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Troy School District 30-C recognizes school secretaries, especially with new responsibilities in the year of Covid

These crucial staff members seemingly effortlessly handle crises, everyday business

If school secretaries have a superpower, it might be their ability to tackle just about anything that walks in through the door. They are the smiling faces that students, staff and visitors see when they enter the schools, the calm voices on the other end of the phone lines.

They know just about everything and everyone in their buildings.

Even during the chaos of the morning start of the school day, they are quick to smile and offer help, and they are also protectors of their schools, with today’s added responsibilities of keeping the coronavirus away from their students.

Troy Shorewood Elementary School Principal Sherri Blanchette said the positivity of school secretaries shines through in all they do.

“They set the tone for all of our visitors,” Blanchette said, “which is one of care, compassion, empathy and support.”

Blanchette said the secretaries this year have taken on the additional responsibilities of supporting parents through the challenges of education during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“I've watched these ladies spend countless hours providing support to parents as they navigate through setting up accounts for Covid-19 symptom self-certification, completing the self-certification process, and logging into the education applications we use for remote learning,” Blanchette said. “They are the bridge of communication for everyone.”

And even with these added responsibilities during the pandemic, Blanchette said school secretaries provide the same support for staff, students and families as they always have.

“They listen, call, run, print, listen, copy, organize, supply, listen some more, order, label, coordinate, set-up, and listen even more as they go about their day,” she said. “These are just some of the many things they do to ensure the smooth flow of our school day.”

Troy Cronin Elementary School Principal Jill Howard said every staff member in the building is grateful for the knowledge and expertise school secretaries bring.

“The secretaries are the backbone of our school,” Howard said. “They are Troy Blue through and through. Each day, they work through the big picture and the smallest details, quietly behind the scenes. They are extremely busy, often with many tasks to accomplish, and they do it with a smile to perfection each time. They manage the office, answer phones, calm nerves, offer a friendly face, handle ordering, copy, organize and support. The list is endless. They are the right hand, and sometimes the left hand for every staff member.”

Troy Middle School Principal Renee Marski gave a few examples of what her school secretaries do every day. They do student registration and residency, build student schedules, organize graduation and awards assemblies, assist guest teachers, address parent and student questions, keep track of student attendance, place and organize purchase orders, create honor roll and perfect attendance certificates and organize the daily student announcements.

Troy Heritage Trail Principal Brooke Allen said the bigger question is what don’t school secretaries do.

“They multitask all day long- answering phones, greeting visitors, helping teachers with email and in person requests, and jumping in to assist our assistant principal and me with only a moment's notice. And they do all of this with a smile and a sincere desire to help others.”

The two Troy Cronin Elementary School secretaries, Diane Hartz and Darlene Biddle, are both retiring this spring. Hartz has more than 16 years at Troy Community School District 30-C, and Biddle has more than 13.

Principal Howard had these words of appreciation for them.

“Diane and Darlene are a dynamic duo of sunshine and serious,” she said. “They are organized, thoughtful, and prepared for every event, large and small. They just know what to expect or anticipate, and their retirement will leave really big shoes to fill in the front office at Troy Cronin. We are thrilled, though, for them to begin the next chapter of their lives, and we wish them all the best that life has to offer.”


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