I often think about the unsung heroes in every school, the people who work to make daily school operations possible.  Schools need faculty and administration for obvious reasons, but it takes a team to make it all work.  These heroes include bus drivers, maintenance workers, custodians, child nutrition workers, bookkeepers, aides, and secretaries. 

Without all of these hard working professionals, it would be impossible to operate our schools smoothly and effectively.

I want to pay tribute to three women I had the privilege of working with - Billie Collins, Paula Young and Sheila Robertson. These ladies were all school secretaries. Their job title doesn’t really describe all they do.  I admire  each of these women and their ability to remain calm when chaos surrounded them. 

School secretaries have to be great multitaskers.  I have seen Billie, Paula, and Sheila juggle assisting parents and other visitors to the school, working on reports, and  helping students at the same time.  

They always impressed me with their dedication and professionalism, and their calm and capable demeanor.   

Billie Collins was secretary at Scottsboro Junior High School when I started teaching.  She took me under her wing and taught me how to keep attendance records, how to complete forms, and how to navigate all the reports and paperwork I was responsible for completing. 

She was so patient with me, and as frustrating as I must have been she always had a smile for me.  She was a remarkable woman and I was lucky to have her as mentor and friend.

The next secretary I worked with at SJHS was Paula Young.  Paula was always willing to go above and beyond to help anyone, whether faculty or student.  She is also one of the best listeners I’ve ever known. 

She listened to  me  when I needed to blow off steam and encouraged me when I was feeling ineffective.  Paula has a knack for making people feel good about themselves.  She is an amazing woman and was superwoman in her job as school secretary. 

When I transferred to Scottsboro High School, I worked with Sheila Robertson.  I have never known anyone as truly kind and caring as Sheila.  She is a dedicated professional who always has a smile and an encouraging word for all with whom she comes into contact. 

I have watched her interact with students with compassion and empathy.  There are many current and former students at SHS who can attest to her positive influence in their lives.  She is the most calm and serene person I have ever encountered.  I literally have never seen her lose her cool.  Sheila was truly a pleasure to work with and I am blessed to count her among my friends.

I admire school secretaries very much.  They encounter every imaginable situation, and manage to handle themselves with professionalism and integrity.  I feel like I am a fairly patient person, but I could never do the job that a school secretary does.  They are truly unsung heroes and amazing people.

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