Our mission: Dawson School is dedicated to excellence of mind, body, and character. We prepare students, through challenging and relevant learning, to become creative, resilient problem-solvers who bring their best to the world.
Campus Life



"Will someone at the school be there for her daughter if she needs help,” asks Angela Falter Thomas, author of Know Thy Students-Including My Daughter, which highlights the importance for parents to feel that a school’s educational culture values and knows the unique qualities of each student.  

At Dawson, our faculty, staff, and campus-based counselors consider the development of the whole child: physically, cognitively, emotionally, and socially.  

Three counselors support students and families in all divisions as they navigate normal developmental challenges, including friendships; balancing the demands of academic, co-curricular, and family activities, learning self-advocacy and self-discipline and seeking to know themselves better.  We recognize the interrelationship of school, family, and student and how changes in one area often impact other areas of a child’s life.   

Each member of the Dawson community is unique and adds a page to our community’s story.  Through direct service with children or through a family partnership, the counselors are truly members of a village that includes family, faculty, staff, coaches, and peers who facilitate children “coming into their own.”  We recognize and honor the strength and resilience of each child and family and believe that this strength-based philosophy informs all our individual and group work with students and families.   As appropriate, counselors are additionally able to connect families with outside therapeutic resources.   

Unique to Dawson is our Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) program. Each winter, thirty K-12 parents, faculty, staff, and upper school students spend two days learning how to identify the signs of suicide ideation and intervention strategies. 

The Upper School's Compassion Connection is a group of students committed to learning ways in which to identify peers who may be struggling emotionally and socially, and might need some extra support. They utilize compassion and empathy strategies to reach out to peers, creating a support network and providing safe ways for students to make connections that can provide help.

List of 2 members.

  • Photo of Holly Smith

    Holly Smith 

    US Counselor
  • Photo of Bryna Cunningham

    Bryna Cunningham 

    LS/MS Counselor
    University of Maryland - B.S.
    National Catholic School of Social Service - M.S.W.