From snapping photos to handling lunch duty, Laura Hauser is always there
By B.C. Manion
On paper, she’s called the media and technology assistant.
In real life, though, the role that Laura Hauser plays at Wesley Chapel Elementary School is much broader than her title implies.
Just ask her colleagues, or her boss.
They will happily go on and on about the indispensable role Hauser plays at the Wells Road school.
She’s the campus photographer. She handles lunch duty. She checks out books, shelves books and handles other duties in the media center. She puts together the school’s yearbook. She has a photography club for students. She helps teachers with technical issues.
The list goes on and on, and on.
When someone asks Hauser to do something, she figures out a way to get it done, said Principal John Abernathy. “Now, more than ever, people have to multi-task. We have half the resources we had in here last year and that burden has to fall on somebody. A lot of times it falls on Laura.”
Hauser is the ultimate team player, said Christina Twardosz, the school’s assistant principal.
“She does so much for our school. She is always willing to help out – whenever we need her, whatever, even if it is spontaneous.”
Both administrators said they’re gratified that Hauser’s contributions have won her the district title of School-Related Personnel of the Year.
The award goes to a non-instructional employee who has achieved outstanding performance in Pasco County public schools. Hauser will be considered for a statewide award in the same category.
Abernathy thinks Hauser is a worthy candidate for statewide recognition.
“Laura (Hauser) is hands-down the most reliable, the most efficient, the most dependable, the most sincere person that I can say that I’ve run across in a really long time,” Abernathy said.
“In terms of the lives that I would say that Laura has touched – I couldn’t even put a number to it. She’s a very passionate person herself and I think she brings that passion to everything she does. It’s who she is.”
Hauser said she enjoys being a team player. “I think you have to be, with the way budgets are these days,” she added.
Judy Norris, the school’s media specialist, divides her time between Wesley Chapel and Quail Hollow elementary schools. Hauser helps to check out and shelve books in the morning, and takes over the library duties in the afternoon when Norris is away.
Hauser also fills in for Brandon Maldonado, the school’s instructional technology specialist. He divides his time between Wesley Chapel and Watergrass elementary schools.
When he’s gone, Hauser helps teachers with technical issues and helps to make sure that laptops are available for those needing them.
Beth Nichols, the school’s literacy coach, said she turns to Hauser for technical help when Maldonado is away at Watergrass. “We do a lot of online testing and with that, comes a lot of technical support which Laura can provide. She’s essential to what we do.”
Amanda Novotny, a teacher of gifted children at the school, is amazed by Hauser’s energy and commitment – particularly because the media technology assistant has battled with colon cancer while working at the elementary school.
“I do not personally know of many people who can start their morning off at Moffitt Cancer Center being hooked up to a portable chemotherapy machine and head to work at an elementary school,” Novotny wrote in a letter, recommending Hauser for the award.
Hearing her name announced as the district award winner was a thrill, Hauser said.
“I was excited,” she said, adding that it’s been a big year for her family because her husband, Richard, a Hillsborough County firefighter, was named the Chet Tharpe Firefighter of the Year by the Hillsborough County Commission. That award recognizes a firefighter whose service goes above and beyond the call of duty.
Hauser and her husband live in Wesley Chapel, and their two children, Noah, 10, and Tatum, 8, attend Wesley Chapel Elementary.
One of the reasons she is pleased to win the award is because it reflects well on the school where she works, Hauser said.
“I’m honored to not only represent our school, but our county,” Hauser said.