In her 34 years of dedicated service with Pleasanton ISD, Superintendent’s Executive Secretary Irma Rodriguez has seen many changes and formed many special bonds.
June 25 marked her last official day of working with PISD. The recent retiree is looking forward to spending more time with her husband, Domingo Rodriguez, who retired from Union Pacific Railroad on May 31, after 42 years.
Mrs. Rodriguez began her career as an aide at the elementary campus. After Carmen Lambaria retired, Debbie Drew promoted Rodriguez to the principal’s secretary position. Later when Drew became Assistant Superintendent, Rodriguez worked as her secretary. She also worked as secretary for then Superintendent Dr. Cynthia Clinesmith when Brenda Rowinsky retired, and later, for Superintendent Dr. Matthew Mann.
Rodriguez said she will miss those special interactions with people the most. Over the years, she has seen many children come through the school system.
“They become adults and then you have their kids. But I’ll miss more of the interacting with parents,” Rodriguez said.
She said that many times she is able to look at a child and distinguish which parents they belong to.
“It’s kind of like you get to know people. You’re just so happy for them, how they’ve grown and sometimes you see that they struggle, but at the end… you see the journey that they take.”
On June 18, Rodriguez’s retirement was celebrated with a party in the central office board room. Mrs. Drew came down from North Texas for the special occasion, as well as coworkers, board members and community leaders.
Among Rodriguez’s qualities, Dr. Mann has appreciated her calm demeanor the most.
“She is just such a good listener for parents and really is able to deal with people who are upset or who are trying to find their way,” said Dr. Mann.
He also described her as very solution-oriented.
“One of the other things that I really appreciated about Irma was her closeness to the community. Being from the community, she knew a lot of the relationships and who was related to who. She could then fill me in, and it helps with interactions with people. She has a lot of close ties,” added Dr. Mann.
She informed him about events happening locally, in the county and in the city.
“So I really appreciated her connections that way. Having her growing up in the community, being born and raised here in Pleasanton really helps,” said Dr. Mann. “I used her as much as a thinking partner as any of my cabinet leaders or assistant superintendents, just because she has such an extensive knowledge of the district and the community. She also has a parent’s perspective and a grandparent’s perspective.”
He also described Rodri- guez as trustworthy and kind in her thoughts and interactions with people.
“She will be sorely missed, but she will be around, spending time with her grandkids. The service that she’s given the district and the community is great. I’m very proud of her,” said Dr. Mann.
The new Superintendent’s Secretary will be Marshelle Burks, who is coming in from the Region 20 Service Center. Burks worked there in a secretarial capacity and has some school experience, too. She was able to spend some time with Rodriguez for a smooth transition.
Mr. and Mrs. Rodriguez were blessed with three daughters: Tonia Rodriguez, Amanda Anderson and Karen Everett, as well as five grandchildren.
Being a Pleasanton native has made the bonds over the years even more meaningful.
“You feel so happy for the children, what they go through and their accomplishments. I just feel like everybody that comes through is just a part of me,” said Rodriguez.
When they closed down the elementary school, she thought of the many memories and different people she worked with.
“I have so many memories there, growing up and then seeing the changes.”
When the new elementary school was built, she had to break away from the tour, knowing it would be her last one.
“I started crying, I’m thinking… My dad was there 34 years and my mom worked with the district for 25 years in the cafeteria.”
Irma and Domingo plan to travel and enjoy time with their grandchildren.
When co-worker Donna Land passed away after 25 years of service, who didn’t have the chance to retire, Irma thought about how short life is.
She enjoys staying busy with her grandchildren’s activities such as soccer games, baseball games, barrel racing and more. They also have some acreage and a ranch to enjoy.
At her retirement party, coworkers were able to write down their memories and place them in a jar.
“You don’t really realize how you touch someone just by sending a little note to them.”
For example, having coworkers tell Irma how much they appreciated the way she welcomed them meant so much.
“I have had a lot of awesome coworkers that I have worked with throughout the district. They made it easier for me to do my job. It takes a team to do what we do around here. I’m definitely going to miss everybody… but I’ll be at the events,” she said with a smile.