A high school secretary is often one of the busiest people in the school. She works closely with the building principal and vice principals, and serves the needs of the teachers. Students rely on her help throughout the school day and parents call her throughout the day. Some high school secretaries work 12-month schedules, but other school districts require them to work only when school is in session or when principals are working.
Each school district sets its own educational requirements for its high school secretary. She may not need a college degree, but school often require business classes from a vocational school or community college to provide the training the secretary needs to perform her job. Classes in office management and accounting provide basic training to perform the job. Schools may also require school secretaries to have prior experience working in a public-contact job.
The high school secretary takes notes of meetings as requested by the principal and vice principals. In some cases, she takes and transcribes dictation of these meetings. She is responsible for scheduling meetings with the principal. A school has massive amounts of correspondence, reports and other forms of memoranda that the secretary generates under the direction of building administrators. Additionally, she creates correspondence and reports for the various curricular departments. Planning and printing the school’s handbook is often assigned to the school’s secretary and she may have the responsibility of creating the school’s newsletter under the guidance of the building principal. As she creates any document from her office, she must take care to proofread and observe proper grammar and formatting of projects to present the best possible image for the school. The high school secretary enters information into the database for the school’s attendance, grades and other permanent records required by the state’s Department of Education. In larger schools, the secretary may have additional staff to help her with these tasks; otherwise, she performs them all on a daily basis herself. In some cases, the high school secretary manages the budget for her office and records transactions. Throughout the day the secretary works with students to help answer any questions they have. As students wait to see the principal, the secretary supervises them. She answers the phone and directs calls to the appropriate person.
The high school secretary must be able to multi-task so she can keep the many projects she works on daily organized. She must be able to finish her work in a timely manner with minimal supervision and she should expect frequent interruptions. The secretary needs basic mathematics skills to perform her job, and good communications skills, both oral and written, are essential to the job. Computer skills are necessary to perform the job, and the secretary needs to be able to operate other office machines, such as a photocopiers.
Each school district sets its own pay and there are no national averages for high school secretaries; however, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that all secretaries earned an average salary of $34,660 in 2010 or $16.66 per hour. Salaries vary based on experience and location of the school. For example, the highest salary offered to high school secretaries who work in Wake County Public Schools in North Carolina was $39,282 during the 2012-13 school year. The highest paid secretary in the Houston, Texas, school district earned $51,969 for the 2011-12 school year.