Tracey Pankow, the principal's secretary at Harrison Street School, plays an integral role in ensuring that day-to-day school operations run smoothly. From assisting Principal Hirsch with various tasks, to handling events and unexpected situations, Ms. Pankow's expertise is invaluable. She is always ready to lend a hand to students, parents, and staff alike, ensuring that the main office functions seamlessly.“Every day is different. I never know what is going to happen which makes my job very exciting,” she said.
One of Ms. Pankow’s most challenging responsibilities is finding substitutes for certified and support staff who are absent. This task can prove to be quite demanding, but she tackles it with unwavering determination. She also collaborates with the HSS PTO on school events, lending her expertise to make sure each one is a success.
Ms. Pankow’s service and dedication will be recognized in October 2024, as she will retire from Geneva 304 after more than 30 years of service. With fondness, she reflected on her journey saying, "It's been a great ride!" She began her journey at HSS in January 1992, initially working in the library before transitioning to the main office, where she has been a constant presence ever since. In fact, her history with HSS goes back even further, as she is a former student herself, and graduated from Geneva High School. Her husband and children are also Geneva graduates, further emphasizing her belief in the outstanding quality of education provided by the school district.
What truly sets Ms. Pankow’s heart ablaze is the people she encounters daily at HSS. The students, families and staff hold a special place in her heart.
“I love when students come to the office to read a book to me and when they finish, to see the big smile on their face is the best!” she said. “Or when they show me what they learned in math that day and you can see how proud they are of what they accomplished.”
Outside of her dedicated work at school, Ms. Pankow cherishes her time with her two granddaughters, Cecilia and Ava, whom she adores. In January 2024, she is eagerly anticipating the arrival of her third grandchild. When she’s not at school, she enjoys long walks, loses herself in books, and finds solace in gardening. And when she truly wants to relax and unwind, you can find her taking in the warm sunshine of Aruba.
Ms. Pankow’s warmth, dedication, and love for our school community make her an integral part of the Harrison family. We are grateful for her tireless efforts, unwavering support, and the positive impact she has on each and every one of us.
“Happy students make my heart happy. The family feel at Harrison is the absolute best,” she said.