Enhelder loves her job as secretary

Shad Kraftson, Distribution Reporter

If someone were to have walked into the White Pony Center on Jan. 28, they would have found an empty desk. Something would have felt off. The office would have seemed dead.

If they came back the next day, the office would have appeared livelier because Secretary Shelly Enhelder was back at work despite still having cold symptoms. She works with the counselors and Assistant Principal Bill Howlett in the center.

Many people do not realize that Enhelder and Howlett knew each other outside of Stillwater. “I grew up in Lino Lakes, and went to Centennial High School with Mr. Howlett,” Enhelder said.

She had no idea she would work with Howlett again. They worked at the same gas station in Roseville. Later Enhelder was on the hiring team at Stillwater that interviewed Howlett, and now they work together again. Enhelder has not always worked at Stillwater though.

“I went to UMD for a year, then I came home and I went to Anoka-Ramsey.  I got married and then had kids and I worked at Concordia University. I was going to start to finish my degree, but I got a job here at Stillwater Area High School so I never finished,” Enhelder said.

I want to stay here until I retire. So unless they get rid of me, I’ll be here. That’s my plan.”

— Shelly Enhelder

Before working at Stillwater, Shelly was living in Stillwater and commuting to Concordia where she was a program manager. Basically, she set up courses and made sure the professors were paid. The situation was not ideal for her at the time.

“I moved here and then my kids were eventually going to be going to go to school here and I was scared so I wanted to get a job here,” Enhelder said. “My husband has his own business. I worked in St. Paul and for me to just be able to leave if they had an appointment or got sick was kind of hard. I wanted to be closer to them,” she added.

Like most any job in education, her duties have changed since she started in 2004.

“When I started here we had two centers and in each center there were two secretaries and one assistant principal and three counselors. And at that time, all the secretaries did was discipline, truancy, just basic stuff for the assistant principal,” Enhelder said.

Her responsibilities changed as the school changed and that is likely to happen again when ninth graders come to the school in 2017. Luckily, Shelly seems to be a flexible person.

“Two years after I started, they split us up and had three centers with one secretary in it,” Enhelder said.

The secretaries’ jobs today encompass many elements vital to keeping the school going.  To an outsider, it almost seems like a miscellaneous list.

“We have our basic stuff like the truancy, suspension, discipline and then we also schedule things for all the counselors. Then there are other bigger projects that are divided up,” Enhelder said.

What Shelly describes as “basic” might be harder than she says. She helps many people solve their problems and get information.

Assistant Principal and co-worker Chris Otto said “[Shelly] really runs this center. She’s the person that deals with all the kids and teachers and parents and everyone else. Often times everyone needs a different piece of information and she’s the one that figures out how to get their needs met.”

It sounds like a lot of work, but Shelly enjoys her job nonetheless. She will not complain, but the reason she likes her work is not the salary.

“Well, this is what I tell kids, I don’t work here for the money. That tells you a lot right there,” Enhelder said.

Enhelder likes working at Stillwater because of the people. She interacts with many people in her work day and there seems to be a lot of activity in the White Pony Center. For anyone concerned about Enhelder leaving her job, rest assured that this will likely not happen.

“I want to stay here until I retire. So unless they get rid of me, I’ll be here. That’s my plan,” Enhelder said.