Over the next several weeks, Lapeer Community Schools will pay tribute to many of the Unsung Heroes of the Pandemic. These are the employees who have been singled out by their colleagues for going above and beyond the call of duty to ensure we could keep our schools open for face-to-face instruction. Each Unsung Hero will receive a gift certificate courtesy of our friends at Meijer in Lapeer.
Earlier this week, an employee reached out and asked if anyone had nominated Kim Seifferly as an Unsung Hero of the Pandemic. The answer, of course, was yes … many. In truth, no nomination was required in this case.
The petitioner didn’t feel the need to write a bulleted list of all the incredible work Kim has done to keep the District open since the Pandemic began. He put into just a few words what everyone has been thinking:
“Her entire year had to suck worse than anyone’s.”
Kim is the Executive Director of Human Resources for the District, a difficult (and sometimes not fun) job even without a global pandemic. Since October, Kim’s work life has bled into her personal life to a degree that few people could endure. Kim became the unofficial gatekeeper for all things COVID-19 back in the fall not because it was necessarily part of her job, but because she was willing and able.
During this time, I had a habit of walking down to Human Resources to make small talk with Lisa McAley, Kim’s right-hand woman, before cutting to the chase: “Is Kim doing OK?”
The answer was always something like, “it’s a lot right now, but you know how she is — she’s on top of things.”
Kim’s work has been indispensable to the day-to-day operation of our schools. While much of the attention during the Pandemic has been on mitigation strategies like hygiene, social distancing and masks, the District’s contact tracing program has been vital to our successful re-opening of schools.
“It would be hard to overstate the amount of hours Kim has put in over the last several months on all things COVID-19, over and above her normal job responsibilities,” one colleague said. “So many nights, weekends and early mornings working with the health department and our building administrators, the amount of work is staggering.”
One morning a few weeks ago, there was a stack of papers piled up on a desk six or seven inches high just down the hall from Kim’s office. It was that week’s COVID-19 contact tracing paperwork — and it was Thursday.
“One positive case of COVID-19 often requires 30 or 40 phone calls, and forms to process for each as well,” another colleague noted. “She had to monitor staffing shortages, return dates, symptoms, test results and even investigate activities outside of school. Day after day after day, this became the new normal for Kim and her team.”
All told, the District has had nearly 1,700 students or staff quarantined since October. One could argue we’ve been lucky to keep our schools open as long as we have, but it’s not luck. It’s hard work and attention to detail that have kept our buildings open, two things that Kim Seifferly has in abundance.
Another colleague noted that, regardless of the demands of the job, the deadlines, the forms, the files, all of it, she was still able to meet the needs of employees.
“When an employee is facing a difficult situation or is in need of support from her office, she’s able to offer personalized service as if their need is her most important priority,” said said.
In short, she’s the best and we are lucky to have her.
On behalf of our entire school community, we say thank you to Kim for her dedication to our students and staff.