Secretary says goodbye for second time

It is usually the employee behind the scenes that helps an office run smoothly.
Karen Lindquist has worked 30 years for the Wood County Educational Service Center, and the historical
knowledge walking out the door with her when she retires in June can’t be measured.
“She knows all the ins and the outs of the organization, and knows how things operate,” said Kyle
Kanuckle, former superintendent who worked with Lindquist for seven years. “I was smart enough to
understand that.”
Lindquist was hired after spotting an error in a test she took while interviewing. She circled a mistake
that no one else had caught.
She was hired as a clerk/typist on a probationary basis Jan. 3, 1989, for three months.
“It must have worked out,” Lindquist said, laughing.
She retired on Jan. 1, 2015 and was rehired.
“This time I’m technically resigning June 30,” Lindquist said.
Taking on the duties of executive secretary in 2007, she has served with seven superintendents.
Lindquist started when Dallas Gardner was in charge (1970-91). Then came Delbert Brown (1991-95), Doug
Garman (1995-2009) Luci Gernot (2009-11), Fred Susor (in an interim role), Kanuckle (2011-18) and now
Mark North.
She started in her current role as executive secretary in 2007.
“They were all unique,” Lindquist said, adding it takes an average of two months to get used to a new
boss.
Her role has changed, some for the good.
Now, everything is computerized. She used to collect forms from all the schools and send them to the area
coordinator. That can now be done electronically.
Her duties include planning the annual Achievement of Excellence Awards banquet and the county spelling
bee. She orders teacher appreciation and retirement gifts, and updating the PublicSchoolWORKS employee
list.
“Contract management is a big thing this time of year,” Lindquist said. “The spelling bee is fun every
year.”
North said she will be missed.
“Karen is not only experienced, she has a tremendous amount of knowledge and history with the ESC,” he
said. “She defines professionalism. Karen is one of the cornerstones of the ESC. She has provided a very
solid foundation for me, in order for us to be able to do our part.”
Lindquist grew up in North Baltimore, graduating in 1972.
After high school, she worked in factories for four years, then stayed home to raise her family.
Family is the reason why she has picked this time to retire.
Her husband was diagnosed with liver cancer in 2016.
“Right now he’s doing OK,” she said. “I just look forward to spending time with him and not worrying if I
have enough sick days if he needs to go to the doctor.”
She still lives in North Baltimore, in a new house they built nine years ago.
Lindquist has two children and six granddogs. She plans to take mini-vacations to see family in Michigan
and Pennsylvania.
This past year, “every time I didn’t have to set the alarm in the morning, I was smiling.”
When her daughter was in third grade, a secretary position opened in North Baltimore. She applied and got
the job; she worked there three years until being laid off after a levy failed.
Her husband at the time was working construction and made little magnets on the side. Lindquist was a
room mother at Powell Elementary and was in the break room selling magnets to the staff when she was
told about the ESC opening.
“I kind of liked being home with the kids,” she said.
When she started with the ESC at the Wood County Courthouse, there was a small staff.
“We’ve grown so much over the years.”
The new site on North Research Drive opened in 2005, moving down the road from what now is now the OSU
Extension Office building.
“I miss the courthouse, when we had a tinier staff, and everybody was close.”
Lindquist recalled hand collating in the courthouse and getting help from Brown.
“That’s the kind of work-together environment this in here.”
Her worst memory is the spell with Gernot, who lasted two years but retired amid bitter discord between
then ESC and area school superintendents.
“Kyle was a blessing when he came in here because he had the personality, ethics and morals,” Lindquist
said.
“She’s been a phenomenal mainstay at the ESC,” Kanuckle said.
“She will be tremendously missed both personally and professionally for a very long time,” North added.