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South Kitsap High School coordinator honored for work with many

She acknowledges that she easily gets bored.

At least that is not an issue at work for South Kitsap office coordinator Rosa Buss, who works with 22 different secretaries around the high school.

But Buss, who recently was recognized as Olympic Educational Service District’s Regional Classified Employee of the Year, does not limit her participation there.

She serves on the school’s administrative team, cabinet, disappearing task force, district leadership support team and the parent advisory team. In addition, Buss is involved Peer Assistance Leadership and adopted three families during the holiday season and raised more than $1,000 in gift cards to assist them.

Buss said the ability to work with children was the catalyst behind her transition to the high school four years ago after transferring from the South Kitsap School District office.

She said her passion for working with at-risk youth stems from her own childhood in “a poverty-stricken-type family.” Buss said that presented challenges, but she overcame them and wants others to do the same. She has worked with a senior at the high school that has grown up through the foster-care system. Buss said her childhood experiences have been valuable in relating to that student, who was quoted in Buss’ OESD nomination.

“(She helped me) to achieve, get good grades, enroll in college, deal with peer pressure and deal with family issues as a foster child,” he said.

Buss was nominated to OESD, which encompasses 15 school districts on the peninsula, by her supervisor, South principal Jerry Holsten.

“The recognition was a huge honor, especially to get it from your boss,” Buss said.

Holsten praised her ability to collaborate with others within one of the state’s largest high schools. South features more than 2,300 students and 220 staff members.

“What stood out was her work ethic and desire to do the right thing,” he said. “She has helped us make strides throughout the year in customer service.”

Buss, 42, who is married with 21- and 16-year-old daughters, said she tries to think through that prism of being a parent when evaluating the school. Buss relocated in 2007 from California, where she was a customer service training instructor with San Diego City College. She felt that like the process of enrolling students could be expedited for those new to the district by adding the ability to enroll children online.

“I don’t like to wait as a parent,” Buss said. “This is great for students coming from out of state.”

Her role is much different than she anticipated after moving from California. At the time, Buss thought she would complete her bachelor’s degree in human services — she remains nine elective credits short — but she quickly became bored. Couple that with the people she met around the community and her temptation to become involved was too difficult to resist.

“Coming from California, we never would have the camaraderie that we have here,” said Buss, adding that the different departments at South work well together. “Paying it forward always is the best way to go.”

This marks the second consecutive year an SKSD employee has been honored as OESD’s Classified Employee of the Year. Executive Assistant to Superintendent Patti Anderson was recognized in 2011.

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