10-13-2017 – Norco – Meet Sarah Gonzalez! She is a School Counselor at Clara Barton Elementary and VanderMolen Elementary.
Sarah was born in Canada and moved to Southern California with her family when she was five years old. She grew up in Ontario, California on a dairy farm.
Sarah served in the Navy as a Military Police Officer for six years before becoming a school counselor. Her love for counseling was sparked a year after leaving the military when she volunteered at an outpatient facility for teens suffering from addiction.
“It was there I realized all children need is someone to believe in them, and that, I could do,” she said.
She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Behavioral Science, with a Minor in Addictive Disorders, from National University in San Diego.
“I obtained my Masters in Educational Counseling, as well as my Admin Credential, from the University of Redlands,” she said.
Sarah has been a school counselor for 14 years.
“I have always worked as a counselor at CNUSD and cannot imagine working anywhere else,” she said.
Her career began at Norco High School in 2004 as the Safety and Violence Prevention Counselor. Seven years later, she transferred to Orange Grove High School where she spent five years.
Last year, she moved to the Student Services Department at the District Office and served as a Counselor at VanderMolen Elementary, Clara Barton Elementary, the STAR program at Auburndale Intermediate/River Heights Intermediate, and as a Foster Counselor at Eleanor Roosevelt High School.
“This year, I am assigned to VanderMolen Elementary for three days a week, and Clara Barton for two days a week,” she said.
Her favorite part about working at CNUSD is the students, staff, and families.
“I also love that CNUSD focuses on the whole child,” she said, “I truly feel our District is a village!”
Sarah has many memorable experiences during her time at CNUSD.
“Every day, I am in awe of my students and the resiliency they show,” she said, “They are fearless!”
As a School Counselor, her focus every day is to advocate for and support her students, their families, and her staff.
“I also believe my job is to create hope and to make everyone I came in contact with know they are the most important part of my day!”
Part of her workday includes meeting with students individually, or in groups, doing classroom presentations around social-emotional learning, and meeting with parents.
She has been involved with the District UNITY program for 14 years.
“I love UNITY camp,” she said, “It is such an amazing experience to see students that may have never met each other come together, learn about and embrace cultural differences, and begin to break down the walls of ‘isms’.”
The UNITY program message is: It is hard to hate someone once you know their story.
Last year, the District held the first All-Star Camp for high school foster youth. The slogan was Be Your Own Superhero.
“The camp was focused on resilience building and empowerment for our high school foster youth,” she said, “I have never had more hope for us as humans than when these students shared what they have overcome. They taught me how truly strong the human spirit is!”
At the end of the day, Sarah leaves with hope for humanity.
“Every day that I get to work with my amazing students, families, and staff, I am inspired and humbled I have a job that I love and brings me so much joy,” she said.
Sarah and her husband, Antonio, have two children, Zane and Zackary. The Gonzalez family has eight family pets – 3 dogs, 4 cats, and a snake named Jack.
A favorite hobby is spending time with her family. She also loves everything Halloween themed.
“The inside of my house is inspired by the Disneyland haunted mansion,” said Sarah, “Our friends refer to us as the Adams Family.”
Her favorite quote is one by Dr. Seuss, Lorax: Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.
“This is my favorite quote because I really believe everyone can make a difference by just caring for others as well as our world and the life in it,” said Sarah, “I think it’s easy to look away but if everyone cared for each other our world could be even better!”
A few words of advice from Sarah:
“You matter, the world is better because you are in it!”