Career Story: Elementary School Secretary/Administrative Assistant

Elementary School Secretary/Administrative Assistant

Job Title: School Secretary

Type of Company: I work for a regional school district as an elementary school secretary/administrative assistant.

Education: High school College Prep Diploma, Classical High School (Springfield, MA) •• 2 years, Westfield State College (Westfield, MA)

Previous Experience: I was an at-home mom and day care provider for twenty years. I have worked in retail sales and was the manager of a photo processing shop for six years before going to work as a secretary.

Job Tasks: As the secretary in an elementary school, my job responsibilities are many and varied. I do payroll for the faculty, schedule meetings, coordinate schedules, answer phone inquiries, arrange substitutes, order and disburse supplies, make copies, record attendance and keep computer and paper records for the students. I also fill in as the nurse when the real nurse is not in the building. I work closely with the PTO on extracurricular events such as fundraising and special events. I am the first face many families see when they enter the school so public relations are an important facet of my job. I am also responsible for the building security, making sure all doors are locked and no unauthorized persons have access to the children in the school.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of my job is working with children and seeing that their needs are met. Helping the students have a carefree and productive day is very satisfying. I am very much a "people person" so I enjoy the interaction with the teachers, students and parents.

Data entry is what I find the most trying aspect of this job. It is crucially important that the data on the students be accurate and up-to-date to insure government compliance and, also, so we can contact parents in an emergency.

Job Tips:
1. Always be willing to learn something new. The technology in this position is rapidly changing and you need to be willing to keep updating your skills.

2. This is actually a customer relations position so a smile, a kind word and a great deal of patience are required for this position.

Additional Thoughts: I never thought I would be a school secretary. I did not take secretarial courses in high school. My previous job experiences were in retail sales. My love for children and my willingness to learn new skills and stretch my knowledge base have led me to a career I love. Don't be afraid to try new experiences.

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