In her two decades at Radley, Dusty has worked in a number of different departments, where her warmth and friendliness has been appreciated by staff and boys. We caught up with Dusty and asked her about her first job here in September 2004.
I began working in Shop on weekday mornings when my son James started school. Sarah Ballard (HR Director) and I started working here on the same day, and my background was in HR, (or Personnel as it was then!) and I’d worked at Harwell and Culham Science Centres for many years before I had children. I noticed how busy Sarah was – at that point she was running HR single-handedly – so once James started school I helped Sarah with filing in the afternoons and before long I was working full-time in HR.
How long did you work in the HR department for?
I was there for 14 years until I moved to the Medical Centre as Senior Administrative Coordinator in 2018. I’ve also helped in Admissions and Foundation with filing and data input when they’ve been very busy. And I had two months in K Social as PHM, covering while Rene Themistocleous was unwell in December 2020. Alex Gilley (Lead Nurse) encouraged me to take this on short-term as I was keen to know what the PHM role entailed. However, as it was during Covid, things were rather odd and I found myself working from a broom cupboard! I couldn’t use the PHM’s flat so that was where I was stationed, using my laptop on an exam desk. But the best part of the PHM role, and my role in the Medical Centre, was getting to know the boys – I absolutely loved that and I really miss it. I had a great time covering the PHM role but realised it wasn’t for me in the long-term.
Tell us about your current role as Housekeeping Administrative Assistant?
When the job was advertised it really appealed to me – I’ve moved to all-year-round and the hours suit me as I’m an early bird – my work days start at 7.30am. It’s great to have a new challenge.
I do all the admin for the Housekeeping department which is very diverse – I answer emails and phone calls, pass jobs from the Cleaners to the Caretakers and the Caretakers to the Maintenance team. It’s very busy and varied but I’m really enjoying it. It’s a big team, with approximately 80 cleaners and I’ve loved getting to know everyone. The Caretakers are great and they work really hard – you can always rely on them.
From your perspective of having worked in several departments within the College, what makes Radley a special place for you?
It’s the people! Everybody is lovely and I’ve been so lucky working in the Bursary, Medical Centre, Housekeeping – they are part of what makes Radley. The other part of course is the boys – when I was working in K Social, the 6.2s who left this summer were 6.1s and they invited me out on their leaving do! I was so touched that they thought of me. I know I was able to help and have an impact on the boys’ lives and that was really special.
Can you pick a highlight from your years here so far?
The main highlight for me is getting to know Sarah Ballard and Louise Morrow. We all worked together in HR and they are friends for life, we’ve all been through so much together. I really miss working with them!
Part of my role in the HR team was to meet interview candidates so I feel lucky that I remember a lot of staff members from my time helping with recruitment. I remember Alex Gilley, Jane Morgan (PHM, A Social), Caroline Monaghan (Radleian Society Associate Director), Sallie Swaine (Bursary Receptionist / Administrator) and Tash Cooper (Events Manager, Admissions) – they all made an impact on me when I walked them to their interviews!
What’s changed since you joined?
Most of the operational departments have grown. Sarah Ballard set up the HR department when she joined and I helped with creating many of the systems and processes from scratch that are still used today.
What College events do you look forward to during the year?
I always go along to the musicals and plays. My daughter Holly started helping out in the Wardrobe from the age of ten! When she was old enough she started being in the shows – her last one was The Producers and she had the female lead which was lovely. She went on to study musical theatre and dance and currently works in schools, including Radley, teaching dance and choreography. The backstage experience she gained here from Lianne Oakley-Rowland (Costume Designer) and the previous Director of Drama, Robert Lowe, was invaluable for her.
Can you describe Radley in three words?
Amazing. Friendly. Family.