Andrea Wagner, a member of the School’s HR and payroll team, who has served in multiple roles at the School during the past seven years, received the 2020 Mary Grembowski Staff Recognition Award at this year’s faculty and staff recognition event on June 2.
Hailed by colleagues as “truly one of the unsung heroes” at the School and “an excellent representative of the School and University,” Andrea specializes in leave administration—an area that affects the lives and livelihoods of the School’s faculty and staff year-round and has been of critical importance during the COVID-19 epidemic.
“Andrea Wagner has been asked to do the impossible, and she has done so with kindness and grace,” says Kim Dennison, the School’s HR and payroll manager. Many of her duties are of a sensitive, confidential nature, and the processes and programs that govern employee leave—including the federal Family Medical Leave Act and Washington state’s new Paid Family Medical Leave program—can require tremendous patience and exceptional communication skills.
In a letter nominating her for the award, KIm noted the unprecedented responsibilities Andrea has taken on during the pandemic. “She has worked incredibly hard to keep track of very complicated employee leave processes, including specific emergency COVID-19 leave and additional family leave for our employees. Throughout this time, she has maintained a high level of professionalism and courtesy. She is always the first person to think about how others will be affected by new policies.”
Andrea joined the School in 2013 as a temporary program coordinator for the Office of Community Engagement and then served as a fiscal specialist at the School’s Social Development Research Group. In 2016, she joined the HR department in her current role.
“Andrea is not only a treasured member of the School’s core administration but someone who brings skill, professionalism and a real sense of sincerity and caring to her work,” says Vicki-Anderson Ellis, assistant dean for finance and administration. “It shows and it makes the School a better place because of it.”