It’s difficult to choose just one of AAPS’s 140 hard-working, versatile office professionals to highlight on National Administrative Professional Day.
But if you spend any time at the Preschool, it’s easy to see why Sherri Polovick is indeed exceptional at her job.
Westerman Preschool & Family Center Principal Kristin Crowe says Office Professional Sherri Polovick is dedicated to her work, and always eager to do the right thing.
“Sherri is calm and approachable no matter what situation we need help with or what question we need answered,” she says. “Her behind-the-scenes work allows our school to run smoothly.”
Sherri Polovick grew up in Mansfield, Ohio, a small city halfway between Columbus and Cleveland. She lived there until she moved to Columbus to attend The Ohio State University, when she became a lifetime Bucks fan.
After leaving OSU, she moved to metro Detroit to be closer to her two older sisters, and started working for United Airlines as a reservations agent. She married in 1992 and used her generous flight benefits to travel the world on lots of adventures with family and friends. She left United in 2004 as she became busier with parenting, and eventually found her way to AAPS through First Steps, a program for parents and their young children (birth to 5).
She left First Steps in the spring of 2017 to move to the main office at Westerman Preschool and has been there ever since.
“I enjoy working with our families and our staff of almost 80 and I miss interactions with our families in person, but I know that will change at some point in the near future when we can welcome them all back into our school,” she says. “One of my greatest joys is seeing the difference our school makes in these young lives.”
She and her husband of 30 years, Buddy, have two children, Madeleine who’s married and lives in Chicago and works for a non-profit community group, and Drew, who lives in Los Angeles and is living his dream of being a musician, producer, and writer.
The couple lives in Ann Arbor with their “goofy” dog, Scout.
In her spare time, Polovick loves listening to or reading a good book, gardening, home improvement, puzzles, music, making jewelry, bowling and tennis, and enjoying the outdoors in summer.
What don’t people realize about the work of an AAPS office professional?
We are a jack of all trades! We are supposed to know where everyone and everything is located at a moment’s notice. We know who to call when something is broken and needed fixed yesterday. We sometimes play the role of a nurse, when our current one is out of the building. We make supplies magically appear and sometimes we are an ear for listening when someone is upset. We can fix a multitude of machines such as copiers, fax machines, die cuts, laminators but not limited to door locks, broken furniture, or clocks. Through all of this, we find balance while doing this with a smile on our faces. Staff and families know they can depend on OP’s to help them or guide them to the correct place. I enjoy every aspect of this job!
What are the unique challenges you face at this job?
Finding balance! It’s doable, sometimes a little hard at the beginning and end of the school year but when you’re there, it feels like you can accomplish anything.
What do you like most about the job?
Everyday feels different and presents new challenges. It keeps you on your toes, makes the time fly by and there’s never a dull day.
What’s the funniest thing a preschooler has said to you recently?
Well, I don’t know if it was the funniest, but definitely the cutest. I asked one of our preschoolers if she had a good day and she told me with the biggest smile on her face, “I didn’t wet my pants and I didn’t cry today!”
These are huge accomplishments for our little ones and she was so proud of herself.
Do people know much about Westerman Preschool & Family Center?
I think the word is slowly getting out there. We serve birth—5 years through the First Steps program (parent & child classes); birth—3 years in the Early On Program (Early Intervention); we have classrooms for 3 & 4 year olds in the Tuition Preschool, Head Start, and Great Start Readiness program that serves Washtenaw County (not just those families living in the AAPS boundaries); and Early Childhood Special Education classrooms for 3 & 4 year olds.
What’s the best compliment anyone could give you?
That no matter how busy the office can appear, I still have a smile on my face and greet everyone cheerfully.
Any tips for other O.P.s?
Through the pandemic, the elementary OP’s started reaching out to one another for support or how to’s or just encouragement and it’s been a saving grace! Reach out to your fellow OP’s because there’s a wealth of knowledge out there.
Favorite local hangouts:
I don’t really go many places anymore due to COVID but downtown Ann Arbor in the summer is always fun or Summer Festival (Top of the Park) is also a favorite and I encourage all new families who move here to check it out. Plus the Huron River is great for canoeing and kayaking.
If you could know the definitive answer to any one question, what would that question be?
Is it going to rain? Snow? I should’ve become a meteorologist! (Although I am weather geek.)
How do you show school spirit?
I love participating in fun events, which at the Preschool level, we don’t have many due to our federal guidelines. (We don’t celebrate holidays here.) But when pajama day rolls along, I’m all in!
How do you recharge?
Spend time outside in the sun! Long walks with my dog, or getting lost in a good book.
How do you spend your summers?
Gardening, travel and home improvement projects. We have a large vegetable garden, a flower garden, and 6 blueberry bushes so I do a lot of weeding, watering, harvesting and canning or freezing by the time we return to school by mid-August.