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After 25 years in the district, Colton High School Administrative Assistant Debbie Anderson retires

PMG PHOTO: CINDY FAMA - 'Debbie Anderson is certainly one of those rare gems who will be sorely missed.' -Allan BrunerAfter 25 years with the Colton School District, Debbie Anderson officially retired Friday, June 25.

"There are many who have served the Colton School District selflessly over the years. Debbie Anderson is certainly one of those rare gems who will be sorely missed and fondly remembered," said longtime Colton High School teacher Allan Bruner.

Over the years, Anderson held several positions within the district including educational assistant, special education secretary, attendance secretary, athletic director secretary, assistant track coach and for the last nine years, the administrative assistant at CHS.

When asked to reminisce about her years at the high school Anderson said, "I don't have one memorable moment. Not all have been happy moments. I remember losing staff members, students, and former students who I loved and have impacted my life. Good memories are graduation every year and seeing the students walk across the stage to get their diploma. Some of them I had their parents as students when I was an EA, or I went to school with their parents here in Colton."

Bruner indicated that Anderson's shoes will not be easy to fill.

"The running joke, and the very reality, is that Debbie runs the office," Bruner said in an email. "Debbie is the 'go-to' person who knows what to say, which file to pull, which staff member to chat with, and generally keeps (er…kept) the place running well and without too many hiccups. I have never seen her flustered or upset, despite the pressures associated with the role."

According to Bruner, Anderson wrote the job description for new applicants applying for her position, and there are more than 104 specific duties that were a part of her job.

"The office, the principal, the staff and students will all miss Debbie's presence in the building," Bruner said. "She always brightened up the office during the winter with snowflakes put up all over the office and a sign that stated, 'Think Snow!' Her final day of the school year send-off was playing Pink Floyd's School's Out for Summer' at 4:07 p.m."

Other staff members, including CSD Superintendent Koreen Barreras-Brown, had thoughtful parting words to say about Anderson.

"Debbie is the heart of the Colton High School," Barreras-Brown said. "Everyone will miss her positive nature and ability to comfort with kindness. We are extremely grateful for her many years of service to our students, families and staff."

CHS Principal Grant Hayball reiterated that Debbie was the identity of the school, emphasizing that she was dedicated to the school, staff, students and community. He said she was not just efficient and effective but also embodied school spirit and kept the school flowing.

"She is one of a kind and I sure will miss her," Hayball said.

PMG PHOTO: CINDY FAMA - The last interview with Debbie Anderson had to be done through a window as only essential workers are allowed into schools. Debbie made it fun.

Anderson and her family moved to Colton when she was 2 years old. She grew up on Hult Road with her parents and five siblings. She was a Colton student for all 12 years of her schooling. She said that was back when all classes were held at the high school site, which means that school has been her home away from home for most of her life. Also, Anderson's mother, Betty Nolz, worked for 15 years as the Colton Middle School secretary.

"My two children attended all 13 years at Colton schools," Anderson said. "My husband's parents both graduated from Colton as well. I have been married to my husband, Don, for 30 years. Our son David lives in Colton and works at Clyde's and our daughter, Melissa Hartrampf, lives in Colton and carries on the tradition of working for the Colton School District."

Anderson said her plans include spending more time on projects around the house and more time with her husband.

Her final thoughts as she stood in her office one last time were, "Colton is a great place to live. We have great schools and community. We should all appreciate that. And to the students, 'Be Safe' and 'Drive Carefully.'"

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