Counseling office welcomes a new staff member

By Liv Edwards

The Jag

Mrs. Callanan is a new counselor here at South. She grew up in Topeka, Kansas, and always knew she wanted to be teaching.

Mrs. Callanan got her bachelor’s degree in psychology and communications at Pittsburg State. After graduating she moved to Las Vegas and taught theatre for one year at Eldorado High School. She discovered in her one-year Vegas experience that it didn’t suit what she wanted.

“That was the maximum amount of time that I needed to spend in Las Vegas in my early twenties!”

She came back to her home state of Kansas and taught  media broadcasting and psychology for two years at Lawrence Free State High School.

In this time is when her boyfriend, Mark, put a ring on it, and they got married. His job took them to this side of the state line. She then taught speech and drama at Harrisonville Middle School. After working there for a few years, she found her way to the Blue Springs School District. She became a speech and drama teacher at Sunny Vale Middle school, which is now known as Paul Kinder. In her seven years of being a classroom teacher, she realized that she cared more about the relationships with her students than the content and class she was teaching.

“I didn’t really care so much what I was teaching anymore, but who I was teaching. And so, in order to have more concentrated time and conversation with students I pursued my master’s in counseling.”

She loved bonding and creating relationships, so she realized counseling was her true calling. After getting her counseling degree, she worked at Sunny Vale as their counselor for another two years, then moved to Blue Springs High School and worked there for six years.

Mrs. Callanan has so far enjoyed her time here at South.

“This pandemic is bonkers, and everyone is super emotional and stressed, and yet I’ve seen nothing but kindness from staff and students. And if everyone can be this kind and this welcoming in this environment, I think it’s a real testament to everyone’s character.”

Counselors work through the summer working on students’ schedules and enrollments, so she’s had a few months to adjust to the new environment and new people. With that though, there’s never a regular day being a counselor. The job of a counselor involves many tasks and responsibilities. Most of the tasks fall under three main topics: academics, college/career, and social/emotional. They help with schedules, and helping with grades, getting upper classmen ready for their future, but are also there to help guide with student’s feelings and social conflicts. Callanan explained to me how there’s no regular day as a counselor, which is part of what makes the job so enjoyable and exciting.

Outside of work, Callanan loves baking, exercising, traveling, concerts, and being active in her community and church. With this pandemic, it’s interfered with her love of traveling and concerts, but it’s given her a chance to learn new recipes and spend more time with her family. Callanan has been married to her husband, Mark Callanan, for twelve years. Mr. Callanan is physical therapist at Centerpoint Medical Center. They also have two boys: Denton and Max. Denton is in the 4th grade, Max is in the 1st, and they both attend Cordill Mason Elementary School.