Caribou guidance director earns state award

8 months ago

Mark Pinette, director of guidance at Caribou High School, received a prestigious state award at the Maine Counseling Association conference April 3.

Pinette received the John Parkman Service to the Profession Award during the event, held at the Samoset in Rockport.  

The award was created to honor a counselor who demonstrates leadership, mentorship, commitment to professional organizations, and exemplifies positive examples of professionalism within the counseling community. Pinette has worked for 35 years as a school counselor and started his career working for Parkman.

Pinette began his journey as a student at Caribou High School. When his own school counselor, Lynwood McHatten, asked him what he wanted to do for a career, he said, “I want your job.” McHatten might have thought this to be a joke at the time, but helped Pinette apply to the University of Maine at Orono, where he would go on to complete his master’s degree in school counseling.  

Upon graduation from college, Pinette moved to California, where he worked in a residential group home for troubled teens.  He returned to Maine in 1987 and started his school counseling career at Medomak Valley High School, under the tutelage of John Parkman. In 1990, he moved a little closer to home and served as a school counselor at Presque Isle High School.  

During this time, he also served as president of the Northern Maine Counseling Association, served on the Maine Counseling Association’s executive board, served as chairperson of the Aroostook County Career Fair Committee, and was awarded the Governor’s Award for Substance Abuse Prevention and Education.  

In 1993, Pinette returned to his roots at Caribou High School, working as a school counselor alongside Director of Guidance Marty Gallant.  He worked on numerous committees over the years and was awarded the Distinguished Service and Commitment to Excellence Award in 2001.

He and his wife raised their two children in Caribou. Their daughter, Carlee, became a teacher at a local school and their son, Ben, ever the talented web designer and journalist, designed the Northern Maine Counseling Association letterhead that has been in use for the past 15 years. 

When Gallant retired in 2015, Pinette became Caribou High School’s director of guidance, fulfilling the promise he made to Mr. McHatten some three decades earlier that someday he would have his job.   

During Pinette’s tenure, he has participated in the Northern Maine Counseling Association, has continued his involvement with countless committees, and can often be found working hours well beyond his contract in order to ensure seamless service to students and community. 

“He is a voice of wisdom and guidance, the backbone of our high school, and a mentor and trusted friend to many,” said Tracy Boaz, school counselor at the Caribou Tech Center. “We are proud to recognize his contributions to our profession by honoring him with the John Parkman Service to the Profession Award.”