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Meet Phyllis

Phyllis L. Fagell

Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor, Certified Professional School Counselor, Author and Journalist

Phyllis has worked in both public and private schools with students in grades K-12. She currently works full time as the school counselor for Sheridan School in Washington, D.C. and provides therapy to children, teens and adults in private practice at the Chrysalis Group, Inc.

Phyllis is the author of “Middle School Matters” and a journalist. She’s a frequent contributor to the Washington Post, focusing on counseling, parenting and education, writes the Career Confidential weekly advice column for PDK, Intl. for educators, and “The Meaningful Middle” column for AMLE (Association of Middle Level Educators). She also has written for Psychology Today, Working Mother, Time, U.S. News & World Report, and Your Teen, and her ideas have been shared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, The New Yorker, The Boston Globe, and The Chicago Tribune, among many other outlets.

Representative topics include:

  • Anxiety and depression
  • Surviving gossip
  • Taking risks
  • Growth mindset
  • Grades and expectations
  • Behavior
  • Sexuality, vaping, suicide and other health-related topics
  • Social turmoil
  • Different learning styles
  • Lying
  • Communicating with teen boys
  • Empowering girls
  • Romantic love
  • Career development
  • Bullying
  • Preparing kids for a changing world
Middle School is a complicated time and parents have all kinds of questions. Should I make my child stick with an activity he hates? Why does my daughter insist on hanging out with girls who send her mean texts? How can I get my son to do his homework?
Phyllis Fagell

- Phyllis Fagell

Expert and Journalist

After she wrote about teaching middle school students about love, NPR interviewed her for a special Valentine’s Day piece that went viral. It was shared more than 2,200 times in itsfirst day on Facebook. News outlets around the world have run her stories, including the Sydney Morning Herald, The Calgary Herald, the U.S. Department of Education and the Hong Kong Education Post. For her article on empowering middle school girls, her Washington Post editor noted that more than 100,000 individual people read the piece online alone.

Phyllis also has appeared on a number of TV shows, including the BBC’s 100 days and Fox’s Good Day Live, and she has recorded podcasts and webinars for shows including Dr. Robyn, Building Boys, Principal Matters, Parent Encouragement Program, Mind Matters and Parent Shift. She also presents at conferences, businesses and schools throughout the world. Representative examples: The American Academies of Science, Medicine and Engineering (keynote), Spark Kindness (author series), Parents Council of Washington, Parent Encouragement Program (noted author series), The Michigan Association of Secondary School Principals (keynote), New York State Middle School Association (keynote), The European Middle Level Educators Association (keynote), ASCD, AMLE, Responsibility dot Org, Character dot Org; Kent School, Stone Ridge, Convent School, Seven Bridges, St. Patricks, Langley School, Byram Hills, Eisenhower and many more.

Phyllis attended Dartmouth College (BA in creative writing), the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University (MSJ in magazine editing) and Johns Hopkins University (MS in counselling). She lives in Bethesda, MD with her husband and three children, ages 18, 16 and 11.

 “Everyone wants kids to treat each other with kindness, and parents, coaches, mentors and educators are role models who can set the tone.”