With an office full of family photos and holiday cards from the many Lakewood City Schools employees whose lives she has touched, it was only a matter of time before Human Resources Specialist Fran Hanrahan was chosen as a Staff Spotlight honoree.
The baby photos on her bulletin board are born of the bond she builds with the many employees she works with to facilitate a leave of absence, one of the her myriad HR responsibilities. She also aids in job recruitment, screens the many applications and resumes that the District receives, and coordinates the interview process. She does all of this with kindness, humor and positivity.
Says nominator and Harding intervention specialist Nicole Boguszewski: “Fran always has a smile on her face and is so uplifting.” LHS math teacher John Burgess added that Fran is “always helpful, always kind.”
Being helpful to teachers and other staff members has been an important goal of Fran’s during her nearly 19 years with the District: “If I can help them, then they have more time to support students, which makes me feel I am making a difference in a child’s life,” said Fran. She holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s in educational administration.
Although Fran’s official title is Human Resources Specialist, many employees see her as “The Answer Lady.”
“Whenever I call her, she always has what I need or lets me know where to get my answer. I always appreciate her and know I can count on her guidance,” said Lakewood High teacher Carrie Sullivan.
Fran counts herself fortunate to be able to be there for her colleagues and to become more than just a co-worker. “How lucky am I that I have been able to develop relationships to the point they want to share their family photos with me,” Fran said. Those photos are the inspiration for who John Burgess called “the best ambassador for Lakewood City Schools.”
Harrison Elementary English Learners teacher Tiffany Hickey has always approached teaching with a “whole child” philosophy. Recently, however, she has taken that approach to a new level as her work outside the classroom has been as impactful as her work inside the classroom. Her efforts have led Tiffany to be named one of our October Staff Spotlight nominees.
Harrison principal Sabrina Crawford said Tiffany “consistently strives to implement different experiences into the lives of students that help to develop the whole child.”
This past spring and summer, with some help from the Lakewood baseball community, she paved the way for the Harrison EL students in 2nd and 3rd grade to have their own summer baseball team through the Lakewood Recreation Department. Once she conquered the challenging logistics due to language barriers of ensuring students had physicals, she saw the team flourish as the students developed new skills and stayed engaged with the community through the summer months.
The baseball team was not the only community endeavor Tiffany, who joined the District in 2002, has taken on. She also founded the Harrison Garden Club. The club, comprised of 3rd graders, built a community garden on Harrison grounds that has provided the Harrison staff and students and the surrounding Birdtown neighborhood with fresh produce. She saw the garden as a good fit for her students from other countries because many of them come from agricultural backgrounds.
Principal Crawford praised Tiffany for how her projects involve other organizations within the community such as LakewoodAlive and the Rec’s Camp Can Do, both of which helped maintain the garden over the summer.
Teaching English Learners, which Tiffany began four years ago, has been a satisfying challenge for her after teaching various grades at various buildings in the District. It has also brought her full circle as even as a teenager, she was teaching newcomers how to speak English, only then it was to her Japanese neighbors’ children.
After moving through three other buildings before landing at Harrison, she is hoping she has found a home. “I love how the school is part of the community,” says the woman who has helped make it so.