The school experiences change as Head Secretary Arlene Graham retires

(pictured: Tara Kacher, new Head Secretary)


The school has a void to fill with the retirement of Head Secretary Arlene Graham, who served in the district for over three decades. Although many people will be affected by her absence, junior Sutton Steensma, the junior class president, will specifically miss her and the role she played in students’ and faculty members’ everyday life.

“It will definitely be a big change,” Sutton said.”We are so spoiled with having her be so incredible at her job; we will now have to adapt to someone new.”

Graham helped with a multitude of things ranging from information regarding account balances, working with sponsors, and helping students and teachers when needed. She performed each task with the same amount of grace she did with the last.

“Her job is super difficult, and she handled it like a champ,” Sutton said. “I think she served her job through and through and definitely will be missed at FHC.”

Because Graham played such a huge role in all the intricate parts of the school, her role presents big shoes to fill. Sutton hopes to have a replacement that will conduct the same responsibilities with the same amount of poise.

“[I hope] that they are able to take on the big tasks that the job consists of with grace,” Sutton said. “They will have to live up to Arlene being so active in helping students.”

History teacher and wrestling coach Brad Anderson agrees with the difficult task of finding a replacement for Graham. Anderson was on the committee for finding a new Head Secretary, and he had a list of requirements to fill her sizable void.

“Whoever steps into that position is going to need to be a multitasker of the highest order and able to keep calm in the storm,” Anderson said. “[They] certainly are going to have to have a love for students and a love for Forest Hills Central.

Graham worked alongside Anderson from the first day he took on his teaching role at the school, providing help wherever and whenever it was needed.

“Arlene has been a mainstay in my daily activities here at [the school],” Anderson said. “She is the backbone of the logistics. She works with all of the office staff and the counselors, and she is a point person for all the teachers. Arlene is very much a person who has had to juggle many responsibilities. Personally, interacting with her has been incredibly helpful and very supportive.”

Despite the presented challenge of finding a replacement for Graham, one has been found after an extensive interviewing process: Tara Kacher. The school and board look forward to everything she will bring to the table and how her strengths will apply to the job.

Principal Steve Passinault is sad to see Graham leave, but he is looking forward to what the new Head Secretary will bring. The hardest thing for him and the school will be adjusting to a new role.

Anytime you lose an employee of Mrs. Graham’s caliber, there is always a transition period,” Passinault said. “The biggest challenge will be losing the institutional knowledge of a person like Mrs. Graham who has been here for a long time.”

Although she will be missed, after thirty years, Graham was ready to step down from her position and let a new person step into her role. Graham’s plan for her newfound free time is to spend more time with her grandchildren and to do more of the things she enjoys, such as gardening.

Graham helped in many areas from financing to scheduling, but it is clear that her absence will be felt most in the hearts of the students and faculty members of the school.

“Obviously it is very difficult to replace Arlene Graham,” Anderson said. “She has an incredible amount of institutional knowledge. She’s a person who is integral to the success of Forest Hills Central.”