The first person you interact with when you get to work or school can often make or break your day, that's why Spanish Springs Elementary values their administrative secretary so much - they say Tawnya Thomas is as good as gold.

We caught up with Mrs. Thomas on campus and quickly learned that mornings at this elementary school (like so many) - are busy! From ringing phones, to visitors and parent drop-offs, even clearing folks at the secured single point entry...

All duties that fall to administrative secretary Tawnya Thomas.

Plus; "Emails, fixing attendance, we have to bring up sub information, it's just a busy day,” Tawnya adds with a warm smile.

Thomas says she wouldn't have it any other way; she loves it here - and as a Reed High graduate says Sparks has always been home; "I like this community out here. We've all, just with my kids, growing up here and we've been out here so long you know, you get to know these families out here."

Thomas began her career in education as a teacher's aide and has been in the front office at Spanish Springs Elementary for 12 years.

“I do love it here, and I enjoy being around the students and I love the staff."

That love is mutual.

2nd grade teacher Annie Pinto, says Mrs. Thomas is the heart of the school; "She's often the first person the staff sees as they enter the building, same as the parents and the students, so she kinds sets the tone, the mood of the day."

Part of campus security also falls on Tawnya's shoulders. A closed circuit surveillance system allows her to see who is seeking access; "...there's time's we don't recognize them, so I drill them a little bit."

"She has so many hats to wear, such busy days,” says Pinto, impressed with how Thomas handles it all with grace.

The good news for Spanish Springs Elementary is, Mrs. Thomas won’t retire any time soon; "I do plan on staying,”  laughs Tawnya with her signature bright smile.