A Brief History of PWCA

For more than half a century, the Piney Woods Counseling Association has been serving the counselors and other mental health professionals of East Texas as a resource for professional support, networking, and education.

In the fall of 1957 Melvin Wester, Longview High School counselor, felt the need to connect with other counselors in the area.

The first counselor meeting was held at that time in Longview, Texas with six counselors attending. They were Dean HintonMildred SittonElsie BundyLollie GunnFrances and Melvin Wester. Melvin served as host and Frances, his wife, made cookies to serve the newly formed group. For the first few years, the group was a loosely knit group with no officers. The counselor who served as host also served as chairperson.

The group began to grow as counselors continued to invite other counselors. Longview, Nacogdoches, Marshall, Gladewater, Kilgore, Hawkins, Henderson, Hallsville, White Oak, and Mt. Pleasant were among the first schools to be represented. The group met twice per semester to share their concerns and experiences.

Members of this group met informally from 1957 to 1966, when they decided to form an official organization of counselors. A committee was appointed to work toward this goal. On February 14, 1967, thirty-two counselors from the East Texas area met in the Administration Building of the Longview public schools. The group was welcomed by Wyatt McDowell, Longview High School counselor, who served as host. Louise Jeter, Kilgore High School counselor, presented a tentative constitution for the Piney Woods Area Counselor Association.

The organization's name has been changed at least three times to be in compliance with the state organization. In November 1973, the Piney Woods Area Counselor Association became the Piney Woods Personnel and Guidance Association (PWPGA). In the spring of 1984, PWPGA changed its name to Piney Woods Association for Counseling and Development (PWACD). Finally the current title, Piney Woods Counseling Association, was adopted in the early 1990s.


(This space reserved for the history yet to be written...)

Past Presidents

The Piney Woods Counseling Association owes a debt of gratitude to the following persons who gave their time, energy, and wisdom to build and guide PWCA as president of the chapter.

2023-2024 Prici Ceja
2022-2023 Clare Fite

2021-2022 Brian Hicks
2020-2021 Rebecca Lincoln
2019-2020 Sarah Radulescu
2018-2019 Open
2017-2018 Jennifer Quine
2016-2017 Sarah Radulescu
2015-2016 David Deel
2014-2015 Binta Brown
2013-2014 Tom Haygood
2012-2013 Pam Gatton
2011-2012 Carrie Shaw
2010-2011 Janet Adams
2009-2010 Janet Adams
2008-2009 Cathy Sullivan
2007-2008 Leaurme Black
2006-2007 Vickie Spearman
2005-2006 Marian Richardson
2004-2005 Deb Clouatre
2003-2004 Jill Milem
2002-2003 Melinda Coker
2001-2002 Gloria Heath
2000-2001 Gladys Cooper
1999-2000 Patsy Fisher
1998-1999 Yvonell E. Witt
1997-1998 Ruth Shaw
1996-1997 Ken Luke
1995-1996 Massalina Moseley
1994-1995 Ben Cadenhead
1993-1994 George Ann Oravetz
1992-1993 Dennis Gronewald
1991-1992 Dana Ransom
1990-1991 Ronnie Hardin
1989-1990 Gay McAlister
1988-1989 Frankie Muffoletto
1987-1988 Edwinna Palmer
1986-1987 Sondra Allen
1985-1986 Alan Barnes
1984-1985 Janiece Buck
1983-1984 Robert Gholson
1982-1983 Melvin Webster
1981-1982 Janice Youngblood
1980-1981 Suzanne Schmidt
1979-1980 Doris Pitts
1978-1979 Frances Wester
1977-1978 Ralph Busby
1976-1977 Flora Nauls
1975-1976 Julia McKelvy
1974-1975 John Hall
1973-1974 Jean Dowdy
1972-1973 Percell Warren
1971-1972 Don Tuttle
1970-1971 Willa Dean Hinton
1969-1970 Karlena Jackson
1968-1969 Louise Jeter1967-1968 Dorothy Carr


The following awards are presented by the Piney Woods Counseling Association and the Texas Counseling Association in recognition of service to the public and to the counseling profession.

Outstanding Counselors of the Year

2023-2024      Clare Fite

2021-2022      Rebecca Lincoln
2020-2021      Jan Barker
2019-2020      Ronald (Ron) Smith
2018-2019      Patricia Willis
2017-2018      Susan Moon
2016-2017      Pam Gatton
2014-2015      Jennifer Quine
2013-2014      Ben Cadenhead
2012-2013      Lynn Bearden
2011-2012      Sharon Monroe-Rettig
2010-2011      Joel Jackson
2009-2010      Janet Adams
2008-2009      Angele Fanning
2008-2009      Randi McRae
2007-2008      Michael Turpin
                        *Alice Spacek
                        **Vickie Spearman
2006-2007      Alice Spacek
2005-2006      Vickie Spearman
2004-2005      Jill Milem
2003-2004      Melinda Coker
                        ** Gladys Cooper
2002-2003      Gladys Cooper
2001-2002      Madeline Gill
2000-2001      Marian Richardson
1999-2000      Gay McAlister
1998-1999      Tony Gibson
1998-1999      Yvie Witt
1997-1998      Ken Luke
1996-1997      Alan Barnes
1995-1996      Patsy Fisher
1994-1995      Dennis Gronewald
1993-1994      Ronnie Hardin
1993-1994      Dana Ransom
1992-1993      Massalina Moseley
1991-1992      Joyce Odom
1990-1991      Lauree Burkett
                        ** Mary Beth Fitzgerald
1987-1988      Suzanne Schmidt
1986-1987      Bailey Nations
1985-1986      Edwinna Palmer
1984-1985      Flora Nauls
1981-1982      ** Maggie Driggers
1978-1979      Karlena Jackson
1977-1978      Frances Wester
1977-1978      Melvin Wester

* TCA Dr. Jamesanna Kirvin Outstanding Counselor Award
** TSCA Rhosine Fleming Outstanding Counselor Award

Laypersons of the Year

2023-2024       Jared Baker

2020-2021       Robert Patterson
2019-2020       Gregg Zackary
2009-2010     *Rev. Lynn Willhite     First United Methodist Church – Elkhart
2006-2007       Chuck Hopson           Texas House of Representatives

* TCA Layperson Exemplary Service Award

PWCA Outstanding Graduate Student Award

2023-2024       Nicole Adams

2016-2017       Donald Brown                   East Texas Baptist University

PWCA Counselor Educator of the Year

2005-2006       Ralph Busby                       Stephen F. Austin State University
2004-2005       Dr. Shirley Jones              University of Texas at Tyler
2003-2004       Dr. Jane Holland              Stephen F. Austin State University

TCA Chapter Awards

2005-2006       PWCA                                    TCA Co-Outstanding Chapter
1994-1995       PWCA Pine Needle          TCA Outstanding Newsletter (Editor: Ronnie Hardin)
1991-1992       PWCA                                    TCA Outstanding Chapter
1991-1992       PWCA Pine Needle          TCA Outstanding Newsletter (Editor: Ronnie Hardin)