Little things, like knowing a kindergartner did not like broccoli, have paid off for Deb Schaefer over the years.
That knowledge paid off when Schaefer ordered a chicken sandwich meal for a kindergartner because the other lunch option contained broccoli. For efforts like that one or when she bought Mentos and a Diet Coke for a student’s lesson plan, she was named the university’s Civil Service Employee of the Month for October. Her reception will start at 10 a.m. Oct. 30 in the Fishback Center for Early Childhood Education’s gathering space.
Schaefer, the Fishback Center’s assistant manager, is in her 18th year at State and co-workers praised her personal touch, ability to balance tasks and her personality.
“Each semester, she works with about 50 early childhood education majors who are either teacher candidates at the center or students in their first professional semester working as assistant teachers. She answers their questions, helps them to locate materials and listens to them. She provides a gentle touch, which often reminds me of how a 'mom' would handle situations within the center. The students truly appreciate the personal touch that she puts on their experiences in the Fishback Center,” said Kay Cutler, director of the Fishback Center of Early Childhood Education.
“Deb's top strengths when considering the Strength-Finder strengths are empathy and connections. She uses these strengths on a daily basis within the center and the Fishback Center shines as a whole because of it. She is kind, caring and puts her heart into her work.”
Samantha Kinder, a mentor teacher in the Fishback Center, added, “Deb goes above and beyond what is expected of her as she often comes into the preschool on the weekend to repair things and make sure students have what they need. I especially appreciate her friendship and the kindness she shares with everyone. I know that I can always go talk to her for advice as she has experience working with and taking care of her grandchildren. Deb, without being asked or being told, makes soup for everyone in the center on Thursdays because it is the end of our school week and she understands how much work we put into our days with the children.”
Dan Stluka might have summed up Deb best by saying, “Deb is the co-worker everyone would be lucky to work with.”
Schaefer graduated from SDState in 1975 with an associate of arts degree. She and her husband, Rod, have three children, Kyle, Matt and Tara. Schaefer is a board member of the Kelly McGeough Foundation.
All SDSU Employee of the Month selections are determined through a nomination process by the Civil Service Advisory Council. Each civil service employee of the month receives an appreciation monetary gift from the F.O. Butler Foundation. The trustees of the foundation recognize the importance of civil service employees and take this opportunity to thank them for their exemplary service.