By Jo Mathis/AAPS District News
Clague Middle School’s main office is the weekday domain of Laura Hannaford, who is described by Principal Jason Skiba as “a go-to on everything.”
“If there is something that happens in the Clague community, Laura knows the ins and outs,” says Skiba.” “She knows who to talk to and how to keep things running smoothly so that students and staff can focus on their curriculum and academics. She is the glue that helps keep the place together.”
Laura Hannaford was born and raised in Ann Arbor, and attended Angell Elementary, Tappan Junior High, and Huron High School. She has three sisters, all of whom still live in Ann Arbor, and a brother, who lives near Washington, D.J.
Hannaford was the teacher clerk at Thurston Elementary for seven and a half years before she came to Clague, where she has worked for 13 years this month.
“I wasn’t sure how working with middle school students would be,” she says. “Then I realized when the
students aren’t yours, it is easier to appreciate middle school behavior for what it is.”
Hannaford and her husband, Mark, have three children who attended Thurston, Clague and
Huron. She says the family’s golden retriever, Oliver, is more of a lap dog than a guard dog
and their cat, Persephone, is “the goddess of the underworld.”
What’s unique about working at Clague?
What makes Clague special are the people: our community of parents, students, and staff, being respectful, responsible, safe, and caring; and working together to help our students learn, grow and have fun.
What are some of your best memories of your job at Clague so far?
Easiest question ever. Every Washington, D.C. trip! The opportunity to spend time, learn, laugh, have experiences together with eighth graders is a gift. I will remember those students and their times in DC forever. I feel very fortunate to have had those opportunities.
Can you describe an average workday?
There really isn’t one. You can count on the phone ringing, the front door buzzing, and questions. After that, anything is possible. In the main office, you are everything – telephone operator, air traffic controller, nurse, smiling face, police officer, social worker. Like a chameleon, you adapt to your environment.
What’s the best part of the workday?
I’m always relieved when we get through lunch. It seems to quiet down after that.
What will you always remember about last school year?
Last year felt like a very different job. Students are the job, so without them, staff and parents, the job was entirely different. Interesting that it could be so busy and lonely at the same time.
How is this year going so far?
This year is chaotic. We are all trying to figure it out together: families, staff, and our community. Having students in the building makes a huge difference. It is so good to see them. They have so much energy!
Do you have a secret talent?
Enjoying middle school students so much. That’s a talent I didn’t know I had!
How do you spend your summers?
As much of the summer as possible is spent in Northern Michigan. Being by the water, walking the dog, family, and friends, and of course, reading as much as possible. When I can, I love to be outside (any time of year), read a book, and laugh with friends and family.