Faculty Spotlight : Stephanie Ault
By SHILOH LIU ‘22
On Friday, September 6th, Mr. Ball introduced fifteen new faculty members to the Upper School during its opening Convocation Ceremony, including Stephanie Ault ‘86. Ms. Ault is a new intern counselor whose office is located on the second level of the Health and Counseling Center. Ms. Ault earned a master's degree in counseling at Lesley University, a bachelor’s degree from Oberlin College, a J.D. from Boston College Law School, and an M.Ed. from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education. She has worked at Lesley University Counseling Center, Newton Central High School, Newton Public Schools’ Springboard program, and BINA Farm Center.
As a counselor, Ms. Ault is an excellent resource for the Upper School community. Students would agree that Milton is a high-stress place where academics, social abilities, and emotions play huge roles in their lives. Counselors are here to provide students a comfortable, confidential space where they can be heard. Ms. Ault, like all other counselors on campus, is more than willing to get to know the Milton community by extending a helping hand.
Tell us about yourself.
I am currently working as an intern even though I am a bit “on the older side.” Counseling requires at least two years of being in the field (although I already did some of that work during school). Before counseling, I worked in the television industry, and I even moved to and lived in Ireland for six years after I met my husband. When we moved back, I worked with a lot of kids on SAT/ACT tutoring, and I taught horseback riding for another few years. Because I am not as physically capable to do that kind of work anymore, I decided to use my extensive experience in working with younger people to get my master’s degree in counseling. For some reason, I was often very good at helping the kids that other teachers or counselors couldn’t seem to manage.
Why did you want to become a counselor at Milton?
I have always found teenagers interesting. Since teenagers are in a unique stage between child and adult, they are often trying to figure out who they are. I want to help students go through this process, especially when they are far away from home. I also had a great counselor when I was in college, and I want to reflect on that wonderful experience by taking up that role and supporting Milton students.
I graduated from Milton in 1986, so Milton was naturally my first job choice. Actually, Milton has changed quite a lot over the years. It was two schools—a boys’ school and a girls’ school—during my time here: the boys on one side of the Forbes side of campus and the girls on the Hathaway and Faulkner (now the Health Center) side. We had classes together, but gyms and assemblies were separated. Millet and Norris are new, too. It was also surprising to see that academics are, increasingly, taking a big toll on students—not only within Milton but also along the general trend in our country.
What is one piece of advice you would give to Milton students regarding stress?
Be kind to yourself. Really. A lot of people are worried about grades, especially college applications. My husband worked in the computer industry, and he told me that a college title doesn’t matter once you get your first job. In fact, he argues that your first job is often based on ability rather than educational background. Colleges, and high schools, too, should be seen as milestones—not requirements with huge consequences. Talking to a counselor is especially helpful for students dealing with this kind of stress. A counselor is, perhaps, one of the few people who won’t expect something from you. A counselor simply makes conversation and shares their own expertise.
What are some other interests that you have?
I am very fond of horseback riding, and though I’m not as physically able as I was before, I really want to compete. I also love cooking, and one of my favorite cooking channels includes Tiny Kitchen on Instagram. I have an adopted daughter who is thirteen, and I spend a lot of time with her along with our two dogs, two cats, and two horses; the horses don’t live in the same house though!
I am very excited to learn from my colleagues and make new connections at Milton.
Welcome to counseling any time!
Health and Counseling Center: 348 Centre St, Milton, MA 02186 (next to Hathaway), 617-898-2470