Seeking Counsel: Juniors Benefit From the Wisdom of School Counselor Kaye Boykin


Ayana Ragin

Guiding Hand: Class of 2024 school couselor Kaye Boykin channels her love for students into giving sound advice to the more than 575 members of the school’s junior class.

Imagine having to keep track of students’ schedules, scheduling them for the coming year, and keeping them all happy. Sound like an impossible task? The preceding is the daily reality of 11th grade school counselor Kaye Boykin. Now in her 10th year at North Atlanta, beyond solving the jigsaw puzzle of so many schedules, Boykin has been a compassionate and attentive counselor in every sense of the word.

Boykin, a native of West Memphis, Arkansas, attended West Memphis High School where she was active in her school’s business club. For college, she attended the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and she was active in her sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha. During her college years, she was a majorette and was an active participant in that school’s marching band. Initially, she studied in college to be a nurse but then switched majors and graduated with a biology degree and a minor in chemistry.

Her first job out of college was working in client relations for American Express Corp. in Dallas. An early career move had her move from Texas to Atlanta where she worked as a chemical analyst at Georgia Pacific. While working in a company research laboratory, Boykin realized she yearned for a career change. Her interest in chemical analysis started fading and she began to realize that she really wanted a job with more human interaction. In her younger days, she was always actively involved in clubs like 4H and she had always made a habit of volunteering in her community. “I just knew that I was good at helping people in a direct manner and it made sense for me to pursue a career where I was doing that,” she said.  

A career in education was what she became to formulate for herself and with that goal in mind, she enrolled at Georgia State University, pursuant to obtaining a teacher’s certificate in science education. Upon obtaining her certification, she secured her first teaching job in science at Chattahoochee High School in Johns Creek where she taught for seven years. From there, Boykin made the move to APS’s Frederick Douglass High School where she took a post as a school counselor. “As a science teacher, I was always helping students with their own pathways into STEM-related college programs and careers, so becoming a school counselor was something that made sense for me,” she said.

Boykin was at Douglass High for 15 years and came to North Atlanta during the 2013-2014 school year. Each school counselor at North shepherds a grade cohort through its four years of high school and Boykin has been directly connected to the school’s 2015, 2019 classes, and she currently works with the North Atlanta’s juniors, the Class of 2024, a large cohort of students that numbers around 575 students.

Boykin’s main task as academic advisor is ensuring that students graduate within four years. She works tirelessly to see that students under her watch are challenging themselves academically with their course selections. Junior Leola Hayal has always appreciated Boykin for accommodating her academic and emotional wants and needs. “I feel as if Ms. Boykin is such a reliable and comforting advisor at North Atlanta,” she said. “She is always there when we need her despite her hectic schedule.”        

With Boykin’s overwhelming schedule and ability to conquer the complexities of the schedules of nearly 600 students, her ongoing goal is to remain hyper-organized, to stay consistent with her planner, and to make use of all manner of scheduling technology. She’s quick to praise her students and her students’ parents who are of great assistance and support. “I have the honor to work with a great group of students that are eager and ambitious,” she said. “When they leave us at the end of the coming school year, I know the Class of 2024 is going to go off and do amazing things.”

What’s clear is that Boykin has a heart for educational counseling and for the students in the Class of 2024 she so nobly serves. When they graduate in May of 2024, she knows it will be hard for her to say goodbye to her current advisees. But for her and her colleagues, the counseling cycle always continues. You bid “adieu” to one class of Warriors, and then you get ready for a new freshman class to come in, one that’s starting its own academic journey.