School secretary earns state honor

Nearly 700 students walk through the front doors of Seymour-Jackson Elementary School every day.

Secretary Tammy Marksberry is aware not every child comes from a happy home or is having a good day.

So she greets the children and their families with a smile, a wave and positive words.

Her interactions with the public and those she works with at the school have not gone unnoticed.

In late April, Marskberry received the Indiana Association of School Principals’ Secretary of the Year Award. She was nominated for the award by Assistant Principal Karla Bohle.

“Mrs. Marksberry always goes above and beyond to help serve our families, students and staff members,” Bohle said.

Marksberry began her career at Jackson 10 years ago as a special education instructional assistant and has been the lead administrative assistant for the past four years.

“I love getting to see and interact with the students,” she said of her job. “I enjoy greeting our visitors on a daily basis. I really love everything about it.”

She has worked for Seymour Community School Corp. for 17 years. Seven years were spent as an instructional assistant at Seymour-Redding Elementary, Seymour Middle School and Margaret R. Brown Elementary School.

But even after all of that time, she still was surprised to find out how highly people think of her and how much they appreciate her.

“I had no idea I was even nominated for the award, so at first, I was just shocked,” she said. “Now, I’m excited, proud and feel so incredibly blessed. I truly feel like there are so many more individuals more deserving of this honor, but I’m so happy to represent Jackson Elementary and Seymour schools in such a positive way.”

Being a school secretary can be stressful, and it takes a special person to be able to handle the job.

Bohle said Marksberry is highly skilled at collaborating with others to solve issues that may arise, including transportation, special education, technology and in other areas.

“I have had many people reach out to compliment Mrs. Marksberry’s organization, diligence, professionalism and friendly approach,” Bohle said. “Our families always leave with answers and a smile, either in person or on the phone.”

Secretaries or administrative assistants are the “face of the school,” Marksberry said.

“They’re the first opportunity someone has to interact with the school and often set the tone for the entire visit,” she said. “They’re also the support system for the whole staff, so we try to help everyone with everything they might need.”

The saying “You can’t please everyone” is a challenge from which Marksberry doesn’t shy away.

“But there’s never enough time to do this how I want to,” she said.

When faced with an upset parent or a child that is misbehaving, Marksberry said she tries to empathize and understand the situation.

“I try to put myself in their shoes to help solve whatever issue they may need assistance with,” she said.

That is what makes Marksberry stand out.

“Mrs. Marksberry is so wonderful because of her heart,” Bohle said. “She provides love, attention, support and guidance to (students) in her truly unique way. She has given up her lunch time to help tutor students struggling with spelling or to assist with completing homework.”

It’s the relationships she builds with students and families that help make Jackson a welcoming environment for its diverse population.

“Secretaries must be able to multitask, have a great attitude, have good organizational skills, be personable and polite on the phone, be able to greet visitors with a smile, be able to problem solve on their own and pay close attention to details,” Marksberry said.

“Now, I’m not saying I have all these, but I’m working on it.”