Licensed Mental Health Counselor Carl Brandl serves as Ross School’s interim director of Student Support Services, where he works with Upper School students. Prior to joining Ross last year, Carl worked as a guidance counselor in Sag Harbor schools. He also continues to operate a private practice. In his free time, Carl practices self-care by participating in hobbies that include cooking, working in his raised bed garden, and completing home improvement projects. Inspired by his predecessor Marty Cooper, an avid musician, Carl also intends to spend time this summer learning to play the guitar.
What kind of support do you provide to students?
Students come to me with a wide variety of needs. Academics are a component of what people come to speak about, but sometimes that leads to a discussion about some of their other concerns.
How did you become involved in this work?
I was a special education teacher, but I found it more compelling to look at what brought the students to the place where they were and what was happening in their lives outside of the classrooms. For example, teaching U.S. history to a first-generation Mexican student did not make as make much sense to me as learning what brought them here and the challenges they faced every day.
Had you always planned for a career in education?
I had actually planned to become a politician, but while coaching a youth soccer team in Sag Harbor, someone asked if I realized how much fun I was having as a coach. That reflection inspired me to transfer schools, change my major, and redefine my direction. I don’t know where I’d be today if I were a politician.
What are the most rewarding and challenging aspects of your job?
The most rewarding aspect is seeing the positive changes in those I work with. I also like providing value from my perspective and giving the benefit of my experience to Ross School. The most challenging part of my job is that it gets really busy sometimes.
What is something you want students to know about the student support services offered?
Any time you’re experiencing confused feelings or looking for clarity, this office can be a place to bounce some ideas and thoughts off of someone else. None of us are immune to things like anxiety and depression. Everyone gets a flat tire on occasion, and when it happens, it’s important to know that you can reach out for help.
What is something you want people who interact closely with young people to know?
Know when to involve others. It’s never a bad idea to elicit the opinions of others. At Ross School alone, there are probably hundreds of years of collective educational experience and thousands of students that the staff has dealt with over the years. There’s plenty of experience to draw on in this community.