[By Jordan Cutler-Tietjen]
I know what you’ve been wondering: it rhymes with “soy,” not “gooey.” But, Mrs. Rachel Zooi, LCHS’s new School Counselor, has much more to her name than pronunciation confusion. Armed with tons of experience, a love for Joan Didion, and an unabashed passion for documentary films, Mrs. Zooi is sure to make a big impact on our school and student body.
Propelled by a great high school Creative Writing teacher, Mrs. Zooi chose to major in English at Scripps College. After earning her degree, she spent time in France, where she worked as a nanny for a year. Besides the fact that it was “a great way to learn a language,” the experience also reignited her zeal for education.
“Both of my parents were teachers,” she explained. “I couldn’t help seeing myself as a teacher as well, somehow.”
After a year abroad, Mrs. Zooi returned to the United States to secure her teaching credential, and eventually her Masters Degree in Counseling at Cal State LA. While she pursued a career in academia, she also enjoyed working in a variety of other fields. Besides working as a substitute teacher and a counselor, Mrs. Zooi has also played music professionally, experimented with the publishing world, and, as her self-proclaimed “weirdest job ever,” cooked eggs-to-order in a dorm room mess hall.
These wide-ranging interests will no doubt help Mrs. Zooi connect to our diverse student body, many of whom she already knows. During her six-year stint at local Palm Crest Elementary, she forged meaningful relationships with elementary students she now passes in the halls on a day-to-day basis.
“Even though it was hard to control a bunch of dramatic little kids, Mrs. Zooi managed it with poise and respect,” lauded junior Mica Bernhard, an LCHS graduate.
Not surprising, considering Mrs. Zooi’s calm temperament and glowing warmth, qualities that were especially evident as we discussed what she been enjoying in her new position.
“I love having direct contact with students,” she said. “Connecting with them, being able to help them know themselves and others, seeing them succeed--it’s my favorite part of the job.”
Looking to the future, Mrs. Zooi hopes to eventually enroll in a doctoral program and receive her Ph.D in the counseling field. Although she is considering transitioning towards higher education later in life, she said she wants to continue to work with students no matter what, whose collective “resilience” she views as a major inspiration.
So if you stop by her office and blank on her name, don’t worry. Give a cheery “Ahoy, Mrs. Zooi!” and you’ll get it right every time.
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