Dowagiac grad returns to district as student counselor

DOWAGIAC — Monday was a homecoming of sorts for Ross Tidey.

The Dowagiac Union Schools Board of Education unanimously approved the hiring of the Dowagiac Union High School alumnus as a secondary student advocate during Monday’s board meeting at Dowagiac Middle School.

Joining Tidey as new teachers and staff in the district are:

  • Concepcion Andrade, kindergarten, Sister Lakes Elementary
  • Nanette Roach, kindergarten, Justus Gage Elementary
  • Jennifer Clanton, special education, Dowagiac Middle School
  • Laura Frye, fourth grade, Patrick Hamilton Elementary
  • Margaret Ortiz, fifth grade, Patrick Hamilton Elementary
  • Collin Churchill, social studies, Dowagiac Middle School

As a student advocate who will work with troubled students or those who have problems in their education, Tidey will help students get the help and resources they need to engage in a positive learning experience.

“It’s a really good feeling,” Tidey said. “I did my internship at the high school and to be a part of the community at this level is great. … Dowagiac has always been my home and will always be my home. I can’t wait to get started and learn how to be a part of this process.”

After graduating from DUHS in 2014, Tidey attended Southwestern Michigan College before moving on to Western Michigan University, where he earned a Bachelor’s in family studies. He is currently working on his Master’s in counselor education psychology.

According to Tidey, his path to counseling the youth began with a desire to teach.

“I wanted to be a teacher when I left high school,” he said. “I got to SMC and Western and the teaching program, for lack of a better term, chewed me up and spit me out. I think that showed me that teaching kids to have a backup plan is important and that just because something doesn’t go completely right does not mean everything is going to go completely wrong.

“I remember four or five different people telling me I needed to be a guidance counselor. They said that I can really sit down, listen to people and just begin to help them find their first steps toward solving a problem.”

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic reinforced for Tidey the importance of guidance counselors and mental health awareness.

“My inspiration is helping the kids,” Tidey said. “The COVID year showed us that isolation is real and that people ages 10 to 15 can experience some heavy burdens. Whatever I can do to sit down and show them that you can talk to me, you can talk to anybody if you need to. The bottom line is that the kids inspire me.”

In other business, the district approved the adult lunch prices for the 2021-22 school year. An adult breakfast will cost $2.49 and an adult lunch will cost $4.25.

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