Anita Patsos, admin assistant at Manchester's Green Acres Elementary School, steps down after 46 years

By MARK HAYWARD
New Hampshire Union Leader
January 12. 2018 8:27PM
Anita Patsos hugs a group of students who delivered a yellow rose on her last work day at Green Acres Elementary School in Manchester on Friday. She is retiring as secretary after 46 years at the school. Throughout her last day groups of students delivered roses one at a time. (DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER)

MANCHESTER — When the Green Acres Elementary School day came to a close Friday as students boarded their buses and climbed into their parents’ vehicles, it was the end of an era for Anita Patsos, a fixture who has been sorting books, guarding the school and getting kids to their proper destination for more than four decades.

Patsos is retiring after spending 46½ years at Green Acres. She started as a volunteer in the library, when her three daughters attended the east Manchester elementary school. After five years, she took a job as a library assistant. That lasted 10 years.

Since 1986, she’s been the administrative assistant. She answers the telephone, keeps an eye on security monitors, signs in guests and late students, and does dozens of other things to keep the school running.

“I have no idea what I’m going to do without her,” said Principal Richard Norton. “I was thinking about putting a closed sign on the front door.”

Throughout the day Friday, well wishers made their way to her office: teachers who relied on her candy jar for an afternoon sugar jolt; parents dropping off and picking up children; students who came by in groups with a flower or other departing memento.

“She’s the best. She’s nice to kids,” said Conor Gracyalny, a fifth-grader. But she’s also no-nonsense, not tolerating any goofing off from kids who must bring attendance sheets to the front office. “No playing with rubber(band) guns,” he noted.
Anita Patsos hugs students who delivered a yellow rose on her last work day at Green Acres Elementary School in Manchester on Friday. She is retiring as secretary after 46 years at the school. Throughout her last day groups of students delivered roses one at a time. (DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER)

Fifth-grader Jack Lianos said his father’s friends are astonished to find out that Patsos still works at the school they attended. Other Green Acres alumni: newly elected Mayor Joyce Craig and grandchildren of former mayors Bob Baines and Bob Show.

Patsos has a full head of healthy gray hair and the soft skin of someone who looks 10 years younger than her 83 years. The job has kept her young, she said. “I love it. This is a great place to be,” she said.

Her job is hectic, Patsos said.

Her desk includes a telephone with dozens of buttons to forward calls. There’s a computer monitor to her right and a security camera monitor to her left.

She buzzes in visitors and checks attendance sheets to make sure that late children are not counted as absent. She holds sway over all the forms and office supplies that the school needs. And the job has changed; she no longer has to type memos for the principal, she said.

Her most important job?

“Spoiling the teachers rotten,” she said.

Kids get a little of that too. Any kid who loses a tooth gets a small plastic treasure chest from Patsos, a tradition she started when she worked in the library.

Why leave now, halfway through the school year?

“I’m 83. I’ll be 84 in June for crying out loud,” Patsos said.

mhayward@unionleader.com


SchoolsNH PeopleGeneral NewsManchester

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