Walk into the office at McKinley Elementary School and chances are you will be greeted with a smile. It’s been that way since Karma Spackman came to work there 29 years ago. Her “put on a happy face” attitude has been a positive influence for the youngsters and faculty who have passed through those doors.
Her cheerfulness, calming voice and words of encouragement will definitely be missed when school starts next year. Spackman plans to shut off her computer and join husband, Paul, in retirement.
Spackman said she only hired on as a part-time office clerk those many years ago, and the minimal hours were fine with her. When the secretary Marge Staples retired and then-principal Ray Timothy asked her to step into the role, she wasn’t sure she wanted the responsibility the secretary job entailed.
She agreed, somewhat hesitantly. Learning the ropes, wasn’t easy, she admitted, “but I had help from the district. They were equally good at guiding me and forgiving me when I messed up.”
She said, back then, everything was done on paper, from requisitions to inventorying. There were notes to parents, attendance records to update and lots of bookkeeping. “Things have changed a lot,” she said. “Now I spend a lot of my day at the computer.”
But not all of her day is tied up with paperwork. She often is the first line of communication between parents and the school or students who are having a bad day. Having a smile ready for everyone who dropped by has always been her trademark.
Read more about Spackman and other retirees in the special Graduation tab included in this week’s Leader.