AES counselor loves helping kids succeed

Published 1:10 am Friday, February 8, 2019

Andalusia Elementary School’s counselor Angela Sims said that the best part of her job is connecting with kids.

Sims has been the counselor at AES for 12 years, but that was not her original plan.

“Before I was a counselor, I was a science teacher at the middle school,” Sims said. “Being a counselor never really crossed my mind at first. I had a coworker who was the Kindergarten through second grade counselor and she kept tossing around the idea for me to come to the elementary school and become the counselor. When we were talking about it I realized that I spent a lot of my time actually talking to my students and I really enjoyed talking to them. So, when she talked to me about it I thought to myself, ‘Hey, I might really enjoy doing that.’ I wanted to be able to help the students out not just academically, but socially and emotionally as well.”

Sims earned a bachelor’s degree in science from Troy State University. When she decided to pursue becoming a counselor, Sims went to Troy University in Dothan to earn her master’s degree in counseling and psychology.

She said that changing from a science teacher was a huge jump, but it was worth it in the end.

“I get to key in on what is going on with a student,” Sims said. “I get to know them as a person and find out what is going on in their lives. I can do all of those things to help them become successful.”

Getting to spend time with the students is the best part of her job, she said.

“I get to spend so much time with the students one on one and I get to watch them grow,” Sims said. “I was thinking the other day, because we were doing our Scantron testing, all of the teachers were stationed outside of the computer labs, and there was a group of kindergartners that passed by and I thought to myself, ‘Wow, when they get to third grade, I get to be their counselor.’ I try my best to remember every kid’s name, even when they are not in my grade level, because I will start to form a connection with them early on. Watching them grow into this big sixth grader ready to take on the world makes me happy.”

Sims said that the most challenging part of her job is getting to a point where she is unable to help the students that are really hurting.

“When it gets to a point where aren’t able to get deeply involved in their lives, we have to pass them on to an outside agency like the Department of Human Resources,” Sims said. “And it’s times like those that, when you see them hurting and you have done everything you can for them but it still isn’t enough. That is when it is hard. Of course the outside agencies are great and we thank them for all the help they provide, but I like to be able to be a super counselor and help all the kids that I can.”

She said that it is easy to get attached to students, but she feels like she is making a difference in their lives.

“It’s easy to get attached to all of the kids,” Sims said. “I’ve always been the type to cheer for the underdog, I like the underdog and I like that little student who is always misbehaving a little bit. I have always been drawn to that type of student because it is amazing to see their reaction when they understand you actually care. You can motivate them with a simple action or phrase, and it really makes me feel like I’m making a difference. That is definitely one of the perks.”

When it comes to children’s mental health, Sims said that it can make or break a student.

“It is very important that we pay attention to their mental health because that could make or break a student,” Sims said. “How can we expect them to come in and perform well for us if they have other issues going on that we have not addressed? If I can tap into how a student thinks, or how a student perceives things, then I can meet their needs and I mean, our goal here is for all of our students to be successful.”

Sims and her husband, Kenny Sims, have three kids, a son that is 27, a daughter that is 12 and a stepdaughter that is 28. She also has a grandchild who is a year old.

She is very active in her church life at New Pilgrim Baptist Church and she teaches a preschool class for Sunday school.