‘I AM LIVING MY BEST LIFE’ School Bookkeeper Finds Joy, Fulfillment Working in Richland One for 26 Years
Mildred Huff’s job as a school bookkeeper and administrative assistant is not just about balancing and maintaining budgets. On some days, her tasks include looking at new carpet swatches or allocating funding for textbooks.
“I do not consider my position to be a job but an opportunity to assist others in having a successful day and making it easier for them to accomplish their goals,” said Huff. “I take pride and joy in what I do each and every day, with each being different and new.”
Now in her fifth year at W.S. Sandel Elementary School and her 26th year in Richland One, the multi-faceted Huff also has held positions in the district as a database specialist, instructional assistant and cafeteria manager.
Huff recently earned the honor of being named a district Bookkeeper of the Year. She and Anelle Anderson of Lower Richland High School; Penny Caughman of Hyatt Park Elementary School; Jennifer Helmly of Brennen Elementary School; and Melita Tillman of Heyward Gibbes Middle School received this distinction for the 2021-2022 school year.
Among the rigorous criteria for earning the honor was timeliness in completing monthly reports and forwarding check copies, accuracy in reporting monthly financials and procedural adherence when subjected to surprise audits.
As a 1984 graduate of Columbia High School, it has always been Huff’s ultimate goal to work in the district and be able to give back to the school and community in which she was reared. Huff said she constantly recruits and shares the good things she’s encountered as an employee in Richland One.
“Basically, I want others to be able to experience the joy and fulfillment that I have for the past 26 years in the district,” she said.
Buried in Huff’s optimistic attitude about her career is her story of having been in foster care for most of her childhood before being adopted as a middle-schooler. Huff said she gained strength from those experiences to rise above every situation.
“What I endured coming up was needed for me to be the person I am today,” she said. “This district’s motto – Richland One Strong – speaks volumes to my personal aspirations and strengths.”
Memories of her challenging upbringing have always driven Huff to purposeful employment. She was a mental health specialist for the S.C. Department of Mental Health prior to coming to Richland One. Huff also credits her adoptive mother, Earnestine Furtick, and her homeroom teacher from Columbia High School, Pauline Davis, with ensuring she reached her highest potential.
“I can truly say I am living my best life,” said Huff.
She invites others to do likewise and “stay positive, strong and compassionate and visit each day as if it’s a new one.”
Her mantra is the legacy of the three children she and her husband, Johnny, raised. They have a son who is a landscaper, a daughter who is a business owner and another daughter who is a human resources director. They also have six granddaughters.
The 52 schools and centers in Richland One have more than 4,000 employees and are in need of more skilled, talented and dedicated people in positions like Huff’s. There are openings throughout the district for school-based instructional support staff, social workers, nurses and teachers, as well as staff to work in student transportation (bus drivers), building services (custodians and maintenance staff) and nutrition services (chef, dieticians and truck drivers).
Applications may be submitted online via the district’s website. From the home page, click on the Employment tab. Then, click on the Job Openings tab to Start an Application for Employment.