Arriving At My Destination

I recently reconnected with a former student. Now a successful furniture designer in his late 30s, he spoke of his experience in boarding school, and the difficulties he faced. I asked how he was able to work through the challenges he faced in order to graduate.

“There were a few special adults I could rely on,” he told me. “People like you who believed in me.”

I was humbled by his remark. And reminded how the right fit can propel adolescents to success.

My current transition to consulting is the natural next step in my 20+year career as an educator. And before launching my career, I was fortunate enough to attend a transformative small boarding school myself, Kimball Union Academy up in New Hampshire. The story I opened this piece with is the extension of the kinds, courtesy, and care I received 30 years ago during my own days as a prep school student. After KUA, I continued as a student-athlete at Connecticut College, then played professional hockey for a season in Germany.

My teaching career began as a ‘triple threat’ at New Hampton School back up
in New Hampshire, where I taught History, worked in a boys’ dorm, coached hockey and ran an outdoors programs. There I met a mentor in outdoor education wilderness therapy, Will White.

I went on to supervise students in a clinical boarding school as a therapist and residential advisor, and also led therapeutic wilderness trips at The Oakley School.

Subsequently, I became an Assistant Head at Park City Day School as well as Wasatch Academy in Utah. I also had the privilege of providing one-on-one therapy to adolescents at Wasatch, applying strategies from my background as a licensed social worker.

What excites me about consulting is the opportunity to work with kids and families to identify the best fit for their path toward success. To find a community that meets the needs of their son/daughter can be a tumultuous endeavor filled with unknowns and difficult decisions, and partnering with families through this process is both challenging and rewarding.

I have been fortunate to learn, appreciate, and value what a school offers families, including strong principles of trust, respect, and an overall responsibility in caring for a child. I am excited to join Don and Sarah, and the group of educators at McMillan Education, to help students find the right fit in their educational setting.

About The Author

Chris Hawk, MSW, LCSW