Thursday, January 14, 2016

"Miss Julie" - Sparkle and Shine

Haven't you always heard people say that they can tell a lot about a school when they walk through the door?  I didn't really believe that until I had the opportunity to travel all over the state and visit some of the finest schools in Florida.  Surprisingly, it is so true.  You can walk in the door and walk ten steps to the front office and you can feel the culture and character of a school.

Can you tell that Miss Julie loves pink?
At Chets Creek, it's "Miss Julie" (Julie Middleton) that greets visitors to our school in the front office and she is truly the sparkle and shine!  She represents all that I hope people feel when they walk into our school.  I love Miss Julie!  In fact, everyone loves Miss Julie. She always has a smile for everyone, laughs often and never seems to get ruffled. She's happy! Joy just oozes from of her pores.

Julie came to Chets Creek about 13 years ago when her second child, Jacob entered our school.  She volunteered to be a Room Mom and was quickly drafted to the PTA.  She was so active that it seemed that she was a full time employee almost from the beginning.  She assimilated into the busy hub of  Creek life as if she belonged here.  At Chets Creek, when you become that involved and are that good, you get a job offer.  Julie was a natural and so she was quickly offered the job at the front desk!  It takes someone very special to handle the busy-ness, the roller coaster of emotions, and the all  encompassing duties and details of the front desk.  Julie accepted (probably without knowing what she was really getting herself into!) and has been there every since!  I can't imagine walking into school in the mornings and not being greeted by Julie's warmth.  She looks at you and smiles... and any negativity or stress you might feel just melts away.
Julie with her other family

Being at the front counter in a school with 1300 students and about a hundred staff might be the most difficult job in the school, but you would think it was easy if you watched Julie. She handles it all - late arrivals and early dismissals, children that don't get picked up, taking temperatures, checking for head lice, soothing a crying child, dispensing all the medicine, handling all the substitutes and leave forms, dealing with angry parents and complaints, emergencies, enrolling new students, work orders, working hand-in-hand with the PTA, calling parents in difficult situations,... and I could go on and on.  She answers every question, even the really stupid questions without rolling her eyes, and usually with a genuine smile on her face. She knows the name of every child and which parents are attached to which child. If you want to know... anything, Julie is the person to ask.  It's not only that but Julie is the embodiment of "walking the talk" because she cares so deeply for children, for the faculty and for our Creek families. She develops relationships with them all.   It's not unusual for children to come in the mornings and stop to give Miss Julie a hug or for there to be children that she has taken a special interest in (usually because they are so very difficult and needy) that are "helping" her at her desk.  They each trust her and confide things they wouldn't tell another soul. Julie is just so easy to talk to about anything. She has her fingers in every single detail of Chets Creek.  I am sure every school has memorable people that color the fabric of their school, but Julie IS Chets Creek and really defines who we are, how people see us, and who I hope we will always be.

I asked Julie recently why she stays at Chets.  Her son is gone now - a college student - and she is so incredibly talented, she could certainly earn more money - much more money - doing something important somewhere else.  I wasn't surprised when she said that she stays because of the relationships she's made.  It's hard to explain but that's the thing about Chets Creek.  It seeps into your heart and becomes more than people at work who you care deeply about.  It becomes your extended family.
It's all about relationships!


Anonymous said...

Julie is Chets Creek - when people think of our school, they almost always ask about her first. One of the other really important things Julie does is really bond with the faculty kids. (all kids but somehow that special bond that recognizes they spend extra time at school - not necessarily because they want to but they have to while their parent's work) - Julie makes them feel special. This blog post captures her servant heart spot on, dayle.
-Karen Morris

Sherrie Rabe said...

Julie is a treasure. Love her so!

Kk Cherney said...

Right on dayle

Mrs. Patricia Wallace said...

Well said. I don't know how she does it all, but I'm glad she does.