Employee Spotlight: Alayna Fischer
Years at SCOE:
2 years, beginning year 3
Mental Health Counseling Specialist
How do you describe your job to people outside SCOE?
I sometimes lead with “I’m a trauma counselor at schools,”… and then I follow up with a declaration that I LOVE my job, and working directly with youth and the systems they interact with is an absolute privilege. I tell people how dynamic my role is and that no day is the same. One day I am at a school site providing individual counseling services to students, and the next day I’m in the office, brainstorming with my team about ways to be more culturally responsive, and how to provide more inclusive mental health and wellness to our community. I typically end with a shout out to my department, and how infinitely grateful I am to be learning from the best of the best!
Where did you grow up?
I was born and raised in Santa Rosa. I moved back to Sonoma County about three years ago, and currently live in Healdsburg with my fiance and our two dogs.
Who was your favorite childhood teacher and why?
I have two – Mr. Klobas and Mr. Sharron. Mr. Klobas was my third grade teacher at Wright Elementary. He sparked my love and curiosity for birds. Growing up, I had two massive palm trees in my front yard, and I always found animal remnants that had “fallen” from the tree. As a very curious 3rd grader, I took these mysterious animal byproducts to Mr. Klobas who discovered they were owl pellets. Science lesson of the day: owl pellets are the compilation of regurgitated indigestible material (i.e. teeth, skulls, claws, feathers, etc.) of their prey. From then on, we bonded over the dissection of these pellets, and I learned a lot about the insides of field mice. It was a wild and crazy time. Mr. Sharron was my high school science teacher at Analy, and he inspired my continued fascination with birds. He quizzed us at the beginning of every class on the various bird species living in Sonoma County – I failed most of the quizzes, but I can surprisingly identify a dark-eyed junco with uncanny accuracy. Most of all, both of these teachers showed an unwavering kindness and belief in their students that still inspires me.
What is your favorite thing about SCOE?
The people! It’s inspiring to share space with a group of individuals who are incredibly dedicated and passionate about their work.
What is one of your most memorable moments as a SCOE employee?
Meeting everyone in person. The first year I started at SCOE, we were in the beginning of the pandemic. The only people I interacted with consistently were my immediate team members. I had been waiting in anticipation to see people in 3D, and when I finally did, it all felt real! That was an experience we all shared, and in a way, it bonded us together.
Outside of work, what is your favorite hobby or way to unwind?
Nature walks, exploring new restaurants with friends, and listening to live music (when I can find it).
Do you have a favorite TV show, movie or book that involves a school setting?
What is your favorite place in Sonoma County?
So many to choose! If I had to pick just ONE, I’d say Lake Sonoma. My family and I have been camping and boating there since I can remember, and it’s the one place that always gives me a sense of peace and ease.
What might people be surprised to learn about you?
I lived in Costa Rica for a total of eight months, and I can make a delicious ceviche!