Esther Londono-Scott is a counselor at Tildenville Elementary School. She provides individual, small-group and classroom guidance to students in kindergarten through fifth grade. Her accolades over the past 20 years include 2020 Teacher of the Year at SunRidge Middle School, 2019 Counselor of the Year for Orange County School Counseling Association, National Board-Certified Teacher in 2016 and Rookie Teacher of the Year in 2002.
What brought you to your school?
I started my career as an elementary counselor. After 14 years in middle school, I decided it was time to go back to my elementary roots. I enjoy working with the age group. They are such a joy to interact with.
What do you love most about your school?
There are so many things to love, but the close-knit and nurturing community are at the top of my list. I also really enjoy the amazing job that Tildenville does of fostering acceptance and embracing diversity as a dual-language school.
What is your motivation?
My main motivation is knowing that my words and actions have a positive impact on little lives. It’s so crucial to create those foundational building blocks for students as early as possible. Having the opportunity to do that every day motivates me tremendously.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
The most rewarding part of my job is when I get to witness students turn a corner, whether emotionally, socially or academically. It is so rewarding to feel like I play a role in that growth.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
In my spare time, I enjoy volunteering for the Make a Wish Foundation (wish granter), Give Kids the World and Garden Theatre. I am also an assistant scoutmaster for Scout Troop 225, so scouting activities are a big part of my family life.
Who was your favorite teacher when you were in school? Why?
I was lucky to have amazing teachers throughout my childhood and young adulthood. If I had to choose one, it would have to be my middle school P.E. and track-and-field coach. He helped me push past fear and believe in my athletic abilities.
When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? Why?
My fascination with human behavior and understanding why we do the things we do led me to want to enter the field of psychology as a child. School counseling provides me the opportunity to operate within that field while also having a much broader influence.
What is your favorite children’s book and why?
My favorite children’s book is “Today I Feel Silly and Other Moods that Make My Day,” by Jamie Lee Curtis. It normalizes and validates the vast range of emotions a child may experience. I also appreciate that it acknowledges all feelings are OK; it’s what you do with them that counts!
What are your hobbies?
Not so much a hobby, but my favorite thing to do is spend time with my friends and family. I am also an avid outdoor enthusiast. I enjoy everything from hiking, kayaking and mountain biking to having a picnic or paddleboarding! Additionally, does cleaning and organizing count as a hobby?
If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?
Time travel! The idea of living through different times in history is mind-blowing.
If you could only listen to three bands or artists for the rest of your life, what would they be and why?
Whoa, that’s a hard one. I'd have to say Janis Joplin, Mary J. Blige, and Maria Dolores Pradera for their authenticity, strength and vulnerability.
What was your go-to lunch as an elementary student? Any favorite snacks or special treats you remember?
Hands down, Sloppy Joes and sugar cookies. Yum!
What is your favorite holiday and why?
My favorite holiday is Thanksgiving. It's an opportunity to bond with family while enjoying great food. A really long walk around the neighborhood after dinner is just icing on the cake.
Who was your best friend when you were in school and why? Are you still in touch?
My best friend and I have been best friends since sixth grade. She is my best friend because she is everything I am not. We complement each other well.
What were your extracurricular activities as a student? Did you win any accolades or honors?
In middle and high school, I participated in track-and-field, Spanish Honor Society and Black History Club. In college, I was awarded a Fellowship Award and Outstanding Service to Chapter for Chi Sigma Iota Honor Society in 2001.