Hats off to two South Jordan school employees, heralded outstanding employees
Aug 22, 2019 03:19PM
● By Julie Slama
Eastlake Elementary Principal Suzie Williams says “the heart of the school” is administrative assistant Tiffany Page, who recently shook hands with Jordan Board of Education members when she was announced one of Jordan School District’s outstanding classified employees. (Julie Slama/City Journals)
By Julie Slama | [email protected]
If you look to see how everything gets done and who makes it all work, look no further than the smiling face who greets patrons as they walk through the front door of the school.
Those administrative assistants, along with custodians, nutrition workers, computer aides, registrars, counselors and others, are who “make everything happen and work at the schools,” according to Jordan Education Foundation Director Steven Hall.
“They’re always doing so much, and they are the ones holding the school together,” he recently said after applauding eight outstanding classified employees at the Board of Education meeting.
The eight were picked through a selection process from a typical 50–75 nominees. Staff and faculty from Jordan schools and departments were invited to nominate one full-time non-teaching/support staff employee for recognition by late April. A selection committee reviewed the applications, choosing nominees who have qualities set apart from others, their contributions to their school or school district, their expertise and initiative as well as their professional accomplishments.
Each winner receives $1,000 and a plaque.
Of the eight, two are South Jordan administrative assistants: Brenda Landeen, of South Jordan Elementary School, and Tiffany Page, of Eastlake Elementary School.
“As administrative assistant, Brenda has enormous responsibility,” South Jordan Principal Ken Westwood said. “She’s our registrar, our financial clerk, our counselor, our nurse and our administrative assistant. Basically, she’s the right arm of the school.”
Westwood said he knows if he and the part-time assistant principal are in meetings outside of the school, Landeen can handle the issues that may arise, as well as supervise her part-time staff and help patrons as well as take care of the school’s 1,060 students.
“She can take on being principal; she can basically run the school,” he said. “I know she often goes to teachers, offering to take things off their plate. She is here early and stays late but always makes everything happen for us.”
Landeen, who was unable to attend the Board meeting, as she accompanied her father on an honor flight, missed the statement read about her from the faculty.
“She manages the ‘sideshows’ so we can focus on teaching kids. I am amazed at her organization. Brenda is our school mom. She takes care of all of us,” the nomination said.
After she returned, Landeen was asked to come into a school assembly, where he was surprised to learn of her award.
“I thought, ‘why me? I just do my job and try to make sure everything gets done,” she said. “I try to get everything done each day so if a kid walks in injured or sick, I’m available to give them the one-on-one attention. If a new child and parents come in, I give them a tour to make them feel more comfortable, to calm their fears and make them feel safe. I just try to be supportive and help students and lighten the load of teachers.”
Landeen, who has worked part-time in the district since 2005 and full-time since 2015 and has even filled in a classroom until a substitute arrives, said her first award is a “fun surprise.”
“It’s an honor that someone has noticed what I do, because I don’t really realize the impact I’m making on people’s lives,” she said. “I just am thinking about how to do my job and help others. The principal is kind and always makes me feel as if I do nothing wrong. The teachers are so supportive, and [I appreciate] the wonderful PTA and parent support.”
Eastlake Administrative Assistant Tiffany Page listened as her statement was read to the Board: “Tiffany has the qualities of a saint. She is professional, yet very approachable. She is always smiling and laughing with each person she talks to. A teacher says, ‘Tiffany has the ability to seamlessly talk to a child in need, calm a frustrated parent, as well as assist a faculty member all within minutes of each other. She knows when to listen, when to educate and when to be firm in every situation—all the while keeping a strong relationship with those she is helping.’”
Her principal, Suzie Williams, agrees.
“Tiffany runs the school, and she is the heart of the school,” she said. “She’s always so positive with the kids, the teachers, the parents — whether they feel sick or their knee hurts, if there is a student concern or a complaint, she listens and is kind.”
Williams said Page ensures her part-time staff are not only completing their tasks but also focusing on the people.
“She is very clear that they greet and acknowledge every person with a smile and listen to them,” Williams said. “She makes everyone feel valued, and Tiffany makes sure everything is organized. She’s very thorough and meticulous. In every school, administrative assistants are crucial, and high expectations are set for them. Tiffany doesn’t just meet them, she excels. I’m so grateful for her.
Other Jordan District winners include Trina Child, Columbia Elementary; Anne Gould, Jordan Education Foundation; Amanda Hansen, Department of Teaching and Learning; Paul Hansen, Riverton Elementary School; Cyndi Pellegrino, Sunset Ridge Middle School; and Marci Stewart, Foothills Elementary School.