Counselor, teacher, coach, friend


Norma Flores

In the beginning of November, counselor, Mrs. Sanders took maternity leave, leaving English teacher, Mrs. Sims in charge of her responsibilities guiding students in their academic paths. “Baby steps,” Mrs. Sims said, “I have to learn everything all over again like a student.”

Joey Flores, News Editor

Starting in November, English teacher Andrea Sims is substituting as counselor for her friend, Nicole Sanders, who is out on maternity leave. She will cover for Sanders for two to three months in bungalow seven.


Sims is the varsity girls volleyball coach, an English teacher, and now a temporary counselor. Students who know her happily reacted to the news, since she has developed a good rapport with her students and athletes because of her teaching.  Former student, Mia Dixon-Slaughter, 10, was excited to hear the news.


“It’s really cool because she’s a great teacher and she knows how to guide and inspire her students,” Mia Dixon-Slaughter, 10, said. “And she always stressed to the class how important college is.”


Dixon-Slaughter has heard Sims’s constant tangents on the importance of college and advice on education-related issues. Dixon-Slaughter’s take on the new job was also positive because of the inspiring effect Sims has on her students. Sims often gives motivational words to her students during class so that the students don’t get discouraged by the workload or anything else class-related. Doing this for her students was often selfless because of her desire to help students and colleagues alike.


“I think she’ll do great,” Stephen Sanders said. “She’s an exceptional English teacher, and she knows what she’s talking about because she has had her counseling credential for a couple of years now.”


Sims and Mr. Sanders have a connection through friendship. Sims and Mrs. Sanders have been friends for seventeen years, so Sims has gotten closer to Mr. Sanders ever since. Sims earned her masters in counseling in 2010 from LaVerne University, so she was automatically an option for the administrators who chose her. Sims has been adapting to the job, even with the vast workload.


“It’s a lot of work, so I have to take baby steps,” Sims said. “I can’t look too far ahead or else I’ll stress out over it. I do everything by taking one step at a time. When I do this, I take a look at the big picture and I see what needs to get done and how I’m going to do it.”


Helping Sanders out by substituting as a counselor has proved to be a significant amount of work for Sims, and has also been a little confusing at times. She often refers to her fellow counselors as “amazing” because of the support they provide for her. Whenever she gets a new answer from the counselors, she writes it down so that she knows how to answer other students if the same question comes up. She hopes to relay this information to her students when she starts teaching again.


Sims has proved that she can take on whatever task is thrown at her because of her organization, focus, and willingness to help. Currently a triple threat at Downey High School, Sims has proved herself to be legendary.