Who ya gonna call? You Wood have to talk to the woman at the front desk

Summer Claveau

Summer Claveau, Orange ETC. Editor

The front office is the brain of our school.

Where the students are the circulating blood that flows through the hallways, keeping our school alive, the front office is the decision-maker and problem solver.

Walking into the front office is a normal occurrence here, as is hearing a welcoming “hello, can I help you?” when entering.  You can bet that the friendly voice is coming from the desk in the back right corner, from the nucleus of our school’s brain, Administrative Assistant Nancy Wood.

“Without her, the entire school would collapse,” said Journalism teacher Brooke Nelson. I have heard very similar quotes from at least four other people.

Spending time in the front office, I can concur that indeed, the school would probably fall apart without our Wood behind that big desk.

Everything that anyone can imagine is delivered and talked about in that ginormous room off the main lobby. Wood deals with a million big—and small—details every day: Pizza deliveries, extra chocolate bar donations, insight into foiled senior pranks, complaints about skippers, and a steady stream of angry parents, concerned parents, helpful parents and parent volunteers are just some of what Wood handles during her time behind the big black desk. And she  willingly accepts all of it, both the easy and difficult.

“I would say I answer the phone at least one hundred times a day. I have cauliflower ear by the end of the day” said Wood.

Wood graduated from Roanoke College, where she studied sociology and education. I’d imagine this comes in handy when dealing with so many people each day. Not only does Wood help and support the almost 2,400 students in this school, but she’s there to help their parents and the staff in the building, too.

Having previous experience in the Department of Defense as a Management Analyst I’m sure helps when coordinating so many people.

As students, it’s hard for us to imagine our teachers having lives. But being an educator is a profession and teachers have to sign out and back in just the same as you do at your job at Papa John’s. Wood is the go-to gal for teachers when it comes to substitutes and leaving early.

And there are so many different personalities in the front office, and in the whole building, it can’t always be an easy job.

“Every day is interesting, and different, but that’s what makes it exciting” said Wood.

Wood, whose two sons, Kevin and Keith Parchen, were Spartans and who has manned the front office for the past six years, wants the front office to be a comfortable place for students and staff.  And even if she can’t help you with a problem, she can certainly direct you to the person who can.

The personal touch in our main office is what makes it so homey, with its adorable flowery pens and plant decorations, making this space both pretty and functional.

As I was sitting with Wood, so much was going on, but the most defining moment was when Assistant Principal, Becky Brandt walked up and said, “Hi, I have a question for you, because I’m sure you know everything.”

Though modest, Wood recognizes the important jobs she does for our busy school.

“But, no matter what job you do, you learn something new every day.”