Winthrop High School's Premier News Site Since 2019

The Viking Times

  • December 22Shannon's Jets ornament is STILL at the back of her Christmas tree...
  • December 8Follow us on Instagram! @whsvikingtimes
  • December 5Interested in joining the Newspaper Club? See Ms. Irvine or Mr. Donnelly for more information!
Winthrop High School's Premier News Site Since 2019

The Viking Times

Winthrop High School's Premier News Site Since 2019

The Viking Times


Are you taking any AP Exams?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

WHS Staff Spotlight: Mrs. Summa


We enter the school building every day and pass by the office, not paying attention to what goes on inside. Unbeknownst to many of us, the work in the office is taxing and challenging, and the people who work there do much more than we might imagine. This week, I spoke to one of these people: Mrs. Summa. I learned a lot more about her and her work at the office. If you have read some of the other articles in this newspaper, you will see she is a frequent commenter and goes out of her way to show her appreciation to the newspaper. This is only a small sign of how amazing she is, and I hope by the end of this article, you will know much more about her.

Mrs. Summa began working in schools in 1987 when she volunteered to help the teachers. When her son started first grade, she applied for a NESP (educational support personnel) job at the Willis School (now the ATC). She hadn’t expected to get the job, so when she did, she felt surprised and excited, and now she could be near her son. She started in October of 1988 and has been working at Winthrop schools since! She was initially a teacher’s aide and would occasionally help out in the offices. She then worked one-on-one with special needs children. After this, she worked in a secretarial position at the middle school. A few years passed before she was transferred to the high school in 2009 because schools only allowed one secretary due to budget cuts. For her first year working at the high school, she was alone. The work was typically divided between two people, but it was now up to her to manage the enormous workload. After that first year, they began hiring people part-time and eventually full-time. When I asked how she managed all that work, she told me, “When you love your job, and you get to see the kids every day, it’s worth it. I would go home stressed sometimes, but I couldn’t wait to come in the next day. Thats how I felt”. She also told me she loved the interactions with the staff and students, which made her love her job.

One of the questions I asked Mrs. Summa was one of her favorite events from her years working. She told me about her time working as a teacher’s aide in an ESL class and how she loved teaching kids who came from all around the world. She loved seeing other countries’ cultures and learning about different places. Two sisters that went to the school she knew came from Egypt and were in America because their father was attending school to be a doctor. By the end of the year, their father offered to pay for her to visit them in Egypt. Her impact on those girls had been so meaningful that their father wanted her to see them. She told me that this year, in particular, was outstanding for her.

I also asked Mrs. Summa what an average workday looks like for her. In the morning, she arrives at 6:30, and when she comes, she checks her computer to see which teachers are absent. When the office knows who’s out, they need to call subs. They help out the teachers with whatever they might need. As the day goes on, there is always stuff to do. She has to manage attendance, make sure IPASS has updated attendance, and keep track of dismissals. They always have to take phone calls; it is constant. Parents are coming in for dismissals, people are coming in for meetings, and they have to work with guidance.

Mrs. Summa said, “It’s not just one thing, like doing budgets, that you say, ‘Oh it’s an office job’; we handle things as things come up. Sometimes, we have an issue where we have to call a hold in place if a kid is really sick, and we have to get them out of there; a couple of times, I’ve even watched classrooms for 10 or 15 minutes while a teacher has a meeting or something”. It is very apparent how much work the office does. Mrs. Summa is one of the individuals who does so much work for the school and takes on any challenge that comes her way. 

Through my interview with Mrs. Summa, I learned a lot about the school and how it works. It was also amazing getting to know Mrs. Summa. There were so many stories I wish I had enough room to add. Speaking to her made me realize how much work goes on that many of us are unaware of. I recommend stopping by the office and talking to Mrs. Summa if the opportunity arises. She really is a fantastic member of the WHS staff.

View Comments (10)
More to Discover

Comments (10)

All The Viking Times Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • G

    Gina MassaMar 11, 2024 at 1:37 pm

    What a nice article about Ms. Summa! I am one of the secretaries at the middle school and interact with Ms. Summa on many occasions. I got to really know her when I was the class advisor for the class of 2018. She was so helpful to me during my fundraising efforts. She was also a big help to me when Mrs. Spinale was out for several months and I had to do the budget. She always makes me laugh and leaves a smile on my face 🙂

  • M

    Mark W DixonMar 8, 2024 at 12:51 pm

    Fantastic article about one of my favorite people.

    • Z

      Zaineb FawziMar 8, 2024 at 3:19 pm

      Thank you! Mrs. Summa really is a wonderful member of the community.

  • R

    Roseann SpinaleMar 8, 2024 at 9:49 am

    I had the pleasure of working with Mrs. Summa for many years at the Middle School. We developed a wonderful friendship in and out of school. The knowledge she retains of how to run a school is amazing. Can’t imagine the system without her.

  • B

    Brian DonnellyMar 8, 2024 at 9:44 am

    Me. Summa is the best and keeps this school running! What an amazing asset to the school community and an absolute joy to work with!

  • C

    Chris Summa c/o Winthrop High SchoolMar 8, 2024 at 9:25 am

    OMG! What a wonderful article! I am at a loss for words (and a bit weepy, too!) Thank you for taking the time with me. I enjoyed our talk and sharing some of my experiences over the years at WPS. This article is a tribute not just to me, but to all our secretaries throughout the school district. Mostly, I enjoyed listening to some of your daily interactions with other students, staff members, and your goals for the future; I am so impressed with you.
    A beautiful article written by a beautiful person, that’s you! I wish you happiness and all the best for a successful future that you so deserve.
    Keep writing!
    Mrs. Summa

    • Z

      Zaineb FawziMar 8, 2024 at 3:50 pm

      Hi Mrs. Summa! I’m so glad you enjoyed the article! I really enjoyed speaking with you. The work you do is so valuable and we all appreciate it so much. I enjoyed speaking with you so much and I look forward to many more conversations!

  • M

    Mrs. LeslieMar 8, 2024 at 8:32 am

    Great job, Zaineb! I loved reading about Summa’s personal and professional life. I learned a lot about what she did before coming to WHS. She is an amazing woman and the glue that holds our school together, I’m glad you were able to highlight this so eloquently.

    • Z

      Zaineb FawziMar 8, 2024 at 3:28 pm

      Thank you so much! Mrs. Summa really does do so much for this school, and Im grateful I got to speak with her.

  • E

    Ellen BaxterMar 8, 2024 at 8:06 am

    What a wonderful article! We are so fortunate to have Mrs. Summa and all of our awesome secretaries! The backbone of our schools!