New administrative assistant joins guidance team

January 29, 2018 — by Elaine Toh and Rahul Vadlakonda

In mid-November, as students were preparing for the final stretch of first semester, new administrative assistant Sarah Christeson joined the Saratoga Guidance Department, taking the place of Bonnie Sheikh, a longtime employee who left the position to pursue another job at Santa Clara University.

In her new role, Christeson helps organize and orchestrate the PSAT and AP testing, publicize scholarship events and assist students that apply for scholarships, among other duties.

Before joining the school’s staff, Christeson worked for the Cupertino Union School District’s (CUSD) Student Assignment Department, where she helped register incoming families for upcoming school years, managed student overflow lists and the open enrollment process/list and fulfilled many more roles crucial to the progress of the district as a whole.

Though she appreciated her previous job, Christeson said she wanted to interact with students as she had done before because she enjoyed “helping a student progress and accomplish goals.”

For Christeson, her love for aiding students stems from her position as an older sister to her siblings and cousins. As an elementary school student, she came home after school and taught her two younger siblings what she had learned that day.

“I would sit them down in chairs, give them paper and

crayons and have them practice their letters, numbers, addition and subtraction,” she said.

Christeson said that by growing up as the older sibling in her family, she came to enjoy teaching those younger than her.

Upon entering her then high school, Christeson continued to practice her teaching skills by instructing young children how to swim and play the piano. During these lessons, she fully discovered her love for helping children.

“I loved seeing my students get that ‘ah-ha’ moment when they finally understood what I was teaching or showing them,” Christeson said. “It felt good to positively influence others’ lives.”

Christeson said she was drawn to work at Saratoga High due to its welcoming and reverent environment, as well as the dedication that the staff, students and parents give to the school.

“I really enjoy how close of a community SHS is,” she said. “Students are respectful, staff members go above and beyond to help the students and help other colleagues and parents are actively involved.”

One of her co-workers, guidance counselor Alinna Satake, expressed praise for Christeson.

“[Christeson] is super organized and jumped right in, handling a variety of different tasks and learning on the fly without turning a hair,” Satake said. “She is a details person, which is something we really need in guidance when we turn out so many materials to the community, so I'm grateful for her help, especially with registration stuff.”

Christeson said she hopes to make the PSAT and AP testing periods a “smooth and easy process for all students” as well as helping students become confident during the college and scholarship application process.

Ultimately, Christenson is optimistic about her new role.

“There’s nothing more rewarding than helping someone else and seeing that you changed [their] life, no matter if it is big or small,” Christeson said.