[ OUR SRPs ]

Getting to know … P4Q secretaries

school secretaries, from left, Laura Familia, Dana Gottsegen and Wendy Guardion, stand together smiling, Laura Familia and Wendy Guardion hold water bottles with SRP Rocks stickers, while Dana Gottsegen holds a poster that reads "Super Heroes Among Us: SRP Recognition Day"
School secretaries, from left, Laura Familia, Dana Gottsegen and Wendy Guardion, all members of the United Federation of Teachers, work to keep the P4Q front office running smoothly. P4Q is a multi-site organization serving students in four Queens neighborhoods and comprises two self-contained school buildings and five community schools. They were interviewed by Paula Thomas, UFT, a member of the NYSUT SRP Advisory Committee.

Tell me about your job and why you love what you do?

Wendy Guardion: I handle the payroll for all paraprofessionals, school aides and family workers. I am responsible for the processing of all of our substitute teacher and substitute paraprofessionals nominations that come in, along with inputing information for workers compensation cases and daily attendance from all seven school sites.

Laura Familia: I handle the payroll for all of our teachers, OTs/PTs, nurses and the parent coordinator. I am also responsible for monitoring the attendance for all of the above mentioned titles. I often act as a translator for parents and staff.

Dana Gottsegen: I’m a team player and can be seen doing many things to help out around the school. However, at the end of the the day, I’m responsible for pupil accounting, procurement and the school budget.

What about your union involvement?

We’ve all been active in union campaigns and initiatives, including efforts for paid parental leave, Public School Proud, the Constitutional Convention, Making Strides Against Breast Cancer and, more recently, Wear Blue for a Fair Contract.

We recently were the recipients of 40,000 books from the American Federation of Teachers’ First Book program and we helped to unload, organize and distribute all of the books!

How do you make a difference?

Familia: I make a difference with having one-on-one conversations. Many times we have sensitive information, and we must remain discreet at all times. Trust is crucial in the role of a secretary.

Guardion and Gottsegen: Helping over 360 staff has its challenges, but we enjoy communicating and listening to the concerns as well as helping as much as possible. We cover seven sites and communicate with the unit coordinators daily. A lot of people do not understand our roles and responsibilities as school secretaries. This needs to improve, and the P4Q organization can look forward to a newsletter outlining updates, changes, new information and, above all, putting a face with the name and title.

We understand, respect and support one another in the work that we do, and this makes for a positive working environment for all.

Do you have any hobbies? How are you engaged in the community?

Gottsegen: I am active with the Girl Scouts of America and the Parent Teacher Association.

Familia: I am active in my church community, and I volunteer with a local basketball team.

Guardion: I’m very involved in my church community.