When Linda Milan leaves Woodstock Elementary School for the last time June 29, it will be with 44 years of service to Virginia Beach City Public Schools (VBCPS). The school administrative associate works as the school’s bookkeeper, a perfect fit for her love of math. Numbers may be preferable to the angry callers with whom she spoke on inclement weather days as the School Administration Building’s front desk receptionist for 11 years. “One day during the snow, a lady called me every 10 minutes because she wanted schools to close. Sometimes people get really upset during bad weather,” said Milan in a 1986 article for “The Catalyst,” the division’s employee newsletter at that time.
Milan still has a copy of the article as well as many fond memories of her four decades working for VBCPS. We asked Milan to discuss her career and plans for retirement.
“The first year I worked for the school division, in 1972, I was actually a student. It wasn’t full time. There was a program called COE and you were in school half the day and then you would go to work. So I worked in Student Support Services that first year as a student at Princess Anne High School. Then, in 1973, I was hired full time with Human Resources as a secretary to a personnel assistant for hiring classified employees. From there, I went to be the receptionist of the School Administration Building. I was the receptionist there for 11 years at the front desk. I was actually the first person who worked in the building [at 2512 George Mason Drive] because I did the mailroom, too. I delivered the mail. I took the mail from the new building back and forth to the old building for a few months until everyone moved in. Jean Wallace, from Reprographics, and I were first ones who worked there. Then I came to Woodstock. I’ve been here since 1990, so that’s 27 years. We were in the old building; then we moved to Kemps Landing for a year and then we moved into this building. At the time, they were letting the school bookkeepers order everything. So everything that went into this building, I ordered. It was a big budget. It was a lot of work.”
What have you liked about your work?
“I love bookkeeping. I love math. I just like math and numbers and making sure they’re correct. I like data and keeping track of what we need to order for the entire year. I think about what the teachers are going to need so I know to save that much money for next year. And, I’ve worked with a lot of amazing people but my favorite, I would have to say, was working with Dr. Brickell. He was my absolute favorite. When he would speak, it would just give you goosebumps. With me being the receptionist in the School Administration Building, we spent some time together. Like on snow days, I would work and he would work. Sometimes he would just come up to the front desk, sit with me and listen to the phone calls. There were always many phone calls on snow days. He would always say, ‘I’m wrong no matter which way I decide because I have people mad at me if I close it and I have people mad at me if I keep it open.’ If his secretary was out, I would go and sub in his office. He was an amazing person. And, there was a former Woodstock principal, too, Greg Furlich. It was amazing to work with him. We had the same work ethic. He came in early and I’d come in early, and we both knew that was our quiet time. He would play his jazz music real low and I didn’t bother him and he didn’t bother me.”
What are your plans for retirement?
“My dad needs some help. I help him now as much as I can, so I’ll be helping him more. My son is a lead flight attendant on an airline, so I can fly with him for free. I plan on getting on his plane whenever it flies into Norfolk. I love Las Vegas! But, on my bucket list, I want to see Mesa Verde. I really want to go there. The Four Corners is close by and I’d love to do that someday. The Northern Lights, I would love to see that. I’m also going to spend time with my grandchildren. They are the light and love of my life. Fortunately, they live right across the street from me. I look forward so much to spending more time with them, especially during the summer because I don’t know what that’s like. I started working full time the day after I graduated high school so I never had a summer off.”
Welcome to summer full time, Linda, where there aren’t any calls about snow days.
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