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What Does a School Secretary Do?

By Bethany Keene
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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A school secretary is an administrative professional who works in an educational environment, typically an elementary, middle, or high school. This person will work in the front office and will generally be one of the first people an individual will see upon entering the school; in fact, greeting people coming in to the school and directing them to the proper location is one of the main jobs of a school secretary. This person might also answer phones, process mail, and record student absences, among numerous other tasks. Some secretaries will work just during the school year, while others will work year round.

The jobs of an elementary, middle, or high school secretary are generally not too different, though high schools often have a number of secretaries for different departments. Smaller schools may not need to do this. Providing assistance to school administrators, as well as parents and students, is the primary job of a school secretary. For this reason, this individual is knowledgeable about the school and the other staff, and can answer questions directed his or her way. Students sent to the office for misbehavior or other reasons might first need to see the secretary, so it is important for him or her to be knowledgeable about the rules or code of conduct for the school as well.

It is important for a school secretary to know how to operate various types of office equipment, particularly a computer. He or she will typically also need to use a fax machine, copy machine, and multi-line phone, among other pieces of equipment. Most secretaries spend much of the day multi-tasking, and need to be able to keep track of different things happening at once. For instance, a school secretary might be responsible for recording student absences and preparing reports in the mornings, while still doing all the other administrative tasks as well.

For upper-level administrators in a school, such as a principal or a district superintendent, for instance, a school secretary might work just for that individual person. This type of secretary will not typically interact with students as often, but will instead be there to provide administrative assistance. This might involve things like scheduling, setting meetings, drafting letters or memos, or other tasks to assist in the day to day operations of the school. These types of secretaries are those who might often be required to work year round.

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Discussion Comments

By serenesurface — On Aug 03, 2014

@fify-- That's a good question. I'm not sure but I think that they are the same. Some schools call it a school principal or a staff principal, others call it a principal's secretary. I guess technically a principal's secretary would be someone who takes care of clerical work only for the principal. But a school secretary is someone that works for the principal as well as other staff in the school. So if a school has both of these positions, then I would assume that the school secretary deals with general staff and student related work.

By fify — On Aug 02, 2014

@serenesurface-- Is the school secretary and the principal's secretary, the same thing then? Or are these two different positions?

By serenesurface — On Aug 02, 2014

When I was in school, I remember the school secretary as the main contact person in the principal's office. He or she was also the contact point between our teachers and our parents. She was often the one making phone calls home when we missed school or when there was something else that my parents needed to attend to. If I wanted to see the principal or some other administrative, I had to see her first. Most schools dreaded having to see the school secretary because it usually meant that they were in trouble of some kind.

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