Media provided by Alejandro Izurieta ’25
Among several new teachers at Grace this year, ranging from math and science to administrative offices, the college counseling department has introduced two new members: Ms. Jane Tran and Ms. Andie Goodman.
Ms. Goodman joined the office as an Assistant Director of College Counseling, in addition to teaching Lab Day courses, acting as a Student Support Guide, and taking over as a 9th grade advisor. Even though she has a wide range of responsibilities at Grace, Ms. Goodman’s favorite part of her role will always be counseling students.
“I love getting to know you all, and creating relationships with students is the important thing. Helping you figure out how to succeed and then seeing that come to fruition is very rewarding for me and brings me a lot of joy.”
Acting as a counselor is important to Ms. Goodman, and she wants students to feel like they can go to her for advice and support whenever they may need it. For this reason, Ms. Goodman decided to become a Student Support Guide at Grace. “In this role, I am doing more administrative, behind the scenes work for the college process and I am trained to be a counselor,” she said. “I want to also have that more official title so students view me as someone that they can come to about different issues. I can really flex my social-emotional counseling muscle too, because it’s important to me that I have that skill.”
Students agree that Ms. Goodman has been able to provide a safe space within the confines of the college office. When speaking to a group of students who enjoy working in that space because of the support that it provides, Lexi B. ‘23 said, “Ms. Goodman fosters an amazing environment in the college office where students feel comfortable to walk in and have a chat. It’s my favorite place to be during lunch.”
Many students seem to agree that Ms. Goodman has made a positive impact on the space, providing an opportunity for students to work quietly and debrief – an especially comforting place for stressed out seniors. Students appreciate Ms. Goodman’s ability to advise students and foster a positive, judgment-free environment.
Ms. Goodman discussed this deliberate effort to create a safe space for students. “I think part of my counseling skill is my ability to self-disclose and relate to students.”
She enjoys discussing nearby restaurants with students during their lunch periods, and is proud of her ability to recommend great food in the area.
As a self-proclaimed foodie, she explained how she grew up obsessed with cooking. “I never watched Disney Channel as a kid. My go-to shows were Food Network. Guy Fieri, Giada de Laurentiis, Emeril Lagasse. My dad took me to an Emeril Lagasse show when I was seven because I was obsessed with food people.”
Because of her interest in food, the Gazette asked Ms. Goodman to give some advice on the best local food. Her top three options were Sunny & Annie’s Deli sandwiches, the onigiri from HMart, and the egg bagel with jalapeno cream cheese and bacon from Brooklyn Bagel.
Connecting with students and giving advice, whether it be about college or local restaurants, is Ms. Goodman’s favorite part of her job. However, she is still thankful for the opportunity to teach, especially 9th and 10th graders.
Ms. Goodman said, “I teach Making Choices: Substances and Sexuality. Last semester I taught CD9. It was really fun because I got to meet the 9th graders, and then I became a 9th grade advisor after I got that class, so I knew some of the 9th graders through that.” She followed this saying, “it really helped me create a relationship with that class. And now I’m teaching 10th graders, so I’m getting to meet a whole new group of students.”
Ms. Goodman has already forged a connection with the older grades, though. “I already know the 12th graders and the 11th graders pretty well now,” she said. “So now I feel like I know a lot of students in the school because I’ve taught two classes and know you guys from college counseling.”
In the few months she has worked here, Ms. Goodman has already made her mark on the Grace community.
When asked about words of advice for students on their way to college, Ms. Goodman wanted to share some wisdom about overcoming an inevitable part of life: failure.
Even though she knows now that counseling is the path that she should pursue, as a student, she considered investment banking: “I got to college and [economics] was really hard for me. I didn’t even try to get into the business school at UVA (University of Virginia), because you have to apply when you’re a sophomore. I wish I did try,” she remarked, “at least to see if I could get in.”
Ms. Goodman reflected on her fear of failure and shared with us a motto she lives her life by: “just try. If you don’t get in, whatever.”
It is the opportunity to give this kind of advice that encouraged Ms. Goodman to start counseling in the first place, and she wants her students to be ready to overcome challenges and face potential failures.
“Working in education is where I need to be, but I feel like in terms of when you go to college and figure out what you want to do, being afraid of failure is always going to be the thing that holds you back from opportunities.”
Ms. Goodman ended our interview with an insightful piece of advice: “I think if you can overcome that fear and just try new things and put yourself out of your comfort zone, you’re always going to be more successful.”