Sara Mairs’ first priority is fostering a trusting relationship with each and every student. “The learning environment must be safe, above all else, for true growth to occur,” she says. In her role as Middle School counselor and seventh grade wellness teacher, Mairs has many opportunities to observe and foster her students’ growth. She is always inspired, she says, by “any moment in which I witness one student ‘discovering’ another student whom he or she previously did not know—or had written off. Watching kids make connections—with their authentic selves and with each other—is very rewarding.” Mairs is also passionate about wilderness experiences, and has led teens on canoe and backpack trips as an instructor with the National Outdoor Leadership School and Camp Widjiwagan. “This work has served as the foundation of my professional development, both in teaching and in counseling,” she says. Ms. Mairs has taught at SPA for eight years. She holds a B.A. in psychology from Amherst College and an M.A. in counseling psychology from the University of St. Thomas and is a member of the American Psychological Association and the American Counseling Association. In her spare time, she spends time outdoors with her family and enjoys running and yoga.