Who really makes Summer School happen?

Well, Amy Fish, and Karin Tenney-Helfrich, along with Brenda Gargas, to name three.

There is so much to plan for each summer session, it’s amazing that it all gets done with only 3 staff people and the director. Their job is to process applications and make sure that all of the required paperwork is submitted to them. This takes a tremendous amount of time. They are busy from December through May processing students as thousands apply. They send notifications, including acceptance letters and rejections, to all students who apply.

They take care of all of the details of hiring approximately 170 teachers for Summer School including housing, teaching load, HR paperwork, art orders for all art teachers, and chaperones for trips. They do marketing and organizing details for the Summer School College Fair. They take care of all details in the Summer School Office during summer session – lost and found, parent calls, ordering keys, student issues. They send grades and comments to all students after summer school.

Amy Fish started working at PEA on June, 2014. She is a full time employee and she works all year long. Karin Tenney-Helfrich started working at PEA in November of 2007. “ Why am I still working here after 8 summers? — because of the students, said Tenney-Helfrich.  Both she and Fish work around 7-8 hours a day. They work for even a longer time during applications. Their job is really, really difficult. (Gargas was away from the office during the interview.)

“My job is hard in that everything we do is very time consuming and detail oriented,” said Tenney-Helfrich. “Imagine all of the departments on campus to plan our Regular Session and all of the staff they have, we do everything they do with only 3 people and our director.”

Fish agreed. “My job is hard.”

She lives in Exeter. Tenney-Helfrich lives 2 miles from campus. She likes to ride her bicycle and motorcycle. During spring and fall, she likes to walk to work.

Fish is a mother of two. Her husband’s name is Michael. Karin Tenney-Helfrich has a husband and a son. “My son is 21 and goes to school in Hawaii,” she said. “This is the first summer that he has not come home and not being able to visit him has been hard I will get to visit him after Summer School is over. I think that this separation has helped me to deal with parents who are anxious about sending their child away to Exeter for only five weeks.”

Fish loves to spend time at the beach, be outside, in her yard and garden. She goes to the gym in her free time. Karin Tenney-Helfrich and her husband like to go out to spend time with their friends. “I don’t cook so we go out a lot,” she said.

Fish said, “We get a lot of students calling us from all over the world during the application process. It’s so fun getting to know all of the students and then finally meeting all of you! And I love the regular visitors in the summer school office who make my day!”