A Day in My Shoes – Clerical Services 

Gail Kablau – Logistics, Activities & Athletics Secretary, School District of South Milwaukee

I have worked in the School District of South Milwaukee for 20-years, and have seen a lot of changes. My position has become more of a “Jack of all Trades” over the years with a wide variety of tasks. So, hang on to your hat as I take you through the whirlwind that is my daily work life.

My day starts at 6:45 a.m. setting up for all of the substitute teachers, aides & secretaries for the South Milwaukee Middle & High School for that day. This requires putting together the Daily Absence Log, coordinating with the Middle School Administrative Secretary and Middle & High School administrators, to make  sure all classrooms, offices, and supervisions are covered by the start of the school day at 7:30 a.m. If we don’t have enough substitutes for the day, then I have to take additional time to call teachers to cover for those who are absent for each class period of the day. I wonder why they don’t answer the phone when they see I’m calling??? That can sometimes be tricky, especially if they have planning time department meetings, or conflicting class schedules that don’t line up. Sometimes at the Middle School we have to split classes in half. Not the greatest for the kids, but often necessary.

Once substitutes are set up, and sometimes simultaneously if I am looking for hourly coverage, my focus then moves to reading through emails and listening to voicemails and responding appropriately to each of them, or making note of which things can wait until later or require more investigation before following up.

Now, it’s time to check in with the Athletic Director to coordinate activity & athletic related tasks for the day. Depending on the day, and the time of year, really drives what needs to be done that day. If it’s the beginning of a season (Fall, Winter, Spring), I may need to communicate with each of the coaches so they know which students completed all of the necessary paperwork to begin their sport. Or, we might need to request officials checks for the season for each home game. Coaching contracts need to be distributed and collected and sent to the business office, and background checks need to be done for all volunteers working with each individual sport. It also means depositing all of the athletic fees turned in, and any event fees from other schools, in addition to setting up my own check requests for events at other schools.

If it’s game day, then I need to make sure and get the roster from the visiting team and set up the programs. If our teams are away, then I need to make sure the other schools get our rosters for their program.

If it’s a dance week (Homecoming, Winter Formal, Prom, etc.) then I have to sell tickets during the lunch hours and after school for three days. Long days for me, as I don’t typically get a lunch break.

In the spring, I am busy setting up revisions for next year’s Middle School and High School student handbooks that have to be approved by the School Board, setting up the Middle School handbook for print, and getting the both of the website versions of both handbooks set up with all of the proper links.

And summers, well – I’m a 12-month secretary, so there is no rest for the weary. I need to set up the next year’s registration mailing that goes home, and coordinate the physical registration days in August. All of the school year’s calendars have to be set up for the next school year, including special bell schedules, annual event dates, etc. These also have to be entered into a facility scheduler website for the entire school year. Staff Directories have to be updated, distributed electronically to all staff, and changed on website and in the substitute website. Never a dull moment.

At some point during each day, I need to go through all of the request forms to see if I need to follow-up on requests for field trips, school van reservations, field trip and athletic bus requests, facility use requests for the Middle & High school, and fundraising requests.

In the middle of everything, I need to keep checking my emails and voicemails, in case something urgent comes up. They never seem to stop coming. And, of course, there are the many interruptions by students, parents, teachers, colleagues, and community members calling in or stopping by who need athletic forms, have questions, voice concerns, collaborate on projects, or just want to talk.

Another daily task is follow-up on any necessary communication. I am responsible for making sure that the outdoor electronic sign is up-to-date with Middle School & High School events, all website pages for the High school have current events listed, and all links are working, any upcoming special schedules are sent out to staff (and the bells are changed for said special schedules), and the parent newsletter articles and school District annual notices are being entered for the end of the week email home.

At the end of each day, I have to verify that all of the absences for the day have the right reason and account codes for payroll purposes for the entire school district, and enter all hourly substitutes so they get paid for substituting at the Middle School and the High School. Then, I set up the substitute list for the next day, pending any overnight call-ins, so I’m as ready as I can be for the beginning of the next day’s substitutes – where it starts all over again. My school day is scheduled to end at 3:30 p.m. It’s usually more like 3:50 p.m. or later before I’m actually walking out of the door. Every day the Athletic Director asks me what time I am leaving, and laughs when I tell him my plan is to leave at 3:30pm.  HA!

While there may be many other tasks thrown my way during any given day, these are just some of the basic tasks that happen while I am doing other project work for the MIddle & High School administrators. Oh, and did I mention that there are many interruptions throughout the day, and more emails and voicemails to follow-up on? Seriously, they just keep coming and coming and coming…..

That’s a day in my shoes.


  • WEAC State Board Education Support Professional (ESP)-at Large Representative
  • WEAC Region 7 Board Treasurer
  • South Milwaukee Education Association-Clerical Unit President