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Shelley Fischer on 30+ Years Serving the Dublin Unified School District and Retirement

October 24, 2016

DUBLIN, CA–We recently sat down with Shelley Fischer, who has been with the Dublin Unified School District for more than 30 years and has served in a number of capacities with the district. Shelley was initially an Instructional Aide in Special Education at Dublin High School before moving on to a string of office positions including Attendance Secretary, Counseling Secretary/Registrar, Principal’s Secretary, and Human Resources Specialist before landing at her final destination, Administrative Assistant to the Superintendent.

Shelley’s contributions to the district have resulted in countless recognitions and awards over the years, including the District Recognition Award both as Classified and Leadership, the Community Super Star Award from Rotary, and ACSA Administrator of the Year. Shelley even found time to be the CSEA President for Chapter 439.

shelley-fischer-dusd Talk about your very first day on the job at the Dublin Unified School District?

Shelly Fischer: “I started as an Instructional Assistant in the Special Education Department at Dublin High School. On my very first day I started working one-on-one with a student and thought ‘here I go, I can do this.'” And tell me about your first day as an Assistant to the Superintendent.

Fischer: “I started in that position a couple of years after coming to the District Office. I was in HR for a couple of years first and was then hired by Dr. Stephen Hanke. I assumed there was a lot about the job I didn’t know and that it was good I’d spent a couple of years in HR, otherwise I don’t think I would have been prepared. Stephen was a brand new superintendent so he had a lot to learn too. We learned together.” Since you’ve joined a lot has changed in Dublin and the Dublin Unified School District. What has changed that you are most excited about, and what has remained the same that shouldn’t change?

Fischer: “The biggest change for me has been the growth at Dublin High School. I started in Dublin in 1985 when the school had 756 kids, and we had declining enrollment. Dublin High School at that time was part of the Amador Joint Union High School District, pre-unification. Watching the growth at Dublin High over the years has been amazing, and watching the campus change into what looks like a college campus has been the most rewarding.

“The thing that’s stayed the same is how Dublin has maintained a small town, community mentality, despite the growth. Amador was a bigger district and it didn’t have the same feel as we have here in Dublin.” Educators are both cherished and criticized. Over the years what criticism of educators has most frustrated you, that is most unfair?

Fischer: “I think the belief that teachers get the entire summer off is the most unfair. I have several close friends who are teachers, who put in hours of their own time in professional development and taking classes to stay current, and this is the part people don’t see. It’s frustrating that teachers don’t get credit for the time they spend outside of the classroom improving their skills.” If you could go back in time to one moment or event during your time at DUSD what would that be?

Fischer: “It would probably be 25 years ago this Friday. I was the Grand Marshall for the Dublin High School Homecoming. That was a really fun and exciting time for me. It started with being named Employee of the Month at the high school, and then the kids voting me Grand Marshall. I was honored!” As the Administrative Assistant to the Superintendent you act as a key representative of the District. What advice do you have for other men and women in this role?

Fischer: “My advice is to take your read from the District. In other words, there’s a compass in the Superintendent’s Office and you need to find that balance between being professional and being empathetic. A lot of what you deal with in that office is people wanting to get directly to the Superintendent because of a situation or issue. Being able to help people navigate to where they need to be is important.

“You need to have a lot of tact which is difficult sometimes because you are under a lot of pressure. It’s sometimes tempting to give the quick answer which is usually not the answer that will satisfy the person in front of you.” What accomplishment while working for DUSD are you most proud of?

Fischer: “I’ve loved everything I’ve been able to do during my time here so it’s hard to choose one thing. As a team, and especially during the last ten years with Dr. Hanke, we were really able to establish and engrain the importance of having a strategic plan for the District. I’m really proud of how the strategic planning process has survived the test of time.” What makes Dublin so special that you’d spend over 30 years supporting this District?

Fischer: “I’ve always loved Dublin. I’m a San Ramon resident and my daughter growing up had a lot of friends in Dublin because of the Tri-Valley groups she was part of at Cal High. Dublin has a unique community feel, even though it wasn’t recognized back then in the same was as it is now. Dublin has always been a place to come home to every day for work. Work has never been a chore.” What do you plan to tackle first on your post-retirement bucket list?

Fischer: “We’ve recently purchased a cabin in Tahoe so at the top of the list is to get through the remodeling so that we can really enjoy our cabin! I also want to reconnect with friends who have been retired (and have been encouraging me to join them). I’m also looking forward to traveling again!”


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