Spotlight Interview

Where you were born? Northfield, Minnesota.

Where did your parents grow up? My dad was born and raised in Ohio and my mom was born and raised in Nebraska.  My dad was in the military.

Where did you grow up? Wheaton, Illinois.

Is Wheaton, Illinois a suburb of Chicago? Yes, it’s about 24 miles west of Chicago.

Where did you go to middle and high school? I went to Edison Jr. High, in Wheaton and Wheaton Central High School.

What year did you graduate? Wheaton Central High School Tigers, class of 1986.

Did you like high school? Yes, I loved high school. I played sports and was an honor student, so I had a good experience.

What sports did you play? I played softball and was a Varsity cheerleader.

What position did you play in softball? Shortstop most of the time, but I only played one year of it because the rest of the three years I did cheerleading.

What did you plan to do after high school? I wanted to be a lawyer when I was in high school and had a part-time job in a law firm as a bookkeeper. I realized that was not what I wanted to do.

Why did you decide being a lawyer was not for you? Lawyers do more research than they actually work with people.

Did you go enroll in college? Yes, I went to the College at Dupage, in Glen Ellen Illinois and then to Montana State University in Bozeman, MT.

What classes did you take in junior college? I started with criminal justice because being a lawyer was still on my mind.

What made you change your mind about being a lawyer? I had a professor I really liked who had been a defense attorney, a prosecutor and a police officer. He taught law and justice and was able to give us kind of a look each role and I fell in love with being a police officer.

Did you change your career path to law enforcement? Yes, I went to school to become a police officer. I wanted to work outside where what you did was different every day.

What school did you earn your degree from? I graduated with an Associates in Applied Science/Criminal Justice from College of DuPage and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Sociology from Montana State University. I graduated with honors from both.

What took you from the Midwest to Montana? We grew up going to Colorado every summer. My grandpa built a cabin out there and I love the mountains. I was tired of the city and wanted to get away from home.

What did you like about the country? The wide open spaces and the horses. I love the mountains and all the outdoor activities. I always told myself I would go to college out there.

How did you pay for college? I grew up with my mom primarily and we didn’t have the money for college, so I worked full-time and went to college full-time.

What kind of jobs did you do during college? I worked in grocery stores, at a pizza place and at Montana State University. I was also a dispatcher for the campus police.

How did you choose Montana State? I could not afford the Colorado Schools and my girlfriend was going to go to Montana State.

Why was your girlfriend enrolling at Montana State? She was going to go to Montana State because her dad lived out there and so, I thought I would go too.

Was it expensive to pay out of state tuition? I looked at how much college cost and it was actually cheaper to go Montana State than it was to go to Northern Illinois State University.

Was it hard to be away from family and friends? No, I just made all new friends. I really wanted to get away from home (laughs).

What did you earn your degree in? Bachelors of Science in Sociology, with a criminal justice emphasis.

What did you do after college? I did an internship for the King County Sheriff’s Department in Seattle. My dad lived out here and I chose to do an internship out here because I could stay with him.

Where does your dad live? He lives in University Place, WA near Tacoma.

So you lived with your Dad and completed an internship? Yes, I lived with him while I did the internship. I had to work ten 40-hour weeks without pay. I was getting college credit for the internship.

What did you do for money? I also worked as a TSA (Transportation Safety Administration) person while I did the internship. So I got a little bit of extra money.

What did you do after completing the internship? As soon as the internship was over, I started testing for police departments and was offered two positions – one with Kent PD and one with King County Sherriff’s Department. I took the King County Sheriff’s Department job.

How long did you work on patrol? I graduated in the Winter of 1990 from college after the internship and then I was hired on in June of 1991. I worked on patrol for 8 years before I decided to retire to stay home with my children.

What is it like to be on patrol? I loved it. It’s something different every day, you get to go around to help people – obviously some people not so much.

What did you like the most about being a deputy? What I liked most is that it wasn’t the “same ole – same ole” every day. You’re not stuck inside.

What precinct did you patrol from? I worked out of the Federal Way precinct for the first five and a half years. Then I went out to the Maple Valley precinct, where I worked the east hill of Renton and Kent.

Were you ever on a stop or call where you were emotionally touched in some way? Yes, several. I remember a call with an older couple, she ended up passing before him. It was so sad because he loved her so much, you could just see it. He just held on to the bag afterwards when the funeral home was taking her. I wanted to start crying, and was thinking, “Okay, stop crying, I have got to be strong!”

Can you tell us a funny story? Oh, I worked as an undercover prostitute to arrest guys (laughs) for soliciting prostitutes.

What was arresting solicitors like? Well you don’t have to dress up in Federal Way. You can look like your old normal self.

You just throw on a pair of jeans? Yup, jeans and a tank top. Walk around areas like most people do, and you had undercover officers around. You’d go and take them into a room and there is an arrest team in the room. You arrest them in the room and wait until you arrest six guys, then you go get the jail van and load them up and ship them to Seattle.

Was it a little frightening getting into someone else’s car? We didn’t get into the car that was one thing, there are precautions.

How did it work? You walk in front of an area where there is a motel. We got a room for the sting.

Were you scared the first time you went undercover? No, not really. Its funny, the stories you get. One guy was celebrating that his wife having a baby that day and I just say “um.. yeah, interesting.”

It sounds like you loved being a deputy, is that right? I did love it, never thought I’d resign to take care of my kiddos.

Why did you finally resign from your job? I just felt it was something God asked me to do. My husband and I are married, and he never asked me to resign. More and more I was feeling the “tug” that I needed to stay home and raise my kids.

How many kids do you have? We have two. Shane is 24, and Bridget is 21.

Was it hard leaving your job? Yeah, it was tough. I really felt that was my calling.

Being a stay-at-home mother is a lot of work, isn’t it?  It was a hard transition because I was so used to being a deputy and now I was just a mom.  But, it was definitely rewarding and I wouldn’t have given it up. I wouldn’t change it for anything because I have really good kids and I have a really good relationship with my kids.

So the change was tough at the time, but rewarding? Oh absolutely, yeah.

How did you get to Longview? My husband worked for paper mills out of an office in Steilacoom. They sent him to the Longview mill. He was servicing chemicals to mills, Weyerhaeuser, NorPac and Fibre.

Did he commute to Longview?  Yes, he was commuting and I had already resigned from the Sheriff’s Department to stay home. We started looking for houses in Longview and eventually moved down.

What year did you move to Longview? We moved here in 2001.

Did your kids go to school in Longview? They did. Robert Gray, Mt. Solo and Mark Morris.

When did you go back to work? I went back when Bridget was in 1st grade because financially it was tough after I had resigned.

Did you volunteer in the schools? Yes, I was volunteering in my kids’ classes all the time and my girlfriend who worked at Broadway said, “Christine, you could be getting paid for what you are doing right now.”

Did you apply to work for the school district? Yes, I started subbing in the spring of 2005, and by the fall, I got a permanent position at Broadway. I was at Broadway for a year (2005-2006) and went to Robert Gray in 2006-2007. I moved to a secretarial position at Kessler in the Fall of 2007.

What happened next? The next year, Rita who was the main Secretary, went out on a medical leave. When she came back she didn’t want to be full-time, so she asked if I would job share with her.

When did you get back to Kessler? I’ve been back here for five years.

Do you think about going back into law enforcement? No, I love law enforcement, but it doesn’t give you the flexibility of being able to be involved with your kids.

Does your background in law enforcement help you as a school secretary? Yes, I think my background helped me deal with some of the families and situations.

What’s the best thing about your job? I think interacting with the kids, and it is different every day, like police work.

What’s the toughest part about your job? The toughest part is the multi-tasking you have to do when you don’t have an assistant. You’re having to type stuff up for the principal, they’re calling you on the radio because they need something, teachers are calling you on the phone because they need someone to go to the classroom, kids coming into the nurse, and she’s swamped or not there.

So what characteristics do great secretaries have? Being able to multi-task and I think my police work helped me with that. And I think being able to be positive. Doesn’t mean you’re always in a great mood necessarily, but you can fake it (laughs).

What would you say to the community about what it’s like in schools today? Well, I think technology has made it a lot different. Cell phones add difficulty for elementary schools.

Why do cell phones make things difficult? It becomes a problem because you get a lot more stuff that happens outside of school transferred into the school. Stuff happens on social media that gets transferred inside the classroom. Also, the violence in schools has escalated, unfortunately.

What’s your favorite food? (Laughs) I love ice cream.

What’s your favorite ice cream? Either chocolate chip mint or coffee flavored.

Do you like ice cream in a cone or a cup? Cone, a plain cone, or a waffle cone.

What’s your favorite color? That changes over the years, but primarily pink.

What haven’t I asked you that I should have? I have a wonderful husband named Sean and we will have been married for 25 years this June.

What else? I do a lot of volunteer work outside of the schools. I’ve worked for Longview Community Church, with high schools and middle school youth groups for about 15 years.

Do you enjoy being the head secretary at Kessler? I love what I’m doing, where I’m working and the people I’m working with. I love seeing the kids every day.