‘I love kids, so that’s the fun part.’ Brooks: Covering operations in local school district

At the Central Greene School District, there are many employees who make the operations of the schools run as smoothly as possible. One of those individuals is Valerie Brooks, director of business affairs and the board secretary.  

Valerie Brooks began her journey at Central Greene School District 15 years ago. 

“I worked as the accounts payable person here for 11 years and then the business manager was going to retire and they appointed me in the beginning of 2019,” Valerie Brooks said. “Just my experience from working here all those years and doing this is basically how I got this position.” 

Inside her office, there are two wooden chairs facing a wooden L-shaped desk that sits against the wall. Sunlight shines onto a plant that sits under a big window across the room. 

On the desk, displaying Valerie Brooks’ work day are two phones that blink rhythmically and a desk calendar packed with notes written in pencil. 

“You get a lot of phone calls because I’m in charge of the transportation for the children too, so usually I’ll start out with a few phone calls about bussing, then I have bills I have to input,” Valerie Brooks said. “Fires you have to put out every day with parents and staff that have board meetings to get prepared for which we have once or twice a month.”  

She said that the best part of her job is being able to see the children and be in the schools. 

“I love kids, so that’s the fun part.” Valerie Brooks said.  

When making decisions for the students at work, she says her first thought is safety.  

“If there is something that I feel like needs to go above me, then I’ll go to the superintendent and have a conversation with him,” Valerie Brooks said. “Lots of times we will work together on a solution.”  

“Valerie is one of the easiest people to work with,” Kevin Monaghan, superintendent at Central Greene School District, said. “She thinks outside the box in order to solve problems.” 

Above the desk where she works, mounted on the wall, is a bulletin board filled with flyers, notes and another calendar with Grogu, more commonly known as Baby Yoda, on it. Perched along the top of the large black computer are numerous figurines of Grogu, adding to the display of her love for “Star Wars.”  

“We love ‘Star Wars,’ you know,” Valerie Brooks said. “We like to watch movies. Like ‘Star Wars,’ Marvel, anything like that.” 

Along with watching movies, Valerie Brooks said she likes to spend her time off the job shopping at stores like TJ Max, Macy’s and JCPenney, usually in Washington or Morgantown. “There’s nowhere to go here,” Valerie Brooks said laughing.  

Valerie Brooks said she attended Central Greene School District and that growing up in Waynesburg was different than it is now. 

“It was a little bit more quaint, it was a little nicer,” Valerie Brooks said. “We used to go roller-skating on Friday nights when I was in elementary school and middle school. There was a movie theater uptown you could go to, some pizza places that aren’t here anymore, stuff like that.”  

Valerie Brooks still lives in Waynesburg but is adjusting to a new chapter in her life since all three of her children have moved out.  

“I recently became an empty nest,” Valerie Brooks said.  

Valerie Brooks said that she is close with her three children: Jordan, who is 30 and lives in Orlando, FL., Caity, who is 25 and lives in Waynesburg and Maddie, who is 22 and attends Clarion University.  

“She is the most selfless person I know,” Caity Brooks said. “She knew the answer to every question you could possibly ask her. I thought that when you were an adult you just knew things, but as an adult, you don’t and my mom somehow just always knew the best thing to say and what to do.” 

Caity Brooks said Valerie Brooks is always there for her.   

“Any life advice she always had the answer and even now I call her all the time over anything.” Caity Brooks said. “She’s so helpful and now as I transition into this part of my life as an adult, she has become more of my best friend.”  

Now, it is just Valerie Brooks and her husband living in the household. “We’ve been married for 32 years,” Valerie Brooks said. “I worked at a grocery store and he worked at the satellite place that was next door. He used to come in and cash his paycheck and that’s how we met.”  

Valerie Brooks first attended Waynesburg University, then transferred to West Virginia University. She originally went to school for accounting, but ultimately received her degree in journalism.  

Valerie Brooks said she has gained patience while working and “the ability to not react right away on your emotions.” 

“I was the kind of person who would just say what I felt. Now you have to be very careful about what you say. You have to think about it and really just not say anything that’s gonna make anyone upset.” Valerie Brooks said. “Like when dealing with parents, even though if they are yelling at you, you still have to stay calm and take that approach, so I think I’ve become a lot better at that.”