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Chief of staff: WHS's Anderson honored

The Minnesota Association of Secondary School Principals has named Nancy Anderson, the Woodbury High School office coordinator, the Office Professional of the Year. Woodbury Bulletin photo by Amber Kispert

As the old saying goes, "behind every great man is a great woman." A similar phrase is true over at Woodbury High School -- behind every great principal is a great office coordinator.

Nancy Anderson, the WHS office coordinator, spends her days dealing with any teacher-related issues, handling scheduling and planning for various events, taking care of the principal's calendar, handling payroll, taking calls from parents and supervising after-school sports, all the while dealing with any unplanned duties or issues.

"I work on interruptions all day long," Anderson said. "But, it's gratifying to know you can help people."

Anderson's hard work and dedication has been recognized by everyone at WHS for the past 19 years, but this year Anderson has reached statewide.

The Minnesota Association of Secondary School Principals has named her Office Professional of the Year.

"I was shocked, I was dumbfounded," Anderson said. "It's nice to be appreciated."

Anderson will be given her award at the annual MASSP annual conference on Jan. 26.

A second family

Anderson, 62, began working at WHS in 1992 as an attendance office secretary after having spent several years as a crossing guard and food service worker at Pine Hill Elementary.

The former physical education teacher said she took a job in District 833 since she loves being around kids and wanted to be able to be home in the afternoon with her children.

After working in the attendance office for many years, Anderson made the decision to move upstairs to the principal's office about six years ago.

"I was ready for a change," she said.

The biggest challenge in Anderson's job is being interrupted with other tasks while she's already multi-tasking, she said.

Anderson said the best things about working in the office at WHS are the kids and the people she works with.

"I love the kids, I love to be busy," she said. "I love my job."

In addition to having to handle all of the day-to-day tasks, Anderson also has the task of being acquainted with all of the new students and the new teachers.

"I don't know all the students as well as I would like to," she said. "But I love meeting the new teachers because it's nice and refreshing and you get to start all over.

"Plus, I like seeing the excitement in the eyes of the new teachers."

A cut above the rest

Anderson's nomination for the award was courtesy of the school's principal and three assistant principals.

In their nomination, the four principals had to answer several questions about why they chose to nominate Anderson.

Assistant principal Sarah Sorenson-Wagner, who was the primary author of the nomination, said she made the decision to nominate Anderson because of her many contributions to the school.

"She goes above and beyond regular clerical duties," she said. "She's got her fingers in a lot more than people realize."

Principal Linda Plante said Anderson is the face of WHS, and she makes it a point to make that face comforting and helpful.

"Her biggest contribution to the school is showing others that our job is to help and support students and staff and she is absolutely a role model in these areas," she said. "She does not just talk about helping, she helps.

"We are blessed to have exceptional people working at Woodbury High School, and Nancy is the best of the best."

Sorenson-Wagner said that back when she was a teacher, Anderson welcomed her to the school and made her feel like a part of the school.

"She made sure every staff member felt important and feels like a valued member of the Woodbury High School staff," she said. She sets the tone, the attitude, the morale and the culture of the building."

Anderson said she will continue in the school until she can't anymore.

"I get up every morning and look forward to coming to work -- I love my job," she said. "I'll continued until I can't or I stop enjoying my job."

Amber Kispert-Smith

Amber Kispert-Smith has been the schools and Afton reporter at the Woodbury Bulletin since 2008. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota. She previously worked as a reporter for Press Publications in White Bear Lake.

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