Barbara Snow retires after 42 years with Menlo Park school district

Celebration in office manager's honor planned for Dec. 14

Barbara Snow started working for the Menlo Park City School District in 1973 -- before many of the parents of current students were born.

Since 1980, Ms. Snow has worked in the office at Oak Knoll School, most of those years as the office manager. When students return from winter break in January, however, Ms. Snow won't be at her desk. She'll be enjoying retirement.

She's says she's looking forward to a more flexible schedule, "just having lunch and taking walks when I want to -- that's going to be fun."

She's also looking forward to "being able to take a vacation that is not in the month of July," she says. "I've never really been out of the country. I think we'll do some international travel a little bit."

Ms. Snow is going to miss what she calls her "family" at the school, the staff, the parents and the students who come in "to give you a hug." The students "come in when they're not feeling good, or they've been hurt," she says, but also just to say hello.

Instead, she'll spend more time with her other family: her parents who are 94 and 91, her two children, and her 8- and 10-year old grandchildren, who live in Southern California. She plans to "watch their games and their plays and everything else I've never been able to do."

Ms. Snow was skeptical when she was told being a grandmother "is just the greatest thing in the world." Then came Ryan and Ella, and, suddenly, those claims were "understated," she says. Being a grandparent is "the best thing in my life," she says.

Ms. Snow's parents, Mary and Bob Hagman, moved to Menlo Park when she was in the sixth grade. They still live in the Sharon Heights home they moved into all those years ago.

Back then, their home was one of the first on the street and the old Sharon Mansion still loomed over the neighborhood, Ms. Snow says. Mr. Hagman was the architect of the nearby St. Denis Church.

Ms. Snow says that when she started working at Oak Knoll, the school had only around 300 students. Now, it has 750. "It changes all the time," she says. "I can't keep up with the technology."

The typing and shorthand she learned while majoring in child development and minoring in business at California Polytechnic State University have become a little outdated, she says.

Oak Knoll Principal Kristen Gracia says she is "sad to think about our school without her bright face and welcoming hugs." Ms. Snow, she says, "has always had a special way to make everyone feel connected and important."

Ms. Snow says she will miss the school, a lot. "It's the luckiest place to be," she says. "You just get to enjoy the kids and enjoy the parents. Those are the two things I love the most."

She will also miss the infinite variety of the job. "I would just hate to have a job that you went to and you were behind a desk all day," she says. "In 42 years, I've never had two days that were the same."

Ms. Snow lives in Redwood City with her husband, Richard, who works for United Airlines. She says she's worried she may just find herself in the car in the mornings, ready to make her usual commute.

Over the years, she says, Oak Knoll has become a better and better place to work. "You can come in in the morning with a thousand problems on your shoulders ... and you can be here for 10 minutes and don't have another thought" about them, she says. "There's so much positive feelings going through the office."

She has told Principal Gracia: "It's too bad you can't make this really miserable for me so it will be easier to say goodbye."

On Monday, Dec. 14, from 2:55 to 4 p.m., the school community will be able to say goodbye to Ms. Snow on the upper playground, or in the gym if it rains. Parents, students and alumni are all invited to attend, sign a memory book and have refreshments.

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2 people like this
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Dec 10, 2015 at 12:38 pm

Did Mrs Snow work as a playground monitor at Encinal her first year with the school district? I vaguely remember a Mrs Snow. Really sweet lady from what i recall. This night have been 1973, 74, and or 75.

2 people like this
Posted by Long time ago
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Dec 10, 2015 at 12:46 pm

I remember Mrs. Snow from Encial in the 1970s. I had no idea she still worked for the school district.

Congratulations on a long career.

10 people like this
Posted by Ryan and Ella
a resident of another community
on Dec 10, 2015 at 8:43 pm

Grandma, we are super excited about your retirement too! love, Ryan and Ella :)

Like this comment
Posted by appreciative Oak Knoll parent
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Dec 14, 2015 at 11:46 am

Barb Snow has been the friendly face of Oak Knoll for as long as anyone can remember. A stop in the office always included a smile and kind word from Barb. She will be missed by all at Oak Knoll. Best wishes for a wonderful time in retirement! With gratitude, a former Oak Knoll parent

Like this comment
Posted by Thank you.
a resident of another community
on Dec 17, 2015 at 1:04 pm

We will miss you!

Like this comment
Posted by A. Luskin
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Dec 18, 2015 at 10:50 am

It was really wonderful to come in to the Oak Knoll office and be greeted/helped by Barb with her warmth and caring shining right through that great smile.

Beat wishes for all to come in the future and thank you for all you've done in the past!

Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Atherton: West of Alameda

on Sep 24, 2017 at 5:12 pm

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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