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Celebrate school secretaries

This week is Administrative Professional’s Week in the U.S. In the old days, it was known as National Secretaries Week. My particular interest lies with those who are administrative professionals at our schools, especially those within the School District of Superior.

What are some of the different jobs these people perform on a regular basis? Here’s a partial list:

• She (or it could be a he) is a public relations specialist when a parent has a complaint about a teacher or a policy or a school incident.

• She performs triage when an ailing or injured student walks in the office and the school nurse is already occupied or otherwise unavailable.

• She is the security officer, deciding who is allowed past the locked front door and who isn’t.

• She is the receptionist who first greets visitors after they enter the school.

• She’s the shrink who listens while students and colleagues pour out their troubles.

• She assumes the role of the Public Information Officer when a journalist (or blogger) calls for information about an incident or for any other reason.

• She’s the social worker who keeps both eyes on the lookout for signs of a child in danger.

• She’s the legal eagle who tries to protect students and staff by knowing who has which restraining order and who just got charged for drug possession or child neglect.

• She’s also the one who puts up with a multitude of crazy parents that think she’s not doing a good enough job raising their children for them.

• She is the babysitter that parents take advantage of when they don’t pick their kids up from school in a timely manner. She often stays late because at least one kid is still sitting in her office waiting to be picked up, hours after school ended.

• She is the superhero who will be the human shield to protect your child from physical harm.

• She’s the administrative support professional who doesn’t care if you call her a secretary; because if she had that kind of an ego, she never would have taken this job in the first place.

• You might have noticed that most of the items above are not typical duties of a secretary. You’d be right about, and yes, she does those normal support things as well.

She’s also the person who gets derided because she "gets the summers off, so how hard can that job be?" Then she bites her tongue rather than explaining that after going through 10 months of the activities on list above on a daily basis, that yes, a person needs some time to get her own head on straight and to fire up for the next 10 months of stress and lack of appreciation.

She’s also a mother, wife, sister, daughter, friend and neighbor. Appreciation. Respect. Love. They deserve it, and then some.