The early years
I was working at a teen center in Minneapolis while in college. I began mentoring, coaching, and developing programs for teens in my neighborhood. From here, I knew that I wanted to work with kids. After college, I started my career in teaching; teaching high school Spanish.
The next step
After a few years teaching Spanish, I decided to move out to the west coast to pursue the next step in my teaching career. I took a job as an Educational Assistant working with students with learning differences. I loved this work and took a job as a Special Education Case Manager. Throughout the next five years, I developed strong connections with my students as I had the opportunity to follow the same group throughout their high school experience. This culminated in speaking at their graduation. I have been fortunate to continue to stay in contact with these students to see their accomplishments and hear first hand the impact I was able to make on their lives.
“I honestly don’t know if I would be where I am today if it wasn’t for that push from you. Besides being the coolest teacher I ever had, I just wanted to say I really appreciate your motivation in helping me achieve my full potential. I want to become an educator someday and motivate my students the same way you did for me.” - G.G., Former Student
“I still reminisce how great high school was when I started working with you 1-on-1. Thanks again Andy for always having my back.” - C.G., Former Student
the turning point
The school in which I was a Special Education Teacher did not employ counselors. As teachers, we did the bulk of the work that a counselor would do, without training. Throughout my tenure, I began to see the increase in stress and anxiety within my students. This presented in risky behaviors and a struggle to find hope in the future. Knowing that our teens needed more social and emotional support, I decided to pursue my Masters in Counseling.
I moved to Bend to complete my Masters in Counseling at Oregon State University Cascades. For the last three years I have worked as a middle school counselor here in Bend. I have worked tirelessly to connect with kids in our local community and work to develop a culture at our school that provides a safe space for kids to grow. Recently, our school has become only the third in the state of Oregon to receive the RAMP Designation from the American School Counselor Association. This was accomplished by placing the students at the core of our program, seeking to create an environment for students to develop in all areas of life.
Why private practice?
Since becoming a school counselor, I have consistently seen the need for adolescent and teen counselors in our area. Parents consistently ask for referrals to outside counselors and return to my office asking for help as they are unable to find counselors in our community that have space in their practice, or who will see adolescents. Adolescents and teens need access to qualified counselors to support their development in this ever changing and complicated world.