Administrative Assistants Make The Working World Turn ‘Round

Judy Kramer
County Reporter
Administrative Professionals Week will take place April 21-27 this year, and Administrative Professionals Day is April 24. This is the time designated to show appreciation for those individuals who take care of paperwork, phone calls, making appointments and other necessary tasks that free up supervisors for other responsibilities. A favorite way to say “Thank you” is to take them to lunch.
Administrative assistant, secretary, clerk, typist, receptionist and stenographer are a few of the terms used in the past 70 years or so to define the men and women who support their bosses by taking care of office routines and acting as first responders when visitors drop by or call on the phone.  The title given to a person in this field, and the salary, are usually dependent on the type of duties for which he or she is responsible. National Professional Secretaries Day was created in 1952, by Harry F. Klemfuss of Young and Rubicam because he recognized their value, and he wanted to encourage more women to become secretaries. The name of this special day was changed to Administrative Professionals Day in 2000.  And, of course, men also fill these positions now, and the jobs carry a variety of responsibilities, and difficulties. Sometimes one person assumes the job of supporting a supervisor, and other times it takes a team of administrative personnel with different skills to do the job. 
Latricia Sharp is the lone administrative assistant to Superintendent of Warsaw Schools, Dr.  Shawn Poyser. She welcomes everyone who comes into her office, determines their business and refers them to the superintendent, or other personnel. She can even prevent entry into the office by remote control of the locked front door if necessary, so she is sort of a security guard too.
Sharp is in her second year as Dr. Poysers’s administrative assistant, and she also serves as the Warsaw School Board secretary. She spent three years as a secretary in the district’s high school, and said that she has spent her whole career in support roles. She began her career as a secretary, and followed that by becoming an executive secretary. She worked nine years for the Center for Human Services in Sedalia, and ended up in a management position. She also worked for Suzie Brodersen as an office team member where she said there was a good dynamic.
“A behind-the-scenes person is necessary,” said Sharp. “There are so many facets to being a secretary – such as a gatekeeper. He or she has to have the ability to control the thermostat or thermometer and set the tone. We set the thermostat, and have our finger on the pulse of things.”
Sharp said that her duties include answering the phone, managing the website for the district, and does some personnel things, some insurance, and makes sure that employees traveling overnight on business have accommodations. She often assists in setting up meetings in the office’s conference room.
“I have to stay one step ahead so Dr. Poyser is in the same position,” said Sharp. “He has an important role in the community and I want to make sure it goes as smooth as possible. This role has allowed me to be with my children. Daughter, Bailey, is a sophomore at Missouri Science Technology in Rolla, and son, Zachary, is a sophomore at Warsaw High School.”
Dr. Poyser commented on the job Sharp is doing by saying that she is an outstanding a person and professional. 
“She sets the tone, and the office functions so much more efficiently because of her, making my job easier and efficient,” said Dr. Poyser. “She has good rapport and has a lot of great ideas. She is a real valued member of our team.”
Truman Lake Dental, at 1631 Commercial Street, Warsaw, has a team of three secretaries who split up the office duties for the busy dentists and dental hygienists who see as many as 60 patients a day. 
Sandra Howard makes phone calls and appointments, takes care of patient’s medical histories, checks people in and out of the office and does some accounting and patient advocacy. She has been at Truman Lake Dental for three years, and has a total of 30 years of dental office experience. She worked in the field for 20 years in Pennsylvania, and has been in the local area for 10 years. Her favorite part of the job is getting to interact with people.
Sara Miller has been at the dental office for six years. She takes care of filing insurance, checking patient’s benefits and eligibility, and sending statements for services provided. She enjoys dealing with customers and the teamwork of the office. 
Tara Cihy has been at Truman Lake Dental for two and a half years, and worked with Dr. Brenda Herrman two years before the dentist joined Dr. Patrick Lancaster and his staff in their practice. She collects payments from patients after they have had treatment.  She has worked in the medical field for 20 years.