Name: Drew Miller
Position: High School Counselor
School: Bozeman High School
Experience: 4th year as a school counselor
Where you attended graduate school: Montana State University - Billings
Share a little more about you: Where you are from? Hobbies/Interests?
I am originally from Helena, MT but have lived in the Gallatin Valley for six years. My hobbies right now revolve around my two children and what they want to do. My other interests include anything sports-related, primarily watching and playing football, basketball, and golf.
What compelled you to be a school counselor or led you to where you are today?
I didn’t originally set out to become a school counselor. I went to college thinking that I wanted to go to medical school. During that time, I recognized that the things that I was most interested in centered around the brain and how it functions. For awhile I thought that I’d enjoy working in a research laboratory trying to figure out how to improve reaction time for world class athletes. In order to get some related field experience, I started working in a classroom at a residential treatment facility. I was immediately hooked on working in a school and spent the next several years working at different schools in a variety of capacities. There is always something exciting and unique happening in a school that you would not see in other professions.
Favorite aspect of your job?
Kids. Working with kids is easily the best part of my job. Students have so much positive energy and being around them you can’t help but try to match it. Even on the days that I am struggling professionally, students are generally what helps get me through.
Particularly memorable program, intervention, group, lesson you’ve implemented that you believe made an impact with your students/staff?
I have a couple unique roles within Bozeman High School including teaching a social emotional learning class to Freshmen as well as coordinating services for an Alternative to Expulsion (A2X) program. I know that element of both of those programs are impactful because of the successes that I’ve seen and shared with the students involved in them. This is especially true of students in the A2X program. These students have made some mistakes during their high school careers (who didn’t?) and are able to recover and get back on track with the help of A2X. I’m thankful to be part of it and see the growth students have with the program.
Favorite part of the spring/fall conference?
It’s tough for me to pick a favorite part of the conferences. Generally, I love the keynotes; the speakers are inspiring and generate so much energy in the room. Counselors from all over the state are excited about listening to information about how to be better at something they love: helping others. The breakout sessions are great too. I typically pick my sessions before I get to the conference based on which ones I think are more relevant and applicable to me. I’m always amazed at the tools or different perspectives I leave the breakout sessions with.
Memorable moment in your career?
At the high school level I get to see students go through the decision-making process of determining where they go and what they will do after high school. I feel pretty fortunate to be able to witness this process and see the culmination of all their hard work. Graduation ceremonies, and really the process leading up to graduation, are the most memorable moments in my career. The ceremonies are the best illustrations of how far students have come and how much this accomplishment means to them. Kids and parents celebrating four years of hard work, students being happy for each other, school staff being genuinely happy and sad to lose not only good students but good people, it all makes for a truly special day that we are lucky enough to do every year.