By Tara Fort • Photo by Trisha Shaffer

Arizona Native Ellen Gershman found a rewarding career in a journey that started 20 years ago at Gilbert Public Schools (GPS).  When a friend encouraged her to apply for a secretarial position in the district, Gershman had no idea that she would fall in love with the education field. Within two years she was promoted to Administrative Assistant and loved her role so much she later worked for Superstition Springs Elementary as Assistant to the Principal for 12 years.  And now, her path has brought her to Prescott where she is in her third year as Administrative Assistant to Principal Stephanie Hillig at Abia Judd Elementary School.  Hillig states, “Ellen possesses all of the traits necessary to be the perfect administrative assistant to the principal at Abia Judd.  She makes positive relationships with the community, parents, students and staff, and her upbeat personality makes everyone feel valued and welcome.  We are blessed to have such an amazing woman as part of our family.”

From Phoenix where she was born, to Tucson where she met her husband, to Gilbert where she started her career, and finally to Prescott, this educational community is where Gershman is meant to be. Former Principal Clark Tenney recalls during the interview process, “With her experience and wonderful demeanor, Ellen was our perfect candidate! Her former principals confirmed what we already knew—we were about to hire an absolute gem! Most principals would say the Administrative Assistant is really the person who runs the school. Ellen is like the ‘mom’ of Abia Judd Elementary School. She is one of the key reasons it’s a great place to be.”

Gershman knows every student and parent by name and is the first person to greet anyone who arrives on campus. She states, “I feel strongly that the attitude in a school’s front office sets the tone for the entire school community. My favorite part of my job is the desire to help each child succeed.”  While Gershman had initially hoped to teach once she started