In My Shoes: Central Office Receptionists

Posted on: Thu, 08/02/2018 - 09:00

Offices across the school system are open during the summer and they are all busy places. The FCPS Central Office is one of the busiest! The first person a visitor meets when they come to Central Office is one of our front desk receptionists.

photo of receptionists Rosanne Stokes and Orissa Landau
Rosanne Stokes and Orissa Landau, Receptionists

First impressions matter. That’s why we are so grateful that the front desk receptionists in the FCPS Central Office are such friendly and helpful individuals. Orissa Landau and Rosanne Stokes welcome our guests, handle numerous phone calls, and provide assistance to staff in a variety of ways. But their job involves much more than that.

First, at a time when so much national attention is appropriately focused on school safety, it’s important to remember that FCPS’s receptionists and the front office staff at our schools play vital roles in security. Orissa and Rosanne offer outstanding examples of that. They work hard to create a positive experience for every single person who visits our Central Office. But they also recognize that there’s a delicate balance between making community members feel welcome and maintaining the security of our facilities.

They do this through personal interactions with every visitor and by working with FCPS staff members to make sure that every visitor knows exactly where to go and who to speak with to conduct their business. Anyone who has stopped by our front desk in Central Office knows that Orissa and Rosanne make exceptional efforts to build personal rapports with visitors and guests, to engage them in conversation to make them feel welcome, and help them accomplish their tasks in Central Office. This can sometimes be challenging, especially if visitors are hoping to solve a difficult problem or are experiencing some kind of frustration. This level of personal attention and problem solving are what effective customer service – and effective security – are built on.

But I’m also proud of the fact that Orissa and Rosanne, like so many of FCPS’s outstanding front office professionals, truly embrace their roles as representatives of FCPS and of public education in general. One of the priorities in our Board of Education’s strategic plan says that “FCPS will equip staff with the knowledge and tools necessary to be positive ambassadors who build support for our goals and initiatives.” Rosanne and Orissa understand that for the hundreds (yes, hundreds!) of community members who visit and call our Central Office every day, they are the “face of FCPS.”

That requires them to have a working knowledge of dozens of FCPS departments, functions, and activities to be able to quickly and professionally help community members. Ms. Landau shared with me that “being on the front line, I have had the opportunity to learn so much about the different departments and what their functions are. There is a wide variety of visitors and meetings held here at central office. There is never a dull moment! The most rewarding part of my job is when I can assist someone in navigating their way through the system to get the answers they need.”

We are so fortunate that Rosanne and Orissa have been able to develop this level of professional expertise and that they are able to effectively help so many people every day (sometimes under difficult and high-pressure circumstances). It’s important to remember that through their knowledge, their problem solving expertise, and their positive ambassadorship, Orissa and Rosanne (and the professional front office staff at every FCPS school) directly support the achievement of our students and the success of our teachers and administrators.

Please help me thank our Central Office receptionists and the front office staff at all of our schools for the important work they do for our schools and students. Please share your thoughts with me on Twitter @FCPSMDSuper. And if you enjoyed this post, feel free to share it on Facebook or Twitter.