Date of Award

Spring 5-13-2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Organizational Leadership

First Advisor

Philip Pendley

Second Advisor

Jonathan Greenberg

Third Advisor

Lisbeth Johnson


Purpose: The purpose of this Delphi study is to identify, from the perspective of expert counselors, the roles that middle school counselors perform during their workday, to rate the importance of the roles identified, and to identify organizational supports necessary for middle school counselors to successfully perform each of the six most important roles identified. Additionally, this study seeks to gain feedback from expert middle school counselors on how to best align the necessary organizational supports with the identified most important roles.

Methodology: The Delphi method was utilized for this study through an electronic survey that asks participants a combination of open-ended research questions, a quantitative opportunity to rate the roles school counselors perform by level of importance, and finishes with an opportunity for alignment and feedback.

Findings: The expert panel identified 52 tasks a middle school counselor performs during a typical workday. The panel then ranked the tasks and determined the following six to be the most important (1) social-emotional counseling, (2) academic counseling, (3) college and career counseling, (4) serving as a member of school site teams, (5) educational tasks, and (6) registration tasks. The expert panel then recommended 19 organizational supports that support middle school counselors in performing the top six roles effectively and ultimately increasing positive student outcomes.

Conclusion: The school counseling profession has transformed over the years to encompass multiple roles and responsibilities culminating in the creation of comprehensive school counseling programs. Middle school counselors are used to provide administrative support at high levels which interferes with their focus on student service. To effectively align organizational supports, the roles and responsibilities of a middle school counselor must first be defined. The expert panel generated a list of 19 organizational supports that if provided would allow middle school counselors to perform the six most important roles.

Recommendations for Action: Based on the findings from this study, five recommendations were put forth for further research in the field of school counseling and to advance the understanding of the organizational supports needed to support a school counselor in positively impacting student outcomes.