Ronni Burch wears many hats as the elementary secretary. She’s the one we see at the office first, the finder of the substitutes, the de facto “nurse,” copy machine magician and so much more. If she forgot how important she is, Davis Elementary Principal Tammie Webb held a special event at the elementary involving students, teachers and her kids that just happened to coincide with Administrative Professionals Day (aka the day she announced Ronni as Support Staff Personnel of the Year.)
The break room was decorated in a fun Mexican theme and banners in the break room said “Nacho Average Secretary.” Even with this and the whispers from her coworkers, she didn’t know what was in store. “I was told we are just going to celebrate Secretary’s Day,” Ronni said. “They even involved my kids. It was special.”
Elementary co-workers shared in the fun wearing badges that spelled out all of Ronni’s unofficial duties on their hats when Ronni was told she had won the 2021 school year honors.
If you ask Ronni, there’s nothing in the world she would want to do more and she will set behind the desk at Davis Elementary for as long she is allowed.
“This is my tenth year at the elementary,” Ronni said. “I started out in Pre-K, I was a para or an aide and then right before Christmas break they pulled me in and asked if I would be interested in filling this job. I accepted it and I never looked back.”
Ronni was more eager to talk about the elementary, her coworkers and the students when asked about the things she does daily that no one would think about. Not one to toot her own horn, it was easy to see how loved she is by the decorations on her office door spelling out all of her secretarial super powers.
One of her most important jobs is being the go between for students and parents regarding medical issues since there is no school nurse on staff. It doesn’t stop there, affectionately named the “Nit Ninja” she’s the one who has been tasked to checking the elementary students for lice. She literally does anything to make sure the students are healthy and ready to learn.
A day in the life of an elementary secretary never has a set agenda. A typical day for Ronni starts with hitting the ground running. Checking the kids in, talking the kids into coming that don’t want to come and getting the kids ready to start the day. Administrative duties. Questions from parents are a constant. Somebody will more than likely get sick and Ronni and the custodian tag team for that. The list goes on and on.
She doesn’t mind if it’s a silly request coming from a teacher, student her parent – she’s here to help. “I am glad to do it and they know that. I am glad they feel like they can ask me for help,” said Ronni.
She’s been called the motor who keeps the place running and she’s quick to disagree. “It takes a lot, here at the elementary, we really have the best,” she said. “I feel like it’s team work and when we have a problem, we put our heads together and solve it. It’s not just one person. We all come in and make it one great place to be.”
The elementary is fun and Ronni said the staff works hard to maintain that atmosphere. They also work hard to maintain friendships. They gather outside of school and meet up in the summer. The work in fostering those friendships and relationships have turned the elementary into what Ronni called a well oiled machine and the “fun place.”
Thankful life changing her plans, Ronni looks back at the opportunity to make a career move from working at a bank to the elementary school. Knowing this was the best situation for her family, she’s been able to work at the school since her oldest, Cannon, was in Pre-K. Now he’s headed to the middle school and Ronni isn’t sure she’s ready for it. She’s going to be okay though, because she’ll have her youngest, Jerzie, with her for a few more years in the elementary.
When asked how she thought the elementary would function without a secretary she quickly answered “it wouldn’t at all.” She told a story about how she asked a teacher to cover for her in the office while she attended son’s play. When she came back the frazzled teacher gladly handed over the phone and told her that she was more than happy to hand over the phone. It never stopped ringing.
Ronni is a DHS graduate of the Class of 2005 and she said it was always Davis for her. Grateful her husband came around to the idea of becoming a Wolf, there was no going back.
Thinking about the honor she was given from her friends and coworkers brought tears to her eyes. “I felt very loved. Overwhelmed with love. There are some good ones that deserve this, too,” said Ronni.
Realizing she’s on the front lines at the school, she’s happy to be point of contact. Ronni’s singular goal is to help in any way needed. “Everyone has their problems, teachers, students and parents. I try to accommodate each one of those people needing help. I try to check on everyone.”