Oak Brook junior high secretary stays positive
Seeing a smile on the face of Kathy Ferrell, who has been the school secretary at Butler Junior High for the past 21 years, is usual. | Chuck Fieldman—Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 28, 2013 6:28AM
OAK BROOK — Butler Junior High Principal Stephanie Palmer calls school secretary Kathy Ferrell “the most positive person in the world.”
Ferrell has been working as the secretary at Butler for the past 21 years and has worked with four different principals. As the person who usually greets visitors to Butler and answers the phone, she is the school’s first impression to most. She also is the adult sponsor of the student talent show.
Q. You really do seem to have a very positive attitude. Is that something that’s just part of your personality?
A. I guess it is, pretty much, and I really do love my job here. This community totally embraces its schools, and I have been totally taken in here. I don’t live in Oak Brook, but the people really have made me feel like a part of the community.”
Q. How did you end up working at Butler Junior High?
A. My kids had gotten a little older, and I decided to go to work because I had nothing else to do during the day. A friend told me about this opening, so I applied and got the job.
Q. Was there anything in particular that appealed to you about working at Butler Junior High?
A. Initially, it was the opportunity of the hours; that was important because I still had two kids in school. I work from 8 to 4 and had the same breaks and vacations as my kids did when they were still in school.
Q. What about the environment of working in a school around kids?
A. That’s what has really become my favorite part of working here. I like to joke around a lot, and the kids this age get what I say. I love kids and get along with them, and I think they feel comfortable talking to me. They talk to me about all kinds of things. They treat me with respect, but still have a good time with me.”
Q. Has your job changed much over the 21 years you have been working at Butler Junior High?
A. Technology is what has changed the most, but far. There wasn’t even a computer in the office when I first started. There was something that looked like a typewriter; it was a word processor. I probably don’t use technology outside of work as much as a lot of people, but I’m sure I’ve been able to keep up much more with technology than I otherwise would have because of changes here.
Q. The student talent show started at Butler Junior High about 10 years ago. Usually, teachers are sponsors for such activities. How did you end up being the adult sponsor for that?
A. When they decided to do the show, none of the teachers at the time wanted to do it, so I said I would do it. I love doing it because I like to see what the kids can come up with. It also gets me more involved with some of the kids.