On May 6, Kelly Morris spent her last day at GDS after almost 15 years serving as the school’s high school office manager. Her departure was announced in an email sent on April 13 to the GDS community by High School Principal Katie Gibson, who wrote that Morris was offered “an incredible professional opportunity” that is “time-sensitive.”
In an interview with the Bit, Morris said that she will be working at Harvard University. “I joke that now I get to go to college after 14 years,” she said. “I’m graduating.” She declined to share additional information about her new job. “I just don’t know what they want to keep private,” she said.
Gibson said she “literally fell out” of her chair when she heard the news roughly a month ago. “I was like, ‘Oh my God. You can’t leave!’” she said. But upon overcoming the initial shock, Gibson said she realized “this is a move that is really good for her, personally and professionally.” She added that she believes Morris is very organized and always calm under pressure. “This office is a whirlwind of a thousand things happening at once,” Gibson said, “and she is just always steady and one step ahead of what’s happening.”
Morris reflected on what the high school office was like when she started her job in 2007. “It was just three people and me,” she said. “It was kind of a small crew.” At the time, she said, the office “felt quieter” than it is now. She added that she coached volleyball during her first two years at the school.
Assistant Principal for School Life Quinn Killy said he will miss Morris greatly. “I think people know that Kelly does a ton around this place, but what people don’t know is that Kelly does two more tons in addition to that,” he said. He said that it will be very difficult to find someone to fill Morris’ position due to her immense experience at GDS and all of the intricate work she does behind the scenes.
Killy added that he has enjoyed working with Morris. “She’s got such a great attitude; she’s a hard worker; she’s such a nice person,” he said. “I’ll just miss her personally as well.”
Freshman Natalia Stutman-Shaw, who is in Morris’ advisory, said she is “really sad” about Morris’ departure. “She’s been the best advisor I could’ve asked for—super, super supportive,” she said. Stutman-Shaw added that Morris was especially good at helping her resolve issues with teachers, which she attributes to the relationships Morris has formed at the school.
Another advisee of Morris’, freshman Michael Dobbs, echoed Stutman-Shaw’s feelings and said he will miss Morris’ support. “She knew literally everything,” he said. “Really any question I had, she either knew it, or she could answer it or get something done.” He added how Morris’ “insane” organization skills were very helpful. “I go into her office, and I’m like, ‘I have a really hard week coming up,’ and then she helps me organize everything I do.”
According to Dobbs, Morris’ advisees will join different advisories for the remainder of the school year. “I don’t know if it’s going to be any better than Kelly,” he said. “She was a perfect advisor.”
Sophomore Talin Sidhu, a former advisee of Morris’, was also disappointed by the news of her departure but understood that it was a good opportunity for Morris. “I’m happy for her,” he said.
Morris said she would miss the community at GDS and the opportunities that she has been given because of her job. “I feel like I’ve gotten a second education,” she said. “Going to all these speakers and assemblies and social justice teach-in days, I feel like I’ve gotten a new lens into the world that I wouldn’t have gotten just by working at a corporate job.” She added that she hopes she has been a positive influence at GDS by “making everyone’s lives easier, events going smoothly, and being a happy smiley face when you come in the office.”
Killy said that although he predicts it will be difficult to find someone to fill Morris’ shoes, the search for someone to take over her position has already started. He said that the administration will go through the “typical” hiring process of reviewing both internal and external applicants to determine who will take Morris’ position.