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PSRP Spotlight: Renee Lang

Renee Lang is a secretary and enrollment official at James McHenry Elementary Middle School #10, where she has worked for the past seven years.

As a secretary, what does your job look a dayto day basis?

On a daily basis, my duties are managing the front office by providing staff, visitors, stakeholders and students with the best possible customer service experience. A priority in my day is operating as the Enrollment Official, which takes up most of my day. The Enrollment Official is responsible for things like transportation services for students and being a homeless liaison for families in housing transition.

What are some challenges you face in your job?

Challenges arise when we have limited staff in the building because I must fill in for staff who are off work for the day.

How have you used your communication skills to diffuse a difficult situation?

A de-escalation example in my daily role is when a parent came into the office demanding we enroll her child. This parent was extremely irate, yelling and screaming at me. It took me about 20 minutes to verbally de-escalate the parent and give her the proper instructions for transferring her child to a new school. The end result was the parent left calm and followed the district procedures.

What are some examples of how you have helped people accomplish their goals or solve a problem?

An example of helping our school community accomplish their goals is through setting aside time to communicate with them by phone or moving them to a private location to discuss the issue. This always makes the person feel respected and important.

In addition to your job as secretary, you are also active in the union. Describe your involvement in BTU. Why is it important to you to be involved in the union?

I served as an AFT Delegate for the 2022-2024 cycle and participated in the 2022 AFT Conference in Boston, MA. In addition I serve(d) in the following BTU committees: Clerical, Organizing, and COPE. During the school year 2023-2024, I serve as my school’s PSRP Building Representative. My involvement with the union is a personal commitment because it is a second layer to employment security. When I made the decision to accept this job, I knew immediately that I would become active, because I believe the more you know, the more relationships develop, the more you engage in all avenues of your daily life, and you can make great decisions for yourself and others in your circle. In other words, you become an asset.