An Introduction to Ms. Bonello, new Director of Counseling

Christina Zhang, Campus Reporter

Ms. Bonello, who recently joined the Kent community, is the new Director of Counseling. She has been in the field for thirty years, particularly specializing in child and family relationships. Ms. Bonello, throughout her career, has also worked with many non-profit mental health agencies and organizations. She has also worked with domestic violence, sexual assault, AIDS and HIV clients. 

Outside of counseling Ms. Bonello loves to read, listen to music and travel. She enjoys visiting Cape Cod as well as Maine. 

For the future of the counseling center, Ms. Bonello has many hopes and ideas. She wants the counseling center to “become larger over the next year or two” as well as adding “additional staff and additional programming.” Implementing new protocols and policies is definitely another one of her priorities. Making the counseling center “the safest environment for students” is critical for kids to express their feelings and concerns. Mental health is a prominent issue among adolescents and providing the student body with resources is also a priority for the administration. 

Mental health at boarding school has its own and unique challenges; the issues are multifaceted. Ms. Bonello recognizes that “being away from home, being away from family and friends, adjusting to different living circumstances, and living with roommates” all contribute to the boarding school experience and the mental health aspect of the experience is as important to explore. 

A program that is currently in the works is the peer support program (previously known as peer counseling), which was recently paused. The counseling department hopes to reexamine the criteria and curriculum in order to fully serve the community’s needs. The department aims to reinstate the program in the near future. 

The school counselors are available throughout the week either by drop in or appointments. The counseling center is a safe space and the counselors are here to support the students.