Mike Fee is a treasure hunter. Using Global Positioning System coordinates in a high-tech, online game of hide-and-seek called geocaching, he has found more than 300 hidden items and secret messages hidden at monuments and public parks in Cincinnati and around the country. The “Indiana Jones” of The Summit, Mr. Fee is the guidance counselor who tracks students in seventh and eighth grades as they transition into their freshmen and sophomore years. He is a troubleshooter who sees his job as removing roadblocks that get in the way of a student’s success. In the process, he looks for the hidden gem in each child.
Mr. Fee’s cell phone beeps incessantly. He calls out to every student by name as he walks through the corridors, carrying a worn, blue soccer clipboard to jot down notes so he doesn’t forget what people ask him. “My job is different every single day,” he says. “I love getting out and taking care of what needs to be taken care of.”
Often, the trouble Mr. Fee finds is outside the student’s control so he taps The Summit’s large network of professionals, resources and generous community to help. “If a student has an emotional need, a learning disability, anxiety, depression or is coping with death – those are problems that could keep the child from working at full potential,” he says. “I have the benefit of being tapped into parents, administrators and the kids,” he says. At this age, students are facing new situations and without experience to guide them, they sometimes make “unhealthy adjustments,” Mr. Fee says. “I’ll say, ‘OK. Is this something that’s going to define you now, or are you going to redefine who you are and prove that this is an anomaly and you’re going to go on?’ ”
Helping students learn how to solve their problems is a hallmark of The Summit, which assigns small groups of students to teachers in the Middle and Upper Schools so each student has at least one adult designated as their champion. “Helping them problem solve — I think that’s what The Summit is known for. We will help you. You’re not alone.”
When all else fails, Mr. Fee has one additional resource he can tap to solve problems. “I think a piece here that’s a little more special than other schools is the fact that we’re Catholic. There is a diversity of religions here and it doesn’t matter which faith a student is. There are times when faith can solve problems,” he says. “At a public school you can’t do that.”
“I meet the needs of each student whether it’s an academic need, a social or emotional need. Whatever the need may be, I’m here to help the students succeed.”
Guidance counselor for grades 7-12. Started at Summit in 2001-02 but has been girls’ soccer coach since 1995. 10 years prior work in social work. B.A., University of Cincinnati. M.Ed. and clinical endorsement in counseling, Xavier University.
Lives in Anderson Township where he grew up with his wife, Diane, a teacher at Mercy Montessori. Of their children, Carter and Annie go to Mercy and Alexis goes to Summit. Graduate of St. Xavier High School. Plays soccer weekly in adult leagues. Avid fan of Bearcat football or basketball, the national soccer team, Columbus Crew and the Reds. “I’m a big sports fan.”