Longtime South Whidbey schools assistant to retire

Donna Taylor will retire from the South Whidbey School District after a career that spanned two decades as an administrative professional. She started as the high school principal’s secretary before working her way into the district office where she now reports to Assistant Superintendent of Business and Operations Dan Poolman.

In her 20 years of employment at the South Whidbey School District, Freeland resident Donna Taylor has done far more than balance the budget. She’s watched kids grow up, graduate and start families of their own.

She enjoys seeing the wedding and birth announcements for former students, most of whom knew her by name.

Taylor began working for the district in 1995 as the high school principal’s secretary. She currently works in the district office and is in charge of accounts payable and accounts receivable, reporting directly to Assistant Superintendent of Business and Operations Dan Poolman, for whom she said it has been a pleasure to work.

On June 30, Taylor will retire. She’ll bid farewell to her co-workers and trade in days spent balancing books for days spent catching up on sewing and visiting friends and family.

She plans to take a trip south to California, but she won’t be gone long, and said she “definitely” will continue to make the island her home.

And though she’ll be leaving the school district, Taylor said she intends to continue to work in education by teaching others about one of her favorite pastimes: quilting.

Like the students and fellow faculty members she’s befriended over the years, she’s accumulated quite a few pieces of fabric and is looking forward to putting them to good use.

Of the things she’ll miss about her job, Taylor said she’ll miss her co-workers the most.

“It’s such a great group of people,” she said.

“What I’ll not miss is filing hundreds of invoices each month,” she joked.

Taylor’s longtime co-worker, Superintendent Secretary Sue Terhar, said she and others will be sad to see Taylor go, but wishes her well in her retirement.

“She’s very bubbly and friendly,” said Terhar. “She is always jolly and happy.”

In addition to her kind and amicable disposition, Terhar said Taylor is extremely knowledgeable about her job.

“We could always depend on her having it done correctly,” she said. “It will be really hard to replace someone with that type of knowledge.”

Throughout the years, Taylor said she’s witnessed “subtle but very positive” changes in the district, including an increased cohesiveness among staff in each of the buildings and the district offices.

“It’s been a good 20 years,” said Taylor. “I’ll miss the positivity of creating an environment for the kids to learn.”