New Faculty Interview: Ms. Holmes


Burnett: Can you briefly describe your background, such as where you went to school and where you may have worked before coming to Berkshire?


Holmes: I graduated from Berkshire in 2006 and went on to the University of New Hampshire where I spent two years before transferring to Cornell University. I went back to school at Boston University where I got my masters in social work. I then earned a social work licensure in order to be able to pursue therapy and school counseling in Massachusetts. For the last eight years, I worked at the Brooks School in North Andover, Massachusetts. I started there as a full time English teacher, soccer, hockey, and tennis coach. I moved into counseling and became the director of student wellness for the last five years. This basically entailed school counseling and promoting wellness across the campus. 


Page: When and why did you decide to become a counselor?


Holmes: While working at Brooks in the English department, I found that kids tend to open up to English teachers about personal topics in their assignments and in their writing. I found myself spending a lot of time with students outside of class and sports, helping them through hard times in their high school lives. I decided to make a career of it, and so I went back to school for proper training. I have a sports psych focus, though I certainly have a good deal of experience working with students with a wide range of interests and passions. So, I would say my own personal struggles as a division 1 athlete–but really my experience as a human being who struggled in silence–is what inspired me to try to help people who might not know how to ask for help or where to turn. . . 


Burnett: What sparked your interest in Berkshire?


Holmes: When I was first out of college I worked in sales and real estate trying to find my path. I ended up at Brooks because they needed someone last minute, so it wasn’t my initial plan to return to Berkshire as an alumni. The reason we ended up back here was because my wife was commuting to Rivers in Weston, which was an hour plus commute each way. We did that for about four years and that was becoming very tough, so we decided to look at a selection of different schools and options. Berkshire happened to need a director of counseling and were interested in a head field hockey coach, which is my wife’s main passion. The stars aligned and led us here…and we are very excited to be back under the mountain! 


Page: What are your favorite hobbies or interests outside the counseling center?


Holmes: Outside of counseling, I love the outdoors! My wife and I spend a ton of time in the Adirondacks hiking, fishing, and doing water sports. Our dog loves to go hiking! I also love sports and that passion runs in my family, so we often all play sports together. I am looking forward to some faculty pick up hockey in the Jack.


Burnett: What else are you involved in around campus? 


Holmes: I participate in a lot of activities supporting other areas of school life. For example, I met with the field hockey team recently to support mental health in athletics. I’ve also met with the prefects to support their leadership roles. I meet with the house heads regularly to help with the residential life aspect of campus mental health. I also have an advisory group and I’m coaching JV girls ice hockey this winter! 


Page: Is there any advice you would like to give to students at Berkshire as an alumni and a faculty member?


Holmes: As a graduate, I would say to really enjoy your time here. I know that is easier said than done, but I was here for two years and it flew by! When I was in the moment, I didn’t really realize how lucky I was to be here and have all these teachers and adults that were ready to support me. My key piece of advice would be to connect with many adults.  Your experience will be better with adults in your corner and I personally wish I had taken better advantage of that while I was here. With my counselor hat on, I would say get more sleep!


 Thank you, Ms. Holmes, for meeting with us to talk a bit about yourself and your connection to the mountain! We wish you the best of luck in your first year back at Berkshire.