The First Face in the Guidance Office


“Everybody needs to be quoted at least once in their life,” Guidance Administrative Assistant, Jenny Ugalde said. Students walk in and out of the guidance office every single day, but they don’t always acknowledge Ugalde’s presence. Sitting at the front of the guidance office with a smile, she’s ready to help you with whatever you need.

“There’s so much more to teaching than I thought there was,” Ugalde said, “I’ve also learned that change is completely okay, not knowing what to do with your life is okay.” She has now been working at the school for the past eight years. Ugalde initially heard about the school from friends whose children went to the school. Throughout the years, she’s learned various lessons.

Before coming to Charter, Ugalde worked in finance for 20 years. While it suited her, she yearned for more. “I wanted to experience new things,” Ugalde said. “I didn’t want to sit in an office, and see the same thing everyday.”

She began working at the school where she has grown and learned about what it’s like to be part of something greater than yourself. When a student enters the room, she’s always there to welcome them with a warm smile and a positive attitude. “My favorite part of my job is conversing with the students that walk in and out of that door.”

She builds connections with students quickly to the point where they feel comfortable enough to confide in her. Maybe it’s because she has two daughters and she knows how to communicate, or maybe it’s because she listens to you and makes you feel safe. Either way, Ugalde relates to the students on a personal level. “Mrs. Ugalde impacted my life for the better because of how charismatic she is, and her confidence. She is one of my role models,” junior Sannia Hall said.

Ugalde also makes an impact on teachers. Computer teacher Javier Archila described her as “sweet, nice, and courteous,” and said that “she’s a good person to see first thing in the morning when you’re walking into the office.”

During the COVID year, where all school was virtual, she reached out to families to see how she could help them. Ugalde loves her daily job because she enjoys learning about people and ensuring that no one is left behind. She makes sure that everyone feels noticed and known. Despite this, when interviewed, Ugalde was ecstatic and surprised that someone noticed her. As she wrapped up her answer to the last question, her eyes were gleaming. “I feel like I’m about to tear up! Thank you for interviewing me,” Ugalde said.

And of course, as she does for everyone who enters and exits the guidance office, she exclaimed: “Have a good day!”