Caitlin Watson teaches a social emotional learning class for Upper School students and also serves as school counselor at St. Andrew's Schools (SAS). Ms. Watson has been working at St. Andrew's since December 2017. Prior to joining SAS, Ms. Watson worked as a care coordinator in a community health program and as a counseling intern at several schools in Washington. Originally from Marysville, Washington, Ms. Watson earned her bachelor's in Psychology/Sociology from Howard University and her master's in School Counseling from City University of Seattle.
How did you get into counseling? What made you want to pursue the career?
"I have always been a good listener and problem solver, and I have always taken an interest in people and psychology. I spent some time working with youth and families in a crisis program in the community mental health field and I decided I really wanted to help people in a more proactive way. I chose to be a school counselor because I truly believe there is so much hope in schools."
What is your favorite part about teaching/counseling?
"Students spend so much of their life at school and I get to help them be their best self, reach their goals and prepare for life outside of school. I love teaching, discussing and learning about how human beings get along with others, manage stress, emotions and mental health. I see so much strength in our students even when they are going through their own challenging times or difficulties."
What do you currently teach? What have you previously taught?
"Many people don't know that a big part of school counseling is teaching! In addition to responding to students who need individual support, a huge part of my job is supporting all of our students.
"This year, I teach a social-emotional learning (SEL) RULER activity period for grades 6-12 and I lead advisory twice a week for half of the middle school students. I teach classroom guidance lessons once a month, covering topics such as friendship, self-esteem, coping skills, communication and conflict resolution in The Priory K-5 classrooms, as well as a couple of Prep classes. I also run multiple small counseling groups based on the needs of students but mostly focused on healthy friendships and relationships this year."
What is a current goal and/or project you are working on?
"In addition to my duties as school counselor, I am the social-emotional learning (SEL) coordinator at our school. I work with an awesome team here and we are always thinking of new ways to keep the SEL momentum going at our school. SEL has so many benefits to both students and adults on campus. I hope to help us continue to capture the impact of our SEL work – with RULER, advisory, and other programs – through data and to use this information even more to drive SEL and counseling programming to ultimately help make our school environment the best it can be!"
What is the best part about teaching at St. Andrew's Schools?
"First of all, I am deeply honored to be here in Hawai'i and to get to be a part of the St. Andrew's family. I am so appreciative of the history and traditions and I really think it makes our school special. I often walk by the portrait of Queen Emma in the corridor and think how amazing and special it is that I get to play a miniscule part in carrying out her vision for this school and our students. Also, I love working in a school that values the 'whole person.' This makes my job as a school counselor so much easier and more impactful. Academics are important, and we want our students to leave here prepared for college and career but there is so much more going on behind the scenes."
Who or what inspires you?
"I'm inspired by my mom! She has been an educator for many years and is a strong advocate for students and educators. She is one of the most confident and graceful leaders I've ever known."
What is the best advice someone has given to you? Who was that person?
"One of my friends once told me it's okay to ask for help. It sounds simple but something we all have to remember from time to time."
What is your wish for your students?
"My hope for my students is that they know they are loved, worthy and cared for. I hope they know it's okay to be who they are and that their differences and uniqueness are a gift. Lastly, I hope they leave here with the emotional intelligence and tools to be happy, healthy, successful and well-balanced adults who are able to set goals, pursue dreams and make change!"
What is one interesting thing people may not know about you?
"I attended Howard University (a historically black college & university) in Washington, D.C. for undergrad. I am still passionate about HBCUs and am proud to have helped start up an alumni club for the Seattle area."
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
"I love going to the beach with a good book. I also love going to concerts, festivals, traveling and trying new food!"
Tell us about your family.
"I just got married in February and my husband is a submariner in the Navy. My mom is an educator and works for the Washington Education Association and my dad is retired from the Navy and has his own furniture business. I have one younger sister and a family dog, our lovable Labradoodle, Lily!"