COVID-19 has presented everyone with complicated issues. Copperas Cove High School principal secretary Denise McFarland has never wavered on her ability to manage all the secretaries and paraprofessionals on campus, assist wherever she is needed, and demonstrate an innate ability to diffuse situations.
“Denise is an exceptional person and has a very calm demeanor. This is evident when she answers phone calls from parents.” Principal Jimmy Shuck said. “She can help resolve several issues before they even make their way to me. She truly goes above and beyond in her responsibilities to ensure our campus runs smoothly.”
McFarland leads by example and does not ask anyone to do anything she is not willing to do herself. As a result, she has worked in the high school book room to make copies for teachers, assisted in the nurse’s office, served as substitute coordinator, helped with attendance, worked in the reception office, helped with budget, printed identification badges for students, and coordinated the calendar for facilities use. Even though she has helped in each office, she has never been behind on her own responsibilities, Shuck said.
“Even when half of our secretaries were out sick this year, Denise kept a positive outlook. Frustrations run high when we are short of office staff and Denise gets everyone to calm down by developing a plan to help where needed,” Shuck said. “Staff and students know that Denise will work hard to help find a solution to help. Students and staff find her very approachable and often seek her out. Several students stop by the office to check on her and give her well wishes for the day. Denise truly impacts each person positively that she encounters every day.”
Shuck said McFarland also serves as a sounding board for secretaries and paraprofessionals about the concerns they have and will work towards resolving their issues and concerns. McFarland has served as a peer mediator several times this year.
“Staff enjoy being around Denise. I have had multiple staff members tell me they ‘love’ her,” Shuck said. “She is polite and professional in all her interactions. When people come to her with a problem, she does her best to make sure she helps resolve the issue.”
McFarland was selected as the 2021 Copperas Cove High School Paraprofessional of the Year.