Mary Stokes - Aspen Country Day School

Mary Stokes
Lower School Counselor

970-925-1909 x 252

Mary began at Aspen Country Day School as a Kindergarten assistant in 2004, back when the Lower School was in tiny cottages where the turf field is today. She became Lower School Counselor in 2019. Mary leads class meetings and works with children in Kindergarten to Fifth Grade as they develop their social-emotional skills. She is the parent of two sons; both are ACDS graduates. Mary has a BA in psychology, an MFA in dance from NYU, and a masters in counseling psychology from the University of Denver.

Dream dinner guests?

Mary Queen of Scots and Arnold Schwarzenegger. And my mom and dad, I’d love to be with them again.

Something that was cool when you were younger?

Walkmans. (Interviewer: what’s that?) You know, with the headset and the cassettes? To listen to music? Also legwarmers. I was a dancer, and those were so cool. I was into aerobics at some point, with bright leotards and shiny outfits. Oh my gosh, I cringe to think that I actually wore feathers in my hair.

Something we might not know about you?

Starting at age 52, I began running marathons. I have run three and am looking forward to running the Chicago Marathon once the pandemic is over.

Most interesting job before this?

My first real job out of graduate school was at Porter Memorial Hospital in Denver in the PTSD unit. We helped firefighters, people who had been to war, and people who had struggled with substances and eating disorders.

What’s something surprising about our school?

How important the setting is in encouraging children’s self-discovery, exploration, and resilience. We don’t fix things – we allow children to struggle. They are outside in all weather, not only at recess, but also navigating the outdoors between classes daily. Children are grounded in nature, walking by the stream or the river, hearing the birds in the trees — they are fully surrounded by the world in a pure sense.

When you were little, what did you want to be as a grownup?

A ballet dancer and a teacher. I remember playing school with my cousins at home in Lake Forest, Illinois. I set up a little classroom in the basement with an old chalkboard and an old wooden desk. My dog, Malley, a springer spaniel, was the best student.

Mary with student interviewers Roman D. and Casey L.