Guidance Counselor Mrs. Colleen Lewis, reflects on her past and shares her plans for the future.
A moderator of the Outdoors Club and innovator within the Counseling Department, Mrs. Lewis will be taking her talents to Germantown Academy after five memorable years.
Why did you decide to come to Malvern?
I saw a job posted that I didn’t think I would get but Ms. Wuetig convinced me to apply for the job at Malvern along with four other places and I got turned down by everyone except Malvern, but I needed a job so I decided to go to Malvern. I actually grew up in the West Chester area and my brothers used to play basketball here in a summer basketball league, so I was used to coming here. When I was in high school, our cross country championships were here, so Malvern was very much a part of my life even before I got here. I never would’ve guessed that I would end up working here. My grandfather actually coached football here in the 1950’s for one or two seasons. It’s kind of funny because there’s even this historical element of Malvern in my family.
You are the moderator for the Outdoors Club, could you describe your role there and in other roles outside of your job description?
Yeah, one thing I’m disappointed about leaving is that I just started making the plans for the Outdoors Club to become more skills based, meeting weekly to learn tent pitching, fire setting, knot tying, etc. Up to this point it has been an outing club, we go on backpacking trips and ski trips. I also coached middle school track at one point and then there’s a lot of other things I do that aren’t necessarily with kids. I’m on the diversity oversight committee, and even things like outlining the counseling curriculum.
What did you like best about being here?
The thing I would say about Malvern is that it is a warm, welcoming community. My colleagues are great. The students are awesome. It’s been great working in a single-sex environment, and it it is really different from a co-ed environment, but I really enjoy working with the boys.
What are you going to be doing next year and what led up to your decision?
Well, it was kind of weird. I wasn’t actually looking for a job; I just stumbled upon a job opening at Germantown Academy. I will be teaching AP and Academic Psychology. The role of the counselor is a little different there. I will be doing more therapeutic psychology. When I found the posting I thought, ‘I like working at a boy’s school but it would be nice to work with girls again.’ They do have a better setup for my family. They have a daycare for my little guy.
What are you most proud of in your career?
That’s a good question. I would say definitely the counseling department has changed a lot since I’ve come here and I think I’ve helped that happen and that it has changed in positive ways. The fact that we have a counseling curriculum, although there are mixed feelings about it, it helped fill gaps that we had in our curriculum like drug and alcohol education and even relaxation and mindfulness. I feel like we need to teach kids how to be compassionate and I feel like the counseling curriculum has helped us move in the right direction.
What are your goals for the future?
Like I said, one of the attractions of GA is that it is co-ed. I think in order to stay fresh, you have to make painful moves like the one I’m making now. Working in a co-ed environment will help me to stay dynamic and grow professionally. So I think constantly improving myself professionally is the goal. Long term, I have this pie-in-the-sky dream of moving out West and doing more therapy stuff like I’ve done before. Whether or not that will be realized, I don’t know, but I want to keep improving year by year.
Could you tell us about a memorable experience you’ve had here at Malvern?
I’ve made a lot of memories on the Outdoor Club trips. I feel like the most memories are made spending time with students in a non-traditional setting, like Outdoor Club trips and service trips and stuff like that. I was actually on a service trip when my dad died, and actually when I had my baby too, and I couldn’t believe the support and how awesome the community was. Both were memorable, one sad and one joyful, because of the outreach from the community. Also, on the inaugural backpacking trip, we came home right before Hurricane Sandy hit. There were a lot of really good memories.