Ms. Gray: Here to Help

Meet our new school counselor Ms. Lauren Gray


Lauren Gray

Ms. Gray, our new school counselor, lover of food and family, is very passionate about her work; she values deep connection with her students, and hopes to ensure everyone’s success.

Bella Gallus, Managing Editor

As you sit down for lunch and glance over at the student center, you may notice the familiar offices that line the wall: Mr. Walton, Mr. Thompson, Ms. Broderick, and a new face. That face belongs to Ms. Lauren Gray, Bishop’s new school counselor, and sixth-grade advisor. Ms. Gray is determined to benefit our community by bringing her many experiences from aiding foster children with therapy services, to working in the Coronado Public School system as a counselor.

Q: Where did you grow up? Where did you go to college?

I grew up in San Clemente, so not that far from here. I went to San Clemente High School, and then I went to college up in San Jose, California, and then I went to graduate school in New York, at New York University (NYU). 

It [NYU] was my dream probably since I was your age, maybe a little bit sooner. My dad is from New York, so when I grew up, we would go once a year and visit. I just loved the energy of the city, I loved the food, I loved all that stuff! But living there was a different experience, obviously, because you are not on vacation, and just getting to like walking the streets and enjoy the pizza, you have to go grocery shopping, and do your laundry, and do things that are really challenging in a giant city like that. So my first couple of months there were a little bit rough, I felt isolated. I was like “I don’t know if I am going to make it.” But then, I started to make friends and I found a group and ended up staying there for five years after graduate school. 

Q: How did you decide to become a school counselor?

When I came back from New York, I worked as a therapist for kids who are in foster care, for about five years. It was an organization called the San Diego Center for Children, and I loved it, and it was really hard. The kids and their families are really struggling and it was rewarding but challenging. But then I had my own child, five years ago, and I realized that the schedule just didn’t really allow for me to spend a lot of time with him. Because kids are in school all day so they can only see a therapist in the afternoon and evenings and so I was not really getting to be around for the things I wanted to and I started brainstorming what would allow me to do what I am passionate about and maybe give me a schedule that fits better with my family, and that’s how I kind of ended up in school counseling. And I was working at Coronado School District for the last four years, before coming here.

Q: How many years have you been a school counselor? Tell me about your experience.

So, I love being a school counselor even more. To be honest I kind of fell into it more for the schedule, and I was like “oh, we get summer off and we are done at 3:30, that sounds pretty cool.” But I love it, and what I love about it is how different every day is. Sometimes I have appointments booked, but more often, I am available for students when needed, and you know you don’t always know what you need ahead of time. So I like the variety that it adds to my day. I love, especially now at Bishop’s, that I get to do a mix of advising and teaching. I mean advising is not totally teaching but for me it is, and seeing students for more counseling needs, so that part is really cool.

Q: What convinced you to counsel at Bishop’s?

So, I actually grew up going to an independent private school, similar to Bishop’s, in Orange County. I went there from kindergarten to eighth grade. I had an amazing experience, I accredit that education to a lot of my success as an adult. So, I think I always knew I wanted to end up back at that. I saw that Bishop’s had an opening, and I just, the timing really aligned, I have two kids now and they’re both settled, so I thought it was a great opportunity and great timing and I feel really lucky to end up here.

In some ways, I feel like I am giving back. I think I understand the value of smaller class sizes in adults that are very invested in the students in a meaningful way. I wanted to be able to do that, and in public school, the need is so great, that I didn’t have the time or the setup to invest in students in such a meaningful way as I can here. I love getting to know people on a deeper level and being able to spend actual quality time with the students.

Q: What do you like about Bishop’s so far? 

The lunch! The nacho bowl [is my favorite], for sure. But I love Bishop’s pride. The faculty and the kids really seem proud to be Bishop’s students and working at Bishop’s. It creates a sense of community and I have really felt that from the moment I started on this campus. And that was something I was missing, that feeling of just welcomeness, that feeling of ‘I’m happy to be here.’ Although, I know that’s not true every single day. That’s my big takeaway for Bishop’s so far.

Q: How do you like being a 6th grade advisor?

I actually really love it, I have an all boy advisory, they are really awesome. You know, I didn’t know what to expect, they were like, “you’re going to have an all-boys sixth grade advisory,” and I was like, “Hmm, this will be interesting.” But it is really my favorite part of the job. I love doing advisory, I love getting to see them everyday. They named themselves the “Kartoshka,” which is the Russian word for potato. Don’t ask me how we got there, it’s a really long story, but they are really into it. We have a Mr. Potato Head mascot, we have a lot of fun in there.

Q: Can you tell me a little bit about your family?

So I am the oldest of five kids. We were a super close family, and I think we always kind of prioritize that. My family, we just love to get together, we tease each other in a loving way a lot, we like to just poke fun. Everyone calls me the ‘no-fun zone,’ all of my siblings, because I’m the oldest. I am always just making sure we are following the rules and being respectful and all of these sorts of things. But I’m okay with it, I’ve embraced it.

Q: What types of things do you enjoy doing outside of school?

I really like cooking. My family and I go to the farmers market every Sunday, and I really like to expose my kids to new and different kinds of foods, and like, you know, produce they’ve never seen before. So, we all are tasked with picking out something that we’ve never tried every time we go. Then, we go home and do a swargezzburg lunch, where we try all the stuff, it’s really fun. There is also a  kimchi [stand which] just exposed me to kimchi, which I didn’t know I love, turns out I love it. I have tried a bunch since and that place is by far the best and I am hoping they come back [to the farmer’s market] at some point. I also love to do pasta bars where I make all sorts of different toppings, and you can like mix and match. I have a really big family that I love to have over and do that. I love to hike. I like being outside, so we swim a lot, we hike a lot. 

Ms. Gray loves her family, and food but also her students. She is deeply passionate about creating connections and helping students through any issues they have. Make sure to drop in her office for a friendly chat or to express any issues you may be experiencing!