Kim Stout is ‘Secretary of the Year’ by School Principals Association

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Switzerland County High School secretary Kim Stout has been honored as the “Secretary of the Year’ for the entire State of Indiana by the Indiana Association of School Principals.

She received the award last Friday during a conference held in Greenwood, Indiana – a big surprise to her and a tip of the hat to a large group of people who helped get her there for the honor.

“It was at a secretary’s conference,” she said. “I was totally surprised. All my family was there, plus Mrs. Harrell (retired SCHS teacher Rosalind Harrell, a close friend), plus the administrators.”

She was lured to the conference on the direction of high school Principal Gregg Goewert, who, along with assistant principal David Todd, wrote the letters of recommendation that led to the award.

Fellow secretary Dawn Powell was given the secret task of getting Kim to the conference without raising suspicion, and all of her family was hidden away behind a door until after the announcement was made.

“Mr. Goewert said that he wanted me there (at the conference) to learn a little more on ‘Word’,” Kim laughed. “At about 11 a.m. I told Dawn, ‘You know, I haven’t heard a word about ‘Word’.”

As noon approached, the topic turned to awarding the ‘Secretary of the Year’ award.

“They started saying I’d worked with the school for 28 years and he’d worked with me for three years,” Stout said. “I thought to myself, ‘they’re talking about me’. I kind of got emotional, and then I was like, ‘Oh Kim, don’t cry, because maybe they’re not talking about me’.”

They were, in fact, talking about Kim Stout.

“My family (husband Donnie and children Tennille and Tyla, as well as their families) were all hidden behind a door, and when they announced my name they opened the door and there they all were,” Kim said. “It was really special.”

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In Principal Goewert’s letter of recommendation, he wrote:

I would like to respectfully nominate Mrs. Kim Stout, Secretary/Treasurer for Switzerland County High School, as the 2015 Secretary of the Year for her leadership, compassion, and dedicated service. I have been fortunate enough to work with Kim for the past three years and she has completed 28 years in the same position. Mrs. Stout has served under 10 different Principals. Kim is one of only three staff members on our entire staff that has served the High School for the past nearly 30 years.”

The Principal continued:

“There are very clear cut and wonderful reasons why Kim has stayed in her position for such a long time, and we greatly appreciate her service to our school and community! In addition to qualifying for this award for her experience and quality work, Mrs. Stout also brings the soft skills and intangibles to the workplace.

“Kim has been appointed as the ‘captain’ of our office staff by the administrative team not because of her tenure, but because she is a wonderful leader by example. It does not matter the amount of snow or fog, Mrs. Stout will arrive to work on time and serve the full day. She holds herself and those around her to the highest professional standards. Each day our PA announcement reads, ‘Speak kind words and Make it a great day’. Kim embodies these qualities as she serves staff and students….”

In assistant principal David Todd’s letter, he echoed many of those same traits.

“Kim is our school treasurer and does a wonderful job. In my role as athletic director I have to be very careful with spending as we try to manage finances for approximately 20 athletic programs,” He wrote. “Kim is a great help to me and takes the role very seriously. She is as concerned, if not more concerned, with the athletic finances as I am. This concern and care over the athletic finances is the same that she shows for all of the school’s accounts.”

He also spoke as to her role in the school on a daily basis.

“Kim does not look at her role here as a job, but as a part of who she is and as an occupation that makes her proud,” Todd continued. “The students here at Switzerland County High School know that Kim not only cares about the school, but that she cares about them individually. They know that she can be firm with them when it is needed but that overall she is a warm and caring presence in their daily lives.”

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To define exactly what her job entails as the secretary/treasurer of the high school is hard to grasp.

She handles all of the money coming into the school for all of the different accounts, balancing to the penny each and every day. She gets all of the daily announcements ready and does attendance for the staff.

Then the day starts.

After regular school hours, Kim is a fixture as nearly all basketball games, greeting all fans with a big smile as she accepts ticket money and welcomes those from the visiting team to this community.

In receiving the award, as well as the congratulatory remarks from students, staff, and the community as word spread of the award, Kim accepted the honor with great humility.

“I felt honored,” she said. “But I work with a great group of people. I have for 28 years. They share this.”

Perhaps the nomination was best summed up by the way Gregg Goewert concluded his letter of recommendation:

“Kim Stout is an all around award winner when it comes to a secretary or treasurer,” he wrote. “She is an excellent person, respected co-worker, and professional friend.”