The Women Behind the Curtain: Kristi Whittington


Photo provided by Mary Catherine Colo

Mary Catherine Colo, Online Editor

For students at RJR, being marked present and hearing the bus changes over the intercom are normal occurrences on a given school day. These events continue to be a routine thanks to the hard work of Francheska Reyes, the main office secretary, and Kristi Whittington, the attendance secretary. 

Reyes, who has worked at Reynolds since August, is mainly responsible for checking in on substitute teachers, running the phone, and communicating with teachers. She also plays a role helping parents who are in need of information.

“I check the phone for voice mails of parents who have been calling in with questions,” Reyes said. “I try to help them with their questions, but if not I try to find someone who is able to help them.”

Photo provided by Mary Catherine Colo

Reyes does more than answer parent questions, as she occasionally acts as a translator for students and parents who primarily speak spanish.

“I am one of the few people who speak Spanish, so when I have a parent who speaks no English I will go into meetings and I’ll be their interpreter,” Reyes said. 

To most students, Reyes is a recognizable voice, as she is in charge of bus announcements everyday around 3:35 pm. Around mid September, Reyes began to give bus announcements in Spanish, as well as in English.

“We started doing bus announcements in Spanish, just so everyone has an understanding of any bus changes, because we do have a lot of students who speak no English,” Reyes said. “They weren’t able to understand when we were making changes.”

Although Reyes has only been at RJR for a few months, she is already leaving an impact on the community; the same community that persuaded Whittington to become a staff member.

“I was a parent [at Reynolds] before I started working here,” Whittington said. 

Working as the attendance secretary, Whittington handles the check ins and check outs of students, visitors and substitute teachers at RJR. When she can, Whittington aslo tries to help students make their lives easier. 

“The big thing a lot of kids don’t realize is if they’ll download the Powerschool app, and then go into the settings on their phone and turn on notifications for Powerschool, anytime they are ever marked absent in class they will get an immediate notification, and can take care of it then and there,” Whittington said. 

Reyes and Whittington sometimes work hand in hand, when there is a mass checkout, or extra hands are needed. 

“When we have had lockdowns, or when we’ve had tornado warning, and parents want to come get their children, [Reyes] will come up and help me, because we have parents lined up wanting to come in,” Whittington said. “It is hard for one person to do it all at that point.”

Reyes and Whittington are the key factors in organization and structure at RJR. Typical activities at Reynolds unbenounced to all, are orchestrated by Reyes and Whittington. They are the women behind the curtain.