Bearden adds four new counselors to guidance department

Maggie Kimber, Entertainment Editor

For many students, Bearden fits their predisposed idea of a normal high school, but for Mrs. Sarah Patton and Mrs. Kelly Nash, two of the school’s four new guidance counselors, its atmosphere differs significantly from schools where they were previously employed.

Mrs. Patton’s experience in education began with three years as a special education teacher in the Northern Charleston area, where she transitioned into a career as social worker for foster kids and ultimately became a school counselor.

“I was more in an urban environment before, where there are different types of issues,” Mrs. Patton said. “I felt more like a social worker, rather than guiding kids to college.

“We just had a lot of different socio-economic issues.”

Mrs. Nash’s places of prior employment exist within the Knox County School system, but also vary from the much larger population at Bearden. Her 10 years of previous work experience include a part-time position at Dr. Paul L. Kelley Volunteer Academy, a non-traditional high school, and full-time positions at Powell High School and Northwest Middle School.

Mrs. Patton and Mrs. Nash join Ms. Rachel Sudduth and Ms. Leslie Lee as the newest additions to the guidance staff.

For all four counselors, the immediate task of changing the schedules of hundreds of students had been hectic; however, with assistance from department chair and veteran counselor Mrs. Karen Smiley, as well as direction from Nash’s predecessor Mrs. Beverly Anderson, the transition was much easier than anticipated.

“There were a lot of schedule changes, and that was kind of a change as well, but it was not too bad,” Nash said. “Everyone has been so nice, and the kids are very thankful and appreciative, so I don’t mind doing it.”

Their future plans both include taking a hands-on approach to interaction with students with a strong focus on college preparation. Mrs. Patton hopes to meet with all 400 of her students, making it a priority to provide seniors with the help they need in applying to schools and planning for other post-secondary possibilities.

“I have the kids that know where they’re going and the kids that just need some help, so I’d like to make sure that I touch each one of them,” Mrs. Patton said.

Mrs. Nash also prioritizes college readiness and hopes to follow of in the footsteps of Mrs. Anderson by offering students with workshops throughout the year to guide them through several processes pertaining to the application process as well as financing.

“I plan to implement or facilitate several workshops for students,” Mrs. Nash said. “Mrs. Anderson did that last year, but they will just be some different things that will help students, like maybe getting into UT Knoxville, financial aid, and the NCAA.

“Those are the types of things that I want to help students with; that transition from high school to college and then just meeting their individual goals.”

All four of the new counselors have made a great first impression on their students.

“They were so helpful in getting my schedule straightened out,” junior Marisa Medina said. “My schedule is exactly how I want, and it was really easy to talk to them.”