INTRODUCING… Kimberly Tran, Om-Z counselor


Carol Xu

Kimberly Tran oversees students who have last names starting with Sn-Z.

Kimberly Tran joins the Don family after four years working as a school counselor in the San Mateo-Foster City District. She obtained her bachelor’s degree from UC San Diego in 2010, and majored in sociology with an emphasis on communication. 

Outside of work, Tran enjoys hiking, rock climbing, and yoga. She learned to skateboard over the summer, and loves playing with her  12-year-old chihuahua Mocha. 

The following responses were edited for length and clarity. 

How did you know you wanted to be a counselor?

It took some soul searching after graduation. Even though I had my bachelor’s degree, I was still feeling kind of lost, but I volunteered a lot at an elementary school and shadowed in the classrooms to see if I wanted to be a teacher. Then I was actually having a lot of conversations with students about their home life and how they’re feeling and less about academics, so that’s what led me into the school counseling route.

When you were in high school and college, what career options did you consider?

I actually looked into journalism. I wrote a couple of articles for a lot of the smaller publications at my college, but I found that it was kind of inconsistent and I wanted something more structured.

I was also looking into working at nonprofits to support refugees and immigrants. San Diego at the time was just a hub for a lot of newcomer families and individuals, so I did a lot of volunteering with the International Rescue Committee.

A common thread in those job options is that there’s significant interactions with people and helping them in different aspects of their lives, right? 

Yeah I like working with people, I like getting to know them. 

Why did you choose specifically to come to Amador? 

I always wanted to be a high school counselor since I did a small internship at an alternative high school in San Diego as part of my graduate program. Middle school was great and it was really fun, but I was yearning to see what the students were up to after they were promoted to eighth grade. I’m excited to see what that experience is like here at Amador. 

First impressions of Amador?

It’s a great community, really spirited. All the students are super fun, and everybody has been really nice. 

Are high school students your favorite age group to work with? 

Yes definitely, because around this age you’re all making such big decisions about your lives. It’s fun for me to hear about them and help consult about them, because you know it can be kind of scary making these decisions, but it’s also an opportunity for growth and so being a part of that is really meaningful to me. 

This year there are a lot of new counselors, so how has it been working in a team with new people? 

It’s great, I really enjoy working with this team, because we all come with different strengths and backgrounds. There are four new counselors including myself in a team of about nine, so the majority of counselors are returning. It’s being able to lean on them and have them for support, and they’re always really kind and patient.

The beginning of the school year is always really chaotic with schedules changing, so how was your workload in the beginning? 

It was really stressful, especially because it was my first year here at Amador and I didn’t have any contacts of what it should be like or where I was at or if I was doing as much as I was supposed to be doing, so it was hard to gauge. After the first week or so things started to calm down and I was feeling a lot better about the workload. Now things are steady, but I know that for our seniors we have college applications and workshops coming up soon. 

A lot of seniors I know are getting stressed about college applications, so what are your words of advice for them? 

Definitely take your time with them. I know there is this urge to get started on the applications and finish them early, but there’s really no need to do that. Just bring yourself out, and allow your creativity in your applications to shine. 

It’s essentially highlighting all the hard work you’ve accomplished so far, and you’ve really worked hard to get to this point, so now it’s time to celebrate it and show it off. Just take a deep breath, pace yourself, don’t have to finish everything all at once, take breaks in between, and enjoy the process.