She runs this

Amy McLoughlin joins the CHS family, fired up to be the school’s newest counselor


provided by Amy McLoughlin

Kevin Davis, Amy McLoughlin, and Brian Williams (left to right) help students cross the street before school

After taking one last sip from their root beers to wash down their reuben sandwiches, Amy McLoughlin and her friend left Zingerman’s, walking down Fifth Avenue. She turned to look at a sizable building protruding out from a grassy lot.

“That’s a high school?” McLoughlin thought.

From what her friend had told her, Community High School (CHS) was an open campus school with an egalitarian setup, making sure that the students were valued, respected and honored for what they brought. McLoughlin knew she could connect with students that didn’t necessarily love everything about a traditional school. She knew that CHS was the place she needed to be.

When a counseling position opened up at Pioneer High School (PHS), McLoughlin and her wife made the move from Toledo, Ohio to Ann Arbor. McLoughlin stayed at PHS for one year before switching to Skyline High School (SHS) for nine years. Her coworkers at her past schools would continuously tell her how much she needed to work CHS. This counseling position at CHS isn’t just another cool job: Being a zebra is her passion. When students enter her office, she is there to support them in the best, most efficient ways possible. After ten years of counseling work in the Ann Arbor School District, McLoughlin feels like this is a perfect fit and wants to implement some of her peer mediation program plans into CHS.

When she worked at SHS, a school with almost three times the number of students of CHS, she helped develop Sky Squad. The group was a restorative justice program based on tribal cultures that were formed around community. Instead of being expelled, students would mediate their own conflicts and solve them between one another. Sky Squad dealt with a lot of profound issues such as racism, homophobia, sexism and more. The group was about understanding what the harm was, who was harmed and repairing the damage. Everyday, McLoughlin felt impacted by the change that was helping solve student conflict.

McLoughlins’ peer mediation program will not necessarily deal with conflict, but will have students trained in different areas dedicated to helping others academically and emotionally. She wants to build a friendly environment that provides the opportunity to develop healthy coping skills for students. Before McLoughlin begins any draft of the group, she wants to talk to the Depression Awareness Group, Black Student Union, Queer Straight Alliance and other clubs to get their opinions on the idea.

“I think everything has to go through the students,” McLoughlin said. “I respect and honor that Community is about the student’s voice. If I could be a part of something, just let me know. I want to be my best self.”

Whether she is dressed in a neon vest helping students safely get to school, DJ’ing a queer wedding, or fixing scheduling errors, McLoughlin is focused on supporting students and welcomes anyone to step inside her long awaited rainbow zebra office.