Kim Dombek, building secretary, Bellefonte Elementary School
Kim Dombek, building secretary at Bellefonte Elementary School, is the kind of person who likes being social. She said one of the things she appreciates most about her job is that it brings something new every day with a group of students and colleagues she enjoys being with most.
And that's why during the state-mandated school closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic, she found herself missing it – a lot!
Luckily, she added, she’s done her best to stay busy by volunteering to hand out food at the YMCA in Bellefonte that serves as one of the free meal sites for community members. They might not have recognized her in a hat and facemask, but she said there is some joy in seeing the kids there that she normally would have seen in school every day.
“I’m really missing working right now,” Dombek said. “I miss seeing the students and (being) in the routine. You go to work and it’s never a boring day at an elementary school, and over the course of the time, I have worked with a lot of people who really care about the kids, and who are fun and funny and caring people.”
Dombek started working at Bellefonte Elementary more than 20 years ago after taking a 12-year hiatus from work to take care of her family. She first began substituting at schools within Bellefonte Area School District, before getting hired at Bellefonte Elementary School – first as a cafeteria aide, then at a job in the kitchen, followed by a position as attendance clerk and now her current job, which she’s held for more than 10 years.
“It’s good to know what other people’s jobs are so you have a little bit more empathy and understanding,” she said.
A day in her life includes helping with day-to-day responsibilities that help the school’s principal and professional staff with what they need. In addition to daily clerical duties, she maintains student files, helps with kindergarten registration, checks absences and makes sure all vacancies are filled. Dombek is also a member of the school’s Crisis Team and district’s Safety Committee.
The State College native has been living in the Bellefonte area with her husband and two daughters for more than 35 years. Now grown, Dombek said her daughters live in Florida and Washington State where she regularly enjoys visiting. She also enjoys cooking, trying new recipes and using seasonal vegetables from her garden to make meals, in addition to actively being outdoors and walking nature trails at places such as Bald Eagle State Park.