By Alayah Campbell ’25
Alex Dark was born in NJ and grew up in PA. Most of her childhood was spent in Phoenixville (where she graduated high school). She then graduated from Arcadia University with a B.A. in History, Honors, and Secondary Education and earned her M.Ed. in Instructional Design from Western Governors University. She started her career as a high school teacher and taught in Germany and Japan before settling in Philadelphia. After eight years as an educator, she moved into GFS's College Counseling.
How did you arrive at GFS?
My work in college counseling is a relatively new change—I taught 11th and 12th graders for the past eight years and am just now moving into the college counseling space. I was introduced to GFS ten years ago as a senior in college, when I took a teaching fellowship with the Breakthrough program, which is still here today. After that, I knew I wanted to make my way back here at some point. So, two years ago, I started coaching Track and Field at GFS and now am here full-time.
What has been significant in your shift from being a teacher to being in the College Counseling office?
In my role, I am a coordinator, not one of the college counselors. I work with all four of our counselors on managing our time and bringing more structure to the space. It’s quite different from teaching, but encompasses many things that I enjoy, such as the behind-the-scenes work like calendar planning, organizing, testing, and other things I’ve done as a teacher. Also, this is a hybrid role, so I am still with Breakthrough as the Dean of Faculty—my role allows me to have space in both worlds.
What do you want to bring to the College Counseling office?
I am hoping to make the space more welcoming and stress-free. Working with the college counselors and organizing some community-building events can help the department get more engaged with the rest of the school and community.
What does a day-in-the-life look like?
Each day, I have a series of meetings to attend—both for Breakthrough and College Counseling. We often have college representative visits, and I’m responsible for greeting them when they arrive. If there are any gaps in the schedule, I use it to read some of the literature we have for Breakthrough or help new teachers in the program with lesson planning, guiding them through that.
Are there any misconceptions about what it’s like in the College Counseling office?
Many people might imagine that the fall is the most hectic for the College Counseling office, which is sometimes true—usually due to the seniors applying to college. However, College Counseling has different times throughout the whole year where we work with other grades more intensely. Fall is senior-focused, and that will die down come the new year. That’s when we start focusing on 11th graders and also expand into 10th and 9th grade.
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