Cris Rollins


TBCCRollinsA Conversation with Chris Rollins, Secretary to the Principal,
Valley Elementary School, Poway United School District, Poway, California

The Breakthrough Coach: Please tell us about your professional background.

Chris Rollins: I started working for a mortgage servicing firm as a secretary, then as an office manager and processor for foreclosures. Eventually, I became a title officer, supervising 3 or 4 people, and I had my own secretary. I strengthened my supervisory skills and my ability to assign and manage the completion of multiple tasks. I left after 5 years to spend time with my children.

TBC: What brought you to this job & how long have you been there?

C.R.: I stayed at home for about 8 years, then took a job as a secretary here at Valley Elementary because that’s where my children attended school. I’ve been here for 10 years.

TBC: What was the situation in the office when you began working at the school?

C.R.: We were an island. There was a total lack of communication and camaraderie. The principal controlled everything. I felt as though I was the principal’s “legs”, just going from errand to errand with no opportunity to use the skills I had developed. When Dr. Johnsen took over the principalship 8 years ago, it was like night and day. He had already been trained in the TBC Methodology, and we had complete communication from the beginning.

TBC: When did you begin working w/TBC?

C.R.: Dr. Johnsen brought the TBC Methodology to Valley when he arrived. I attended the 2-Day Program during his 2nd year; it was a refresher for him and an introduction for me. We went back again for “mini-refreshers”, and each time we have been able to expand our implementation of the full Methodology.

TBC: How did the initial implementation of TBC’s methodology go?

C.R.: It was really smooth between Dr. Johnsen and me. He was very up front with the staff, empowering me and making it clear that I had his ongoing and complete support. It took me a little while to get used to handling Dr. Johnsen’s calendar and e-mails, but once we began the process of daily meetings that are part of the Methodology, that became routine.

The staff was initially a little uncomfortable with my more formalized position, but Dr. Johnsen’s support helped us manage that transition.

TBC: How have things changed for you and your colleagues?

C.R.: Things are going very smoothly now. Dr. Johnsen has 2-3 coaching days each week, and that allows him to be in regular communication with the staff. I now manage 3 other employees: the Health Technician, an Office Assistant, and the Parent Liaison person.

TBC: Has your official job description changed? How?

C.R.: No, the actual job description hasn’t changed, but the job has. For example, the job description mentions “duties assigned as necessary”. That phrase has always been there, but now it’s really meaningful.

TBC: How do your measure your success?

C.R.: My over-all job satisfaction is really high. Both Dr. Johnsen and I walk out of the door every day at 4:00 PM. I have a finite work day and a feeling of accomplishment. I also have more interaction with the children than I had before, and I love that. The TBC Methodology has allowed me to make really good use of the management and supervisory skills I brought to this job.

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