After 17 years of working as a loyal Dragon, Kris Nordin, Foothill’s Systems Specialist, will retire Friday, Aug. 31.
Nordin originally moved to Ventura in 1997. Because her girls needed to get adjusted, she did not get full-time work until applying for a job in the Ventura Unified School District. Soon she landed a job in Ventura High School’s computer lab as the computer technician. She didn’t think about applying to Foothill until one of her former colleagues contacted her, encouraging her to apply.
Now, some of Nordin’s fondest memories are of helping the students at Foothill, whether that was offering answers to simple problems or establishing programs to reach out to students.
When asked what she will miss most about Foothill, Nordin was quick to respond. She exclaimed, “the kids!” without a second thought.
Wanting to make it more easy and efficient for the seniors, Nordin loaned a hand in establishing the senior checkout procedure.
“I wanted it to be easy for the students,” Nordin said.
Instead of making the students walk all over campus to get all of the signatures needed, she wanted something “centralized so they had one place they needed to come, and everyone they needed to see would be there.”
Early on in her career at Foothill, Nordin was approached by a counselor who had gotten a pamphlet describing a program called Peer Helpers and wanted to get it started at Foothill.
Well received by the students, Peer Helpers was a program to encourage students to nominate other students that they would be comfortable to talk to if they had issues. If those nominated kids agreed to participate, they were taken on a training where they were taught how to listen, respond and recognize issues that were out of their control and needed adult attention.
“One of the things that I really liked about it was that we had a total cross-section of students,” Nordin enthused. “It wasn’t all the strong academic students […] it was a real cross-section of the population at Foothill.”
Nordin looked back sadly on the end of the program when one of the counselors was no longer comfortable, and the administration decided to terminate the activity as a whole.
“It was really hard for me because it provided such a service to the kids.” Nordin said.
Back when sports were not offered at Foothill and instead kids went to their boundary school, Nordin came up with the concept of a form to track students and know where they are and what they were doing. This form evolved to become the multi-site form used frequently by music students.
Nordin explained that it was “really important to have a record of where the kids were.”
She also worked to integrate the Armed Service Vocation Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) into Foothill more, due to the lack of representation of the military at Foothill compared to other schools.
“The main benefit of the ASVAB doesn’t have anything to do with the military, it’s just the information that the students learn about themselves [by] looking at the different career plans that are suddenly brought to their attention,” Nordin stated.
After retiring, Nordin looks forward to welcoming another grandchild into her family and potentially traveling to various places such as Scotland, Ireland and Sweden.
Debbie Freeman, a counselor and friend of Nordin’s will miss all of the help she brought to the counselors. “She is a great support for all the counselors, she was [our] ‘right-hand woman’.”
Freeman recalled when she broke her leg and had to use a walker, Nordin would help her settle in every morning, bring things to her and help her throughout the day.
“There are many things I will miss about Ms. Nordin,” continued Freeman. “I will miss her helping with technology […], I’ll miss having lunch with her and our talks everyday.”
Nordin’s final goodbye to Foothill was parallel to what she dedicated her career to: empowering students.
“Always, the students can do more than they think they can do,” she said. “They are stronger than they think they are, and if they are faced with a challenge[,] it is in their best interest to really pursue that and try to get through it.”
“We always have a tendency to undervalue ourselves,” she stated. “You just need to be yourself and do what’s important to you.”