They have perhaps the two toughest jobs in the school, and they smile through every minute of it.
Denise Ouverson and Jane Lobdell are part secretary, part receptionist, part nurse, full-time telephone tag coordinator and even part-time security at Clear Creek Elementary School.
“You just wear a lot of different hats during the day,” says Ouverson.
As the two people who serve as gatekeepers and secretaries at Clear Creek, these ladies prove it takes so much more than teachers and principals or white boards and computers to make a school function. It takes people with heart who can juggle the needs of administrators, teachers, and students.
Clearly, it’s the students who put the joy in the job for the secretaries.
“My favorite part is the kids and the things that they say,” says Lobdell. “You just never know what’s going to come out of their mouth.”
To a child having a bad day, a kind person at the reception desk can make a big difference.
“Sometimes you have to be a parent to them, sometimes you have to use some discipline, sometimes you have to be a clown, and sometimes you just have to reassure them that they’re doing the right thing,” says Ouverson.
Whether it’s breaking out the first aid kit and playing nurse, or even breaking into a piggy bank to make sure a child can eat lunch, these women provide so much more than administrative duties.
“It’s like being a mom to 700 kids,” says Lobdell.
They work a longer schedule than most teachers, staying a little more than two weeks after school closes in the spring, and returning at the end of July to help prepare for a new school year.
Most of all, they seek to make sure that their busy office at the front of the school is an inviting place for visitors and a happy place for students.