Fountain Valley High School introduced two new guidance specialists, Scott Jones and Phuong Pham-Le, to the campus on Monday, Oct. 4. With the students’ best interests at heart, both Jones and Pham-Le expressed great enthusiasm for working at FVHS and have enjoyed their first few days’ experiences.
“I’m here to help and guide high school students [and] make sure that they are in the right classes. [I] make sure they’re able to graduate from high school [and are] eligible for any school they want to attend after high school [to help] them make their future,” Pham-Le said.
As guidance specialists, Pham-Le and Jones described their roles and responsibilities for advising each student through their years at FVHS. Students should contact their guidance specialists for issues or questions that they may have about any of these topics.
“My job is to help students get through high school: figure out what classes they need for graduation, create a plan [for] post-high school [and] college, two-year or four-year or whatever it might be. [I] also help with college applications and anything else that high school brings your way,” Jones said.
While Pham-Le has only been on campus for several days, her friendly disposition would make anybody who comes to her office feel immediately welcomed. Now as the guidance specialist for students with last names ranging from the letters St-Z, she looks forward to interacting with other Barons and appreciated the acceptance that she has received throughout her first few days at FVHS.
“I’m getting to know the staff here and they’re so welcoming and very nice. The students are also very nice and friendly. Everybody here has been so welcoming, so I’m excited about that,” Pham-Le said.
Having worked in education for 11 years, Pham-Le earned her bachelor’s degree in child development, her master’s degree in educational counseling and a minor in human services. Prior to arriving at FVHS, Pham-Le worked in the business department of the Huntington Beach Union High School District District Office.
Along with her zeal for helping students, Pham-Le’s personal high school experience motivated her to become a guidance counselor that students can depend on.
“I always had a passion for [being a guidance specialist]…When I went to high school, I felt like I wasn’t really able to rely on my school counselor…[During] that time, I just wasn’t comfortable speaking to her,” Pham-Le said. “I want to make sure that students nowadays have someone that they can talk to and help guide them in the right direction.”
At FVHS, one of Pham-Le’s primary objectives is to help students grow into their best selves, especially in terms of developing strong morals and becoming good citizens.
“My main goal is [making] sure I’m able to help as many students as I can [so they] reach their full potential as just being students [and] their full potential outside of high school…[I want to] make sure that they do well in the future,” Pham-Le said.
So far, Pham-Le admits to having a few minor challenges, but is learning quickly and feels content in the environment. The main change that she has noticed in coming to FVHS is the increased use of her skill of translating Vietnamese between parents and staff. Pham-Le feels that the transition has been fairly easy because she knows the system well after her previous work in the district.
For Pham-Le, a benefit of working at FVHS is its proximity to home, where her two children, her five-year-old daughter and three-year-old son, “keep her on her toes.” Between working and being a mom, she admits she doesn’t sleep much.
Lastly, Pham-Le wishes to stress the fact that students can feel unworried in starting a conversation with her and can approach her at any time.
“I want to be able to meet all my students…I always have an open-door policy, so feel free to come by and say hi. I want my students to be comfortable around me [and] make sure I’m here for them,” Pham-Le said.
Having attended FVHS himself, Jones is the guidance counselor for students whose last names range from Nguyen, M to Sp. His roots with the school partially inspired him to become a guidance counselor here, and he passionately declared himself a “Baron for Life.”
“I wanted to come here because I graduated from here…[and I wanted to become a] guidance specialist because I love helping students. I want to make sure that you guys have what you need to graduate and be successful in life,” Jones said.
Prior to becoming an FVHS guidance specialist, Jones, in his words, “sadly” worked in the library at Edison High School. His other former jobs include five years as the high school secretary of Coast High School, a resident substitute teacher at Westminster High School for five years, a position in the Orange County Probation Department, four years as a campus supervisor at WHS and an FVHS boys’ water polo coach.
Like Pham-Le, Jones’ background in the HBUHSD has allowed for a smooth transition into his new position as a guidance specialist, as he is familiar with the school and the dynamics of the community.
“It’s been [a] pretty smooth adjustment. Being in the district for 20 years, I know what to expect,” Jones said.
Above all, Jones is excited to see students roaming about campus and having in-person interactions with one another. Compassionate and concerned for the well-being of the students, he feels genuinely fulfilled by the happiness of his fellow Barons.
“My main goals are to actually get to know all of the students that are on my caseload, so 660 students, and get to know them at least by name and help them get on to college or jobs,” Jones said.
Outside of work, Jones enjoys becoming involved with the community as the coach of his kids’ soccer teams and as the president of the local Greenbrook Gators swim team. A fan of the Anaheim Ducks, Jones may also connect with students over his love for hockey.
Jones’ expressed evident joy for returning to the FVHS campus, eager to work with students and make a positive impact on their present-day lives and whatever else lies ahead.
“[I am] super excited to be back as a Baron!” Jones said.