Staff Spotlight: Marwa Alassaadi-Secretary/Secured Entry Monitor at Park Middle School

Every week, we’ll shine a spotlight on one Lincoln Public Schools staff member! Get to know the wonderful people making a positive impact across various areas within LPS. This week, meet Marwa Alassaadi, secretary/secured entry monitor at Park Middle School.

“Marwa is always so nice and welcoming and does an amazing job. She goes above and beyond for students and her coworkers. As an itinerant teacher, I go to many buildings and the first person you interact with before walking in the building really matters. With Marwa, she is always there to lift your mood.” Holly Flanagan-Matzen, deaf and hard of hearing teacher.

In a few sentences, briefly describe your role at LPS.
As a secured entry monitor, I spend my day helping students and visitors, answering and directing phone calls to the appropriate offices. I also get the privilege to meet families and help them.

How long have you worked for LPS?
I have been working for the Lincoln Public Schools for 13 years. I started as a bilingual interpreter. Then I became a special education paraeducator for about 10 years at Lincoln Northeast, and now, I work as the SEM/secretary at Park Middle School.

What inspired you to become part of the education field at LPS?
Everything, specifically the students. It is very inspiring to work with children, not only to help and support them, but I also learn a lot from them.

What has been your favorite part of working here? What aspect of your job do you find most rewarding?
Making connections with students and families is the most fun part about working for LPS. Also, Park Middle School is such a great community. Working at Park feels like working with a family, and I'm one of the members of this family. Also, the administration team is always supportive and helpful, which makes my job a lot more fun and easy.

Did you attend LPS as a student? If so, which school(s)? If not, where are you from?
I went to Northeast High School for three years right after arriving in the U.S. from Iraq. I graduated from there, and then went back in 2011 to work as a para.

What path did you take after completing your formal education?
I went to the University of Nebraska–Lincoln and earned my bachelor's degree in chemistry.

What do you enjoy most about the Lincoln community?
When I first moved to the U.S. from Iraq, I felt lost and didn't have anybody, even though my entire family was with me, but the Lincoln community has been one of the most wonderful things that helped. It is such a peaceful and supportive community.

What is your favorite childhood book or a book that has influenced you positively?
I'm not good at reading books, but I always like to read online articles to keep up with technology. 

Share a shout out to a former teacher who impacted your life.
One of the most amazing people who had a huge impact on my life is Mrs. Ruth Lohemeyer, who was my counselor at Northeast High School. Life in general was very hard, when my family and I moved to the U.S. It felt like I was starting a whole new life, which made it even more difficult. My parents never gave up on encouraging me to continue my education, especially my father since he's an attorney and a professor at the law school in several countries such as Iraq, Libya and Jordan. I still didn't have enough courage to continue.  Yes, that's how hard my life felt  – being new in the country, not speaking good enough English even though I was attending EL class at my high school.  Everything else was complicated. 

Mrs. Lohemeyer never gave up and kept encouraging me to go to college. She helped me with all of the things she could from applying to schools to finding scholarships, in order to keep my hopes up, until I was accepted at UNL. My family and Mrs. Lohemeyer had such a great impact on my life to the point where I want to continue my education and never stop because learning is endless. Looking back at my past and the things I've done makes me feel so proud. I'm so thankful to the people in my life who helped me continue. 

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Published: January 5, 2024, Updated: January 10, 2024

Marwa Alassaadi—Secretary/Secured Entry Monitor at Park Middle School