Nancy Gerena is part of Windermere Preparatory School’s college planning and counseling team. Gerena works with the high-school students on their schedules, college applications and more. In addition to her role as a college counselor, she serves as a dorm parent in the school’s residential program and loves being able to make a difference in her students’ lives.
What brought you to your school?
My passion has always been working with students and especially helping high-school students discover themselves and the areas of interest they want to pursue in college. At Windermere Prep, our counseling program focuses on relationships over the course of four years. We partner with our students and their families as freshmen and continue through their senior year in high school until they graduate and go to college. We believe in developing the whole person, so that by the time they apply to a university, they are selecting schools that are the best fit for them.
What do you love most about your school?
Windermere Prep is my family. From PreK-3 all the way through the high school, Windermere Prep cares greatly about their students, faculty and community. One could say that I am “all in.” I have a child who attends here, and I am a dorm parent in our residential program and a college counselor.
What is your motivation?
The students. They inspire me every day. I love my job! I love that I get to work with students who are from all over the world. We are truly a global campus. I appreciate that our school is an IB (International Baccalaureate) school, and whether or not a student takes an IB course, all of the classes are taught with the IB learner profile in mind. I learn every day from them.
Who was your favorite teacher when you were in school? Why?
This is a tough question, because I had four teachers who taught our humanities course in my senior year (which I loved, and changed my life). But if I had to pick one, I would say that my favorite teacher in high school was Mr. Schafer, my high-school physics teacher. He made science exciting and cared greatly about his students. He attended student events and made himself available before and after school if you needed help.
When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? Why?
I always thought I wanted to be a doctor like my father. He was a dermatologist, and the characteristics of his job fascinated me. He was known for diagnosing difficult cases. He loved that it was like a puzzle, and he had to spend time with his patients and ask questions. When I changed my major from a pre-med focus to education, it never occurred to me that I might find the same characteristic traits in a different career. I will never forget calling my dad about three months into my first job as a high-school college counselor. I told him that while I am not in medicine, I found that same passion that he did as a counselor. On any given day, I do not know what is going to walk through my door.
If you could have any super power, what would it be and why?
Teleporting. I have family and friends all over the world and would love to be able to see them at a moment’s notice.