New Staff Profile: Celeste Chappuis
Celeste Chappuis has worked in independent and parochial schools throughout St. Louis for decades, but notes that she’s always been drawn to Crossroads, its authenticity, and the way it builds community.
“The sayings that you see on the walls here aren’t just sayings,” she notes. “Everyone has a voice, a place, and something to contribute, and the notion that you don’t have to be anyone but yourself is very powerful.”
Celeste joined Crossroads at the start of the year as guidance counselor, following roles as Director of Counseling at Villa Duchesne and Logos School. Her career began as a teacher at Whitfield School with former Crossroads Head of School Billy Handmaker. After teaching there for 10 years years she went back to the Brown School of Social Work at Washington University for her counseling degree.
Celeste notes that working at an independent school always encourages faculty and staff to be involved in the life of the school, but that Crossroads’ learning community has been particularly invigorating.
“The academic program is rigorous, the students are largely happy, and when they aren’t they know how to advocate for themselves,” she says. “Many are already comfortable coming to my office and looking for support.”
Celeste also notices an empathy among peers that sets Crossroads apart. “Our students are learning the ‘soft skills’ that they cannot get anywhere else,” she says. “Students are learning how to get support and ‘be of’ support, which is important for kids. I believe the best way to develop self-esteem is through esteem-able acts. That is what is so great about Crossroads.”
Having just begun her work with Crossroads, Celeste works with faculty to continue to make connections with students, observe classroom environments, and already has all 176 names of our students committed to memory.
“I want to figure out as quickly as I can what each student’s strengths are,” she adds, “so that if one of them comes to me and feels underwater, I can say ‘let me tell you what’s going right.’ When someone is feeling below sea level, they are not ready to deal with the thing that is making them feel low. It is my job to get them back to neutral so that the next time that happens they feel more confident.”
When Celeste is not at Crossroads, she spends time with her family and her two golden retriever rescues, Rosie and Biscuit.