As a high school science teacher, Brett Stout saw his students struggling with complex issues. Wanting to connect with his students more and provide them resources to heal, he pursued a master’s in mental health counseling from OSU. As a two-time OSU graduate, Stout is making a difference for Kellyville Public Schools students.
Could you tell us more about your journey from science teacher to school counselor?
Growing up in Skiatook, I had a wonderful high school science teacher. I really wanted to be like her and teach students science. After graduating from OSU in 2011 with a bachelor’s in secondary science education, I taught for about five years. I realized getting into the classroom was only the surface of what I felt like I could provide my students. I would see behavior that had nothing to do with what I was teaching or my classroom management, and some students were working to overcome systemic issues and had experienced years of trauma.
For two years, I worked full time and went to class after teaching. It was a grueling schedule, but it has been the best decision of my life. I love being a counselor, and I love Kellyville Public Schools.
What do you enjoy most about being a school counselor?
Becoming a school counselor has equipped me to support my students, and amongst mental health professions, it gives a lot of time flexibility to meet students’ needs. I don’t have the time constraints of a clinical practice, where I would typically meet a new client each hour. I also really enjoy being able to help kids decide their future careers and watch them achieve their goals.
What does your typical day look like?
Many people are unfamiliar with a school counselor’s responsibilities, and it doesn’t help that much of our work is confidential. One day, I may work with four individual kids on personal situations, and another day I may guide policy on a rule for the school. I enjoy that no two days are the same. Because I work at a small school, I also have responsibilities not associated with a traditional school counseling role, like coordinating district and state tests, helping students register for classes and occasionally helping guide school discipline.
How did your experience in the OSU counseling program impact you?
In 2016, I graduated with a master’s in counseling, with an option in school counseling. The OSU program changed me as a student and as a person. I went into the program kind of understanding what a school counselor does, but not fully grasping the concepts. Dr. Hammer’s classes helped me see the real systemic issues around white privilege and LGBTQ rights, which were not things I had dealt with on a daily basis before. I will also never forget when I learned what being with a client really meant.
MEDIA CONTACT: Brittany Bowman | 405-744-9347 | firstname.lastname@example.org