the Unity Club GSA at Kilgore. 

“I congratulate Dr. Barnhart-Ramirez on this accomplishment,” shared Carla Mahn, HCS director of student development and counseling. “Her dissertation research topic is close to her heart. The research is pertinent to not only the school counseling profession but to every profession that works to support the mental well-being and sense of belonging of children during a critical period of their lives, adolescence.”

Congratulations to Dr. Barnhart-Ramirez on this outstanding achievement.