New to the Oyster River High School faculty this year is School Psychologist Dr. Ryan Long, who joins after one year with the same job at Moharimet School in Madbury. After graduating from UNH with a BA in Communications, Long headed across the country, not knowing he’d eventually end up coming back to Durham with a completely different job, and outlook on life.
Long moved out to Hollywood to work in the marketing industry with Sony Pictures after graduating from UNH, but decided to move back home to New Hampshire in 2004 and pursue a different type of career. Long said that although working with Sony was a “cool” experience, it “didn’t fulfill the values that came important to me in terms of giving back to the community and helping out.”
Looking for a job that would be more impactful on people around him, Long initially was intrigued in pursuing a career in teaching due to the job’s influence on children. However, after talking with one of his former high school teachers, he realized he couldn’t find a passion in any commonly taught subjects, which would make it difficult for him to break into the teaching industry. Long’s former teacher then recommended that he be a counselor, and after seeing that this profession aligned well with his characteristics of creativity and empathy, he enrolled in a counseling program which lead him to a more motivating job with students.
During his five years working as a school-based Clinical Mental Health Counselor in Brentwood, NH, Long became interest in transitioning to a position as School Psychologist. After meeting a School Psychologist and learning about the profession, Long said he “thought that it was a cool job so I went back to school for that.” Long noted that the opportunity to assist students in solving their unique problems was something he saw as an exciting venture.
Long earned an MA in Mental Health Counseling from UNH in 2007, and went on to take his first job as a School Psychologist in the Shaker Regional School District in Belmont, NH in 2009. Following over seven years working with both middle school and high school aged kids in Belmont, Long began working with a younger demographic at Moharimet Elementary School. After spending his first and only year at Moharimet last year, Long now begins working again with teenaged students at ORHS.
In speaking about his path from movie marketing to school psychology, Long says, “It’s a journey looking back,” later adding that he struggled with finding a good fit with a somewhat open-ended Communications degree. “I just didn’t have a passion for the business world, and I’m a creative person, so sitting in a cubicle for forty hours a week was a nightmare for me.”
Long said that he enjoys his job as school psychologist because of how active it is and how immersed he is with the student body community. “I sit in classrooms, I interact with students, I got to sporting events,” explains Long. “Working in a school, for me, is like a dream come true.”
In addition to building relationships with students. faculty, and families around the Oyster River community, Long has several goals for the school year, including running a series of workshops on teenage stress and anxiety, and implementing a Best Buddies program which has previously been run at the middle school.
With an eagerness to collaborate with anyone that may be in need of help, Dr. Ryan Long is looking forward to working with Oyster River students to help aid any social or emotional problems that may occur. He can be found in room C-128D by the Counseling offices.
–Written by Zach Leichtman