People in The News

Debbie Dellas Named New Hampshire School Administrative Assistant of Year
By Leslie O’Donnell   4-16-18

“She is amazing.”

That quote sums up the descriptions of Debbie Dellas given by Lamprey River Elementary School staff and students, in support of her successful nomination for New Hampshire Association of School Principals 2018 Administrative Assistant of the Year. Dellas, the Raymond elementary school’s administrative assistant, was paid a surprise visit recently at the school, and received a state award certificate, a gift certificate to the Puritan Back Room, and a hydrangea bush. The award is sponsored by Horace Mann.

Known as Miss Debbie to Lamprey River students, Dellas has worked at the school for 20 years, and said she plans to stay there until she retires. A Raymond resident, she said it is only her second job – she worked for New Hampshire Insurance until it closed, then joined the school staff.


Debbie Dellas

Lamprey River Elementary School Principal Bryan Belanger and first graders Phoebe Yaris, left, and Lacey Lemire join Administrative Assistant Debbie Dellas on a recent spring day. Dellas is the 2018 New Hampshire Association of School Principals’ Administrative Assistant of the Year.
Photo by Leslie O’Donnell

Bryan Belanger, who is in his third year as principal at Lamprey River, said that being new at the school, he has relied heavily on Dellas for everything. He is the fourth principal for whom she has worked. “Debbie is part of everything we do,” he said.

And when he brought the idea of nominating Dellas for the state award to his assistant principal and the rest of the staff, he found an overwhelming number of people wanted to participate.

“Clearly I wasn’t the only one who thinks she’s amazing,” he said.

Thirty staff helped in completing the application, as well as a group of students. “It’s exciting to see how far her reach is,” Belanger said. “Kids make trips to see her every day. She has weekly lunch visits with a few – she goes above and beyond.”

Belanger said he had to address four areas in the application: evidence that she was highly qualified in her job skills, skill in interpersonal relationships, compassion, and going “above and beyond.” He asked his staff to respond to those topics and then summarized their responses.

Among the comments for the award, which recognizes administrative assistants’ dedication to their school, students, faculty and parents, are the following:

• “Debbie is a highly supportive, dynamic and creative individual. Her passion for our elementary students, her enthusiasm, and creative ideas are a reminder to our school and students that if we work hard enough, we can learn and do anything, It is often said that Debbie could run our school single handedly and there are days where she supports students, parents, staff, administrators all while answering the phone and the front door with a smile.”

• “Our staff can count on Debbie to show support, kindness, empathy and love. She maintains high expectations while also going above and beyond to follow-up both students and staff. She is a compassionate listener, advice giver and supporter of both new and veteran staff.”

Dellas’s duties as administrative assistant are numerous and broad: she enrolls and withdraws students, does payroll and ordering of supplies, is in charge of the student activity account, does scheduling, conducts school tours, and manages in-school suspension.

Dellas said when she was hired, her children were attending Lamprey River, and her work schedule meshed well with their needs. “It was perfect – and then I just stayed,” she said.

Now her three children are grown and she has a 20-month-old granddaughter, but her job remains perfect to her.

“It was a total surprise,” Dellas said of the award. “All of a sudden they showed up at the school and said I had won. It was a nice surprise.”

While Dellas is modest about her work and about winning the statewide award, Belanger is quick to give her praise. “She’s a safe person for the kids,” Belanger said. “We’re just so lucky to have her. She’s deeply rooted in the school – she probably would have won this award for 20 years in a row if she’d been nominated! We’re here for the kids, and everything Debbie does is supporting that.”