“I love being a school counselor because I get to work in a dynamic environment surrounded by creative, talented, funny, smart, curious, and passionate people,” said Amy Poag.
As Director of Counseling and Upper School Counselor, Poag guides St. Mary’s oldest students through their teenage years, helping them navigate life as an young adult.
As St. Mary’s Upper School students balance challenging courses, extracurriculars, and college applications, Poag encourages students to be OK with saying “no.”
“It’s ok to say ‘no,’” said Poag. “I think it's important to prioritize well-being, and sometimes that means deciding to let some things go."
She says that she tries to get eight hours of sleep each night, which helps with focus and stamina.
While life in the Upper School can get busy, Poag is intentional about creating space for girls to engage in counseling. Poag’s office is a place where girls can come in to calm down whenever they need, and she keeps self-soothing items on hand, like hot tea, fidgets, coloring supplies, jigsaw puzzles, and weighted stuffed animals. Poag says she also gives students permission to decorate her whiteboards with inspirational thoughts, messages, and pictures.
For Poag, it is important that all Upper School students know that she is available to them.
“I like to find various ways to connect with students outside of my office so that they will see me as a person they can come talk to,” said Poag.
Before coming to St. Mary’s this school year, Poag served as a guidance counselor at Memphis University School. She has 10 years of experience as a Licensed Professional Counselor, 7 years working as a school counselor plus 3 years working in other mental health settings. She attended Davidson College where she received her bachelor’s degree in English and received her master’s in counseling from the University of Memphis.
- Upper School