Teri Wells – 30 Year Milestone
Administrative Assistant, Facilities
“How long is the longest-term employee that Springbrook has ever had?” asked 30-Year Milestone Employee, Teri Wells, during her interview. “Maybe I can get to that Milestone,” she mused in response to her own question (with a playful grin on her face). Teri’s question says plenty about her—about her commitment to Springbrook and the many people whom she has supported in her 30 years with the organization.
A thorough, prompt, and by the book (or, “by the policy”) person, Teri’s comprehensive and detailed approach to her work make her the ideal fit as the Administrative Assistant for Springbrook’s exceptional (and exceptionally complicated) Facilities Department. “I have a…mouth. I speak my mind,” she says about herself. “I have the benefit of coming from a direct care background, so I always ask why. Why is this project or task important to the people we support? And, I always explain why. Because if you can make that connection—understand the why—then you’ll happily patch a hole, repair a sink, or clean a floor a thousand times.”
Teri has a deep understanding of the “why” at Springbrook—having served in various direct support and office roles. She began her career as a Child Development Aide, working across multiple units (at the time students lived in dormitory-style “units” within what is now the main school building). She remained in the education setting for many years, substituting in various classrooms, serving as a Physical Therapy Aide, a Classroom Assistant, and an Adaptive Physical Education TA. She moved to “back office” work when she was asked to take on the role of Administrative Assistant for the Education department. It was her role in Education that then lead her to Springbrook’s “new” IT department. And, from IT, she was then asked to become the Office Coordinator (now Administrative Assistant) for the rapidly growing Facilities Department. She has been with Facilities since that transition in 2004.
Given her years and scope of experience, it isn’t hard to understand why her team looks to her for knowledge and support. “My time at Springbrook has made me feel like I am valued and needed. I have felt that my knowledge is valued and respected—that I have a commitment from the organization. I’ve had five supervisors and all of them looked to me for support.”
In her time at Springbrook, Teri has crafted a career that has benefited from and fostered her nurturing personality. “When I graduated from high school (while in high school Teri attended BOCES programs in Child Development and Nursing), I really didn’t know what I wanted to do. My aunt worked here and told me to come, get a job, earn some income, and think about what I wanted to do. I thought this was only temporary. Then, this became my place.” While working in direct support, Teri was able to complete her Teachers Assistant Certificate and has even earned her CDL. This willingness to look within Springbrook for new opportunities is at the center of her advice for new employees.
“If you have a question, ask. Do not ever assume. If you don’t ask, you can’t be led in a great direction. Saying, I didn’t know, is never a reason to leave. Be honest. Get your questions answered. Remember that you are here for the people we support, to advocate for them and encourage them. And, if you don’t know what you want to do, or if you are in the right place, explore. See if something else—a different house, a new role, a different department—clicks. There are opportunities you may not even be aware of.”
When she’s not keeping the Facilities Department humming, or giving great advice, you’ll find Teri spending time with her animals—five dogs and a cat, to be exact. Teri got a brand new puppy at home just for the fun and experience of training it and her love for animals. “I also make a rule on the weekends to have two or three hours to myself—to watch a movie, take a nap. It is my time!” she shared.
Congratulations, Teri, on your 30-Year Milestone. You certainly deserve your weekend me-time! And, just in case you were wondering, 43 years is the longest run for a Springbrook employee. We hope you decide to dedicate 13 years more to Springbrook in pursuit of that Milestone.