If there’s someone who makes our day at Santa it has to be Ms Florence Christou, Executive Assistant to the Head of Primary P-4, Mrs Sharon Portlock.
Welcoming, reliable, meticulously organised, responsive and a veritable fount of wisdom, Ms Christou knows the answers to all questions. Her enjoyment of her work and admiration of her colleagues is evident every day.
‘I’m always happy to help’, is what she says and how she operates.
Walking past Prep children at playtime, they call out their hellos to her. What they probably don’t know is that Ms Christou is a trained early childhood teacher and once upon a time was a pre-school director.
On becoming the mother of three children a career modification was needed, but not a total departure from teaching. ‘The school environment suits me’, she says.
Since coming to del Monte more than 15 years ago as ‘School Secretary’ she hasn’t looked back from administrative roles and the enjoyable variety of each day. When asked what the best part of the job is, she says ‘that’s easy, hands down it’s the people I work with. There is a strong sense of community and belonging here – it’s a lovely working environment.’
As one of three administrators looking after the families and staff of our Primary Years, Ms Christou’s first achievement as Secretary was redesigning the office which 15 years ago was a thoroughfare, with visitors snaking between desks, to get from the del Monte entrance to the Chapel. Looking after the comfort of visitors and staff alike, the office and the walkway are now separated.
Four years ago Ms Christou moved upstairs to the landing to become the right-hand person to Sharon Portlock, Head of School P–5, making sure her day runs smoothly, organising her schedule and briefing her ahead of meetings.
As for Mrs Portlock, she says she is very fortunate to work closely with Ms Christou.
‘She is committed to the College and is respectful of all those she comes in contact with’, she says.
‘She plays a key role in supporting me and the decisions of the primary leadership team. Florence has a heart of gold and is a wonderful asset to have on staff.’
Building relationships and successfully interacting with parents, students and staff are key to Ms Christou’s success. She also has tips for anyone working in admin: ‘be aware of the events of the day, know what’s coming up, plan ahead’.
With her teaching background and her cool head she’s completely ‘ready for anything’ acknowledging that every day there’s a different challenge.
One of her children is a professional footballer, so Ms Christou is a dedicated ‘soccer mum’ on the weekends. She also loves reading and spending time with friends.