Personalized Parking Space Came With 20 Years Of Service At Pine Elementary

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No one at Pine Elementary has earned their own parking space -- not the principal, business manager or health director -- except for Doris Randall, the school's executive secretary,

She was awarded the exclusive parking spot 10 years ago, when she marked her 20-year anniversary with the school.

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Doris Randall has been a surrogate mother to students, and an adviser to just about everyone at Pine Elementary School in her 30 years of service.

Mike Clark, superintendent and principal at Pine Elementary, says everyone knows the person who really runs things in that neck of the woods is Randall.

"She really is the foundation of the school," said Business Manager, Mary Jo Licavoli.

"She is like a sister to me, we're all like a big family here."

Randall is celebrating her 30-year anniversary at Pine Elementary School this year.

She started at Pine Elementary in 1977, running off memos on the mimeograph machine.

For those old enough to remember the days before instant computer copiers, hand-cranked mimeograph machines were the only way to mass-produce messages and other printed material in an office back in 1977.

Randall started in the business department of Pine Elementary School working for minimum wage, which was $2.30 an hour at the time.

Since 1977, a new school has been built in Pine, minimum wage is now $6.75, copiers have replaced mimeograph machines, and Randall is the undisputed queen of Pine Elementary School.

Randall said that while a lot has changed at Pine Elementary, a lot is still the same.

"When I first got here we were in the original building," she said. "Sometimes the kids would get a note from home saying they had to come home and round up the cows that got loose."

She said that having to excuse kids to get on the horse they rode to school and go home and round up cattle like in western movies was something new to her.

"We're in the new building now, but occasionally we still have to send kids home to help with something that has come up," Randall said.

She doesn't understand what the fuss is all about.

"I'm nothing out of the ordinary, everyone here does just as much as I do," she said.

Licavoli said that is a typical response from Randall. "She isn't someone who brags on herself," she said.

Randall is known for being the "go-to" person at the school.

Maintenance and transportation supervisor Keith Howell said, "She knows every single kid and staff member here, she interacts with everyone all the time."

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The old school building in Pine where Randall started as a mimeograph copier still stands and has been turned into a museum.

"She knows just about everything there is to know about the school," Howell said.

Randall said she gets a lot of her pleasure from just being available to the kids at Pine Elementary.

"I've stayed here all these years because the kids are just wonderful," Randall said.

She has taught countless youngsters to skip rope, play hopscotch and myriad other children's games.

Randall said that is part of what makes Pine unique, being an old-fashioned, rural community with old-fashioned values.

Randall grew up in a large city before moving to the small town of Pine.

"I grew up in Tulsa, Okla., and there were lots of big schools there, and when I first came here, I thought, ‘Oh no, I'm not gonna like it,'" she said.

She said there were no shopping centers, no cultural outlets like in a big city, nothing like what she was used to in Tulsa.

Randall said she was quickly able to adapt to Pine and its surrounding communities.

She said the rodeos in Payson were something new to her.

"I had never been exposed to a rodeo before coming here," she said.

"On the side of town I lived in, in Tulsa, you didn't do rodeos."

Randall said she had always loved horses as a kid, but didn't learn to ride until moving to Pine.

She has seen thousands of kids go through the school, worked with eight principals and dozens of teachers in her 30 years with Pine Elementary.

One of the people Randall saw move up the ladder of success in Pine was former Payson Unified School District Superintendent, Sue Myers.

"She started out as a teacher here, then went on to be principal, and then went on into Payson," Randall said.

Kathe Ketchem, principal at Payson Center for Success, and who also started at Pine Elementary School as a teacher, is another of the success stories Randall has seen in her 30 years of service to the community.

"I just don't know what we would do without her, if she ever decided to retire," Clark said.

To the relief of the entire staff at Pine Elementary School, Randall said she has no plans to retire in the near future.

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