Shuswap school secretary looks back on 45 years with School District #83

Parkview Elementary’s Sandra Northway to retire at end of month

As she nears the end of a long and dedicated career, those who work alongside Parkview Elementary secretary Sandra Northway say they will miss her and all she does for students and the school.

Northway’s roots with the Shuswap schools runs deep. She attended the Malakwa Elementary as a child and, 45 years ago, began working at the school in a volunteer position.

Within two years she was moved into a paid position, first as an education assistant and then as a secretary and administrative assistant for Malakwa Elementary. Since then she has worked the front office at Malakwa, and then at Parkview, and has been an invaluable aid to the principals and other staff at both.

At the end of the month, Northway will be retiring as the most senior secretary and second most senior staff member in all of School District #83.

“Sandy has been my right arm. She is the most organized and thoughtful and compassionate person I have ever worked with,” said Parkview Elementary Principal Carla Schneider.

“I’m grateful for my time working with her and for our friendship.”

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Along with a reputation for efficiency, Northway is known as a caring co-worker by all of Parkview’s staff.

“Sandra always took the time to listen to our celebrations or trials and tribulations. Sometimes, she would share her own stories or give advice, or just simply listen and show her caring personality with a simple kind word or phrase,” a letter from Parkview staff members reads.

“Congratulations on your retirement. We wish you success in your new adventures in life.”

Northway says she is still focused on the job at hand as the 2020 school year winds down and hasn’t decided just what those adventures in retirement will be, but took a moment to look back fondly on her time at the school.

“It’s been absolutely wonderful,” Northway said.

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She said she has cherished the relationships made with students, families and staff at the schools. Those relationships have only grown deeper as Northway has seen people who were students when she worked at the school dropping their own children off at Parkview’s doors. She said some families have even brought a third generation to the pre-school strong start program.

Northway’s own children and grandchildren went to the schools she worked at. She said the move to Parkview when Malakwa Elementary closed 10 years ago was well timed because her grandchildren were going to school at the time. She said she has lovely memories of sharing the school with them.

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