Diane K. Ellis officially retires from the Greencastle-Antrim School District on June 30 as secretary to the chief financial services officer after 42.33 years in the business office. But her affiliation with the district goes back decades longer and will continue for years to come.
A 1974 graduate of Greencastle-Antrim High School, she is the daughter of Greencastle High School alumni Frances Kesselring, Class of 1940, and the late Frank Kesselring, Class of 1944. Her sister, Linda Kesselring is a member of the Greencastle-Antrim High School class of 1971 and Ellis's daughters also are G-AHS graduates, Katie in 2002 and Laura in 2006. Now, her grandchildren are G-A students — Alexandra Rose who is going into fourth grade, Victoria Rose who is going into second grade and Aaron Brown who is going into first grade.
Ellis also has asked to serve on the advisory committee of Tayamentasachta, the school district environmental center, where her final office was on the first floor of the farmhouse. Last week, the school board approved her for its list of paid athletic help.
"I always thought it would be fun. I would like to do ticket sales," said Ellis. "I can't get money out of my system."
Ellis has been using up vacation time recently, but was at the meeting to lend a hand to her replacement Tina M. Anderson as she begins her new duties as the school board's recording secretary.
"Every day seems like a Saturday, but in my brain I'm still working," Ellis said.
Through the years
After graduating in 1974, she spent a year in the legal secretarial program at Hagerstown Business College (now Kaplan University), graduating in September 1975. The same month, she was hired as temporary assistant to business manager Eldon Coldsmith.
In March 1976, she became a permanent employee as assistant to the business manager. "It's been my home every since. It's a lifetime," said Ellis, noting Jolinda "JC" Wilson is her 10th boss.
Her tenure of four decades has seen many changes. In the early days duplicates were made by mimeograph then copiers. There were no computers.
Many of the same forms for the Pennsylvania Department of Education had to be typed by hand year after year — and retyped if there was a typo that wasn't caught.
Not only has technology changed, but so has the location of the business office. When she started, there were five people — cafeteria director and her secretary, payroll, accounts payable and herself — in a middle school conference room. Later, home was in a mobile unit behind the high school and middle school. The business office moved to the west wing of the new elementary school in the early 1980s and to the brick mansion house at Tayamentasachta in August 2016.
Ellis also has been the recording secretary for the school board for 30 years. Her minutes are part of a permanent record that goes back to the 1800s.
She coordinated the senior citizens tax rebate program for the past 24 years.
"I enjoy what I do and I extremely enjoy the people I work with," Ellis said this spring. She cited Bill Needy the one who stands out among her 10 former bosses, calling him "a joy to work for."
Through it all, Ellis's main day-to-day responsibility has been the "smooth operation of the business office."
Ellis lives in Williamsport, Maryland, with her husband, Russ. They frequently volunteer with the Hagerstown Rescue Mission and "there are a lot of homeless I need to cook for."
In addition, part of Ellis's ministry is a part-time job at LifeWay Christian Bookstore in Hagerstown.
She also is looking forward to having more time to spoil her "three fantastic grandkids" and spending more time with her mother, who turned 95 on May 17.