There’s a lot to school psychologist Burnside that you probably didn’t know. Did you know he has a pet poodle, owns over 60 pairs of fun socks, and is 38 years old, and never wishes to be younger?
Mr. Burnside has been the school psychologist at HHS for 3 years now. Before coming to Hillcrest, Burnside graduated from the University of Texas as well as taught 6th grade for a few years. He worked in retail and medical research for a while but discovered psychology was his passion. He moved to Utah in August of 2018 and has loved it ever since.
Burnside drew his inspiration to be a school psychologist from a few different places: His grandfather, and his wish to do something new and create his own schedule.
“My grandfather…grew up in a time just so different and came from nothing and was a very successful man. He shows that if you throw in the hard work and effort you can accomplish anything. He was amazing and inspires me to know those I work with can achieve those things,” said Burnside.
Another reason Burnside chose to be a school psychologist is that every day is different, and he knew he didn’t want to be a classroom teacher forever.
“School psychology just jumped out to me. You can’t predict what’s going to happen. I don’t like unpredictability, but I also don’t like change. I don’t go home saying I have a boring day.”
Burnside loves working at HHS and has the opportunity to meet daily with all different types of students. To better connect and build trust with his students, Burnside has a collection of goofy socks and pictures that often act as conversation starters.
Burnside said, “I can go two months without ever having to wash them because I have so many!”
Along with his goofy side, Burnside is also very serious when it comes to confidentiality with his students.
“I never ever break confidentiality unless it’s an issue regarding safety to self or another student. I’m very firm on that,” confirmed Burnside.
He says he often uses self-deprecating humor and likes to share his own experiences with life.
“Just because you have certain things you’re battling doesn’t mean you can’t be successful,” said Burnside.
One of his favorite quotes is by Richard Nixon, who says, “Only if you’ve been in the deepest valley can you understand how magnificent it is to be on the highest mountain.”
Burnside sincerely cares about his students and wants the best for them. He will often write handwritten cursive notes to his students to let them know they are welcome and that someone is thinking about them and hopes they are doing ok.
“The more open we can be about (mental health challenges) the better. Yes, you have to deal with this, but it doesn’t define you. It’s about seeking out help. Therapy is important,” Burnside said caringly.
“I just try every day to make someone’s life a little better.”
Burnside is a professional psychologist and knows how to handle a variety of circumstances and mental health issues. If you want to talk with him, here is his email: [email protected]