LPS's Morehouse elected to top spot of national organization

Lisa Morehouse has been elected as president-elect of the National Association of Educational Office Professionals (NAEOP). She has been a member since 1996 and has previously served on the board of directors as administrative council chairman, area director, and is currently serving as vice president. She will be installed as president-elect this July, and as president in July of 2017.

1 - What made you interested in being the president of the NAEOP?

I have always had a passion for personal and professional growth, which I believe was started as a child spending time with a dad who is a lifelong learner. I believe it is my responsibility to continue to grow and to improve myself. This belief is coupled with a strong desire to help others in this same endeavor of attaining opportunities for growth.

Although I received my Bachelors in Elementary Education from Nebraska Wesleyan in 1981, I ended up taking a different career path into the world of retail management. Eventually I found my way back into education in 1992 when I began my career with LPS in the Purchasing department. At that time, I also became a member of the Lincoln Public Schools Association of Office Professionals (LPSAOP).

Through LPSAOP and the Nebraska Educational Office Professionals Association (NEOPA), I was introduced to many opportunities to develop myself professionally. I served in multiple positions on the local and state board of directors, eventually serving as President in both associations.

In 1996 I attended my first national conference in Chicago where I saw how networking, leadership skills and professional development can change an office professional. I remember listening to the national President emphasize the importance of continuing our education and pursing professional growth. This conference reignited my desire to encourage and assist other office professionals with their professional growth. This is also where my desire to become national president started.

2 - What kind of impact does this group have on you and how does that benefit LPS?

I believe there are two areas the association impacts our office professionals and the district. First; the opportunity to be involved and start networking within LPS; getting to know other office professionals in similar positions opens communication lines. This enables a new office professional to reach out to a veteran office professional as they settle into their job. I have seen how networking within our district leads to improved leadership skills. Many times this leads to career growth for the individual. The district benefits from having experienced office professionals on staff.  My own involvement allowed me growth with LPS as I attained the skills and confidence to pursue positions with more responsibility moving from a Secretary II in Purchasing to a Secretary IV/Office Manager in Human Resources.

The second area that has a major impact on LPS office professionals stems from participation in the NAEOP Professional Standards Program (PSP).

This nationally recognized program provides the opportunity for members to enhance their professional growth and competencies through academic programs, conferences and institutes. After receiving my Bachelors, CEOE, PSP certification, I became the PSP Director for LPSAOP and have been actively involved in promoting the PSP program for LPS office professionals since 1999. I was also appointed to serve as the national PSP Director for two years.  I strongly believe the continuing education of our educational office professionals is essential to aid them in adapting to the rapidly changing world in which we work.

Lincoln Public Schools recognizes the strength and benefits of the PSP program and supports our office professionals in this endeavor by offering staff development, academic opportunities, and PSP stipends based on the certification level they achieve. We currently have approximately 85 LPS office professionals that have received PSP certification and approximately 20 additional members working towards certification. This means LPS has over one third of our office professionals continuing their professional development.

3 - What issues or projects is the group working on to help its members?

In addition to continue to offer conferences and workshops for education credit and professional development at the local, state and national levels, our members also work to provide funds for a variety of student scholarships. Our local association, LPSAOP, gives an annual $1,300 scholarship to an LPS student pursing higher education. We have awarded such scholarships to LPS students for over 30 years.

4 - How has the role of office professionals changed over the last few decades, and what do you foresee for the future roles?

The many changes in our world over the past two decades have caused a ripple effect into the role of the educational office professional. From terminology and technology, from our responses to our attitudes, we are constantly changing. When I started in Purchasing 23 years ago, we were called secretaries. Now we are office professionals and administrative assistants. At that time, secretaries did most of the typing for the administrators. Now the administrators tend to do much of it on their own. We relied heavily on the typewriter and the fax machine; now we use computers and scanners. In the schools we still continue to answer the phone and direct traffic but now we tend to have a wider set of roles, touching a little bit on nurse, counselor and computer tech. Another positive and exciting change has been with the culture and diversity in our schools.  

As I peer into the future, I see a strong need for the office professional to continue to develop themselves professionally through staff development, workshops and conferences. Technology is going to continue to change, new policies and programs are going to continue to be implemented on a regular basis.  The office professional needs to recognize this and continue to grow in order to support their administrators and staff. And more importantly, to be able to give our students and families the best skills and services we are capable of.

Published: April 4, 2016, Updated: April 6, 2016

Lisa Morehouse