New York State (NYS) Permanent School Counselor

Academic Program Manager / Middle School Outreach Coordinator, EMERGE-Houston Independent School District (HISD)


Mia Bradford is currently an Academic Program Manager for the EMERGE-HISD program in Houston, Texas where she is leading the district’s middle school outreach initiative for early college awareness. She graduated with a Bachelor’s in Economics and Spanish-Linguistics from University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA) and has a Master’s in School Counseling from New York University. She previously served as the Director of College Counseling at the Young Women’s Leadership School of East Harlem and a School Counselor for nine years with the New York City Department of Education. Her expertise includes development and implementation of college access programs, early college awareness programming, college access counseling, curriculum development, admissions testing, data analysis, and financial literacy. She is also a member of the National Association of College Admissions Counselors (NACAC) and the Texas Association of College Admissions Counselors (TACAC) where she serves as a mentor for new college access professionals. In addition, she is on the Texas On Course Advisory Committee to aid in developing early college awareness curriculum for the state of Texas. She was recognized as a College Summit Administrator of the Year in 2014 and received the College Bound Initiative Senior Manager Award for Outstanding Performance in 2015. Recently, she was selected for the Houston Black Leadership Institute sponsored by the Greater Houston Black Chamber of Commerce.

I work as a College Access Professional. My typical day consists of delivering engaging presentations to 6th-8th graders on college. We usually play Kahoot and I get to give away prizes. I format my presentations like a talk show so that students in the audience have a chance to share what they know about college. I am also in a lot of planning meetings to help develop a course, and several online platforms to get the word out sooner to middle school students and their families on college preparation. I also train managers that work with high school students on how to assist their seniors with the transition to college. So basically meetings, presentations, and professional development make up my typical day.

I did several internships but the main thing that I did to get into my career was to take a work-study job as a freshman in high school as a peer counselor. I worked at a high school in South Central LA and even though the students I worked with were a year younger than me, they did not know the same information I did about the college process. After witnessing educational inequality, towards black and brown children, I decided to go to grad school and become a school counselor to help students on a large scale. So I continued to take opportunities, including volunteering all throughout grad school at community organizations and non-profits to gain experience as a college counselor. I even got hired at a non-profit before I graduated because I had developed a college access program for them while I was still a graduate student. The key for me was continuing find opportunities to gain experience, even volunteering, and excelling at what I did.

Helping students realize their dreams as reality.

In Texas, the typical salary range could be $53, 595-$71, 013.

Yoga, Sleep, Read, Personal Development, Rest (I have days when I don’t leave the house), Travel and spend time with family and friends.

I give free college planning advice, I volunteer once a month to serve food to the homeless, and I used to volunteer at my church in NYC as well as every summer as a college coach for College Summit. Giving back is important, because no one gets to where they are alone. I know that I would not be where I am today without a village of people that surrounded and supported me through my journey.

I facilitate a mastermind goal group and participate in the Houston Black Leadership Institute

Live below your means, tithe, pay yourself first (save after you tithe), and do not purchase anything you don’t have the cash for.

I want to leave a legacy behind where my career and lifestyle helped other people meet their goals and realize their dreams. Financially, I do not want the next generation to have to start over, so I want to leave behind a rich financial and spiritual heritage.

Life is about choices. Even though some of us face extreme challenges, we always have a choice in how we are going to respond or react. You have to believe in yourself when no one else does and above all else believe that the Lord will never leave you or forsake you, even when those closest to us fail us.


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Houston, Texas

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