Olga Ortiz, Employee of the Month for December, is an administrative assistant at Burnet Elementary School, a position she has held since 2001. Her dedication to that campus, which she also attended as a pre-kindergartener, is so strong that when she was offered an unsolicited promotion from HISD’s Elementary Schools Office last summer, she turned it down.
“It was flattering to be asked, and I was given a week to think about it,” she said, “but I’m just too attached to the kids and the community here to leave.”
Ortiz joined Team HISD more than 25 years ago as a teacher’s assistant at Franklin Elementary, but she has also served as an attendance clerk at Deady Middle and a secretary at Oates Elementary.
At Burnet, Ortiz handles payroll, coordinates purchases, monitors activity funds, and schedules meetings. She also serves as a member of the school’s Parent Teacher Association, Shared Decision Making Committee, and leadership planning team.
Ortiz is so widely known for her expertise and willingness to help others that she routinely assists clerical staff from other campuses in learning the district’s policies, software programs, and procedures.
“I’m always happy to help,” said Ortiz. “I’ve been there, when you’re brand-new and trying to figure things out.”
Originally from McAllen, Ortiz grew up in Houston and attended HISD schools. She is a proud member of Austin High School’s Class of 1989. Ortiz lives in Houston with her husband of 27 years, José, and their five children. When not working, she enjoys watching movies, playing volleyball, and spending time with her family.
“There is not one person in this building who does not have a story to tell about how Mrs. Ortiz assisted them in a difficult situation,” said Principal Ana Cantu. “Just recently, she helped new secretaries and clerks from Browning Elementary with activity funds so their campuses would be in compliance. Many employees have difficulty understanding the Family and Medical Leave Act, but she is there to guide them.”
“I have worked with Ms. Ortiz for the last 11 years,” added Assistant Principal Maria Meza, “and I have never met anyone who is as hard-working and efficient. If she is able to help you, she will, and if she doesn’t have an immediate answer for you, she will find it. She knows her job and does it extraordinarily well. Ms. Ortiz is also one of the nicest, most caring people I know. Even when she is under the weather, she has a smile and a ‘Hi, how are you?’ We are so lucky to have her.”
“Have you ever felt like someone is watching over you?” asked Instructional Specialist Patricia Tamayo-Fagler. “Quietly paying attention to your needs and supporting you without being asked? Ms. Olga Ortiz is that person! She is helpful but at the same time confident, inspiring, nurturing, efficient beyond words, and always wearing a beautiful smile that can transform even the most stressful situation into a ‘No problem, don’t worry, I will take care of it,” kind of thing.”