ESP counselor coaches students in classroom and on the court



Andrew Gill’s office walls are covered with university banners and small foreign country flags on Thursday, Oct. 13, at City College. Gill was recently hired as a second full-time counselor for the Express to Success Program.

GERARDO ZAVALA, Channels Staff

City College’s award winning Express to Success Program hired a new academic counselor to help provide students with the critical support services they need.

Andrew Gil, 28, is the second full-time academic counselor for the program. Express to Success is a learning community designed to move through lower-division Math and English requirements faster by combining two courses in one semester.

“Adding Andy to the ESP family has brought with it such a positive boost in energy,” said Ismael Ulloa, an express to success adviser. “Andy is passionate and committed to helping SBCC students and we all recognize that. He’s a joy to work with. ESP and SBCC in general are lucky to have him here.”

Banners from colleges and universities across the country cover all four walls in his office. Tiny national flags line the borders between the walls and the ceiling. His door is always open, a welcoming sign for students coming in for help.

Gil was born and raised in Santa Barbara and graduated from UC Berkeley with his undergraduate in political science. Gil spent his time in Berkeley as a volunteer mentor for junior high students at Oakland Youth Sports.

In 2012, Gil earned his master’s degree in counseling at Azusa Pacific and has been a counselor ever since.

He started off counseling at both City College, as an adjunct for over a year, and at San Marcos High School, where he counseled for two years.

“The biggest difference between high school counseling and college counseling, is that here in college we don’t get any parent phone calls,” Gil said.

Gil is also the head coach of the Basketball team at Cate School in Carpinteria. This will be his second season coaching at Cate and his sixth year coaching basketball. He coached at Santa Barbara High School for four years before Cate School.

Gil played basketball all through high school and was even on the practice team while at UC Berkeley.

Counseling and coaching are so intermingled in his life that sometimes he has a hard time separating the two. Gil realizes that in the word student-athlete, student comes before athlete and wants to ensure that his athletes are ready for the future.

“It’s actually really fun to guide them and show them that education is a better route than what they were choosing to do,” Gil said.

In high school, Gil had an influential counselor who saw him through his good and bad times, he said. However, he noticed that not all of his friends were getting that same attention. Now, he wants to ensure that everyone is being served properly, no matter where they are at in life.

Gil has kept his word and continues to do so by helping his students and athletes succeed both on and off the court.

“Andrew Gil is one of those people who is just predestined to help others,” said Parker Medel, one of his students. “He treats students as his equal, and creates an optimistic environment that makes students want to learn.”