It was a chance encounter in 1998 that led to the 23-year counseling career of Dr. Janet Maurer 1760 at Germantown Academy. While at a neighbor’s house, she met long-time teacher and administrator Maggie McVeigh 1760 who encouraged her to submit a resume to GA.
“That unexpected encounter changed my life,” said Dr. Maurer. “I am so thankful for every opportunity that GA has offered me since then. I have been given the freedom and encouragement to explore professional passions, to shape the counseling department, and to contribute to a community that has become a second home.”
Dr. Maurer came to GA with many years of experience as a counseling psychologist. After receiving her doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania, she served as director of the Muhlenberg College counseling center, while also teaching at the college. She was then a senior psychologist at the Devereux Foundation adolescent psychiatric hospital and residential treatment center, had a small private practice, did management consulting, was an outpatient clinician at Abington Hospital, and did psychological testing at what is now Brooke Glen Behavioral Hospital.
When Dr. Maurer first arrived at GA, she worked part-time and supervised a counseling intern in the Upper School. There were no counseling resources for the Lower and Middle Schools. Eventually, Middle and Lower School psychologists were hired which led to a team of five.
“I am so proud of establishing a thriving all-school counseling department,” said Dr. Maurer. “GA has always cared about the whole child, social and emotional learning, and the importance of resilience skill building, but the Academy elevated these values into realities by prioritizing them and expanding counseling resources to include clinicians in each division. I am so grateful to have been part of this development! We have an amazing team of counselors and psychologists who enrich our community.”
Maurer added that the expansion of the counseling department allowed for more than just putting out emotional fires and responding to emergencies––the team is now able to focus on prevention as well as treatment, outreach, and helping to dispel some of the stigma about seeking mental health services.
Dr. Maurer’s love for GA knows no bounds! She looked forward to coming to school every day because of the people––her colleagues, friends, students, families. She has enjoyed chaperoning senior trips to Broadway and even participating in Les Misérables on the Belfry stage. Through a Kast Grant, Maurer also traveled to China to participate in an international school psychology conference where she taught colleagues how to establish a state-of-the-art counseling program in GA’s image.
Her tenure at GA has also been a family affair. Her husband, Jim, is a 1971 GA alumnus and her daughters, Katie ’05 and Laura ’07, are also GA graduates.
“GA’s counseling program is the envy of schools around the country, and Janet Maurer is the reason why we have such a stellar team and program here to support our students in every possible way,” said GA Head of School Rich Schellhas 1760. “Janet’s level of care has made a world of difference for individuals facing life’s most significant challenges, day in and day out, for so many years. She leads with empathy, compassion, and love, and she is perfectly relentless in her desire to provide students and families with the resources they need to overcome, to grow, and to thrive. Through it all, Janet maintains the most wonderful sense of humor – a must in order to make it through many a long, trying day. I will deeply miss her skill, her work ethic, her kindness, her partnership, and her friendship here at GA.”
When she packs up her office this June, Dr. Maurer is excited to move on to her newest role––as grandmother–– and spending as much time as possible with her new grandson. She says she also can’t wait to have more time for hobbies––painting, jewelry-making, and cooking.
“Doing all of that on the bay in Ventnor will be heaven,” she added.
Dr. Maurer will be missed at GA, but the legacy of the counseling department she helped build will never be forgotten.
A great memory was when my name was called at graduation to be honored as a member of the Class of 1760––that was a shock. But the bigger shock was seeing my whole family on the stage, including my daughter, Katie, who flew in from California to surprise me.
What she will miss most about GA:
Everything! The people, the friendships, the satisfaction of helping others, the daily interactions with my team, the built in community, the energy of students and colleagues, and the ideas that spark my brain.
What GA traditions she will miss the most:
Listening to inspiring faculty speakers at opening meetings and graduation, GA/PC Day, House Olympics, watching Belfry dress rehearsals, and helping out at track meets.
Words to live by:
Work hard, be nice!