Recent Office Specialist brings a whole new meaning to community involvement


Norah Austin

Newly hired office staffer Babs Gregg works at her computer, one of the things she does on a daily basis for her job. “It’s just like solving tiny problem after tiny problem after tiny problem. People call. We find the right party for them. They show up in the office. We figure out where they need to be [and] what form they need to take.”

Norah Austin, Staff Writer

During our high school years we are all bound to visit the main office, whether it be for attendance, passes, or meetings with administration, among many other things.

Many feel the main office is the face of South, with the people who work in the space conveying the atmosphere and sense of community within our school.

In the midst of budget cuts last school year, several main office positions were let go of, including that of the Office Specialist. However on April 10th, 2018, the Minneapolis School Board voted 5-4 on proposed budget cuts, successfully giving back $816,000 to South. This restored many positions to each department that was originally cut. After South’s budget grew, a new job became needed.

On October 8th, 2018, Barbara (Babs) Gregg embarked on her first day at South as Office Specialist. So far she has been extremely pleased with the atmosphere and people here. “I really appreciate the way that the culture [at South] is not the ‘Minnesota Nice’ that I experience elsewhere in the city. Where people are a little stiff and a little formal and they’re kind of nice on the surface, but really reserved,” said Gregg.

Prior to being hired at South, Gregg worked as the assistant to the Chair of the Department Of Medicine at the University of Minnesota.“People here are really genuine and speak their mind and that’s been a refreshing change and a lot different. Than for example; working with folks at the [University of Minnesota]. To be clear, I’m not saying that people there are not nice.”

Having lived in the Corcoran neighborhood since 2006, she had been searching for a way to become more involved in the community. Not wanting to run for office for the Corcoran neighborhood, she was at a loss for what to do.   

“I had been trying to think of a way to be more involved. And since I didn’t want to run for politics or something like that, I just really wasn’t sure what I could do to be engaged… My spouse found this job listed and I was like ‘There we go.’ and it all came together.”

She describes herself as someone who loves to help others with their needs, so when this job came up, it seemed like the perfect fit. Besides the job being local and community oriented, Gregg felt as though her personality meshed perfectly with the requirements of this position. “I really like to help people. And I think I’m approachable, but I also play by the rules… I try to always follow the rules but still be as generous as I can with helping folks with the things that they need,” said Gregg.

Day to day life at South varies for Gregg, however she feels that her job mainly encompasses constantly solving little day to day tasks, in order to maintain the function of South’s community. “It’s just like solving tiny problem, after tiny problem, after tiny problem,” said Gregg. “People call. We find the right party for them. They show up in the office. We figure out where they need to be [and] what form they need to take. And so it’s just a constant series of people with needs and trying to get them met.”

Gregg feels as though she has an immense amount of knowledge and experiences to contribute to the South High community and in a way is hoping to re-shape how South is viewed at the forefront, as well as a whole. “I think that my desire to help people, or the fact that I really want to do that and I work hard to do that [help people]. And I have a really open heart about the whole thing.”