A Master at Her Craft


By Niulan Wright

You may know her as the woman who sold you your yearbook and your third pair of P.E. shorts, or as the woman who wears a small tiara when selling homecoming tickets. Others may know her as a campus supervisor, classroom aide, office manager, or budget secretary. However, those who really know her probably know the funny, welcoming, and friendly woman who works in the big office at the end of the hall on the bottom floor of Wood Hall.

Carol Craft’s official title is Budget Secretary. She works with the Tamalpais Union High School District (TUHSD), Associated Student Body (ASB), and Tam High Foundation financial accounts. However, Craft is a jack of all trades. Since 1988 she has held many different positions across Marin County.

“I just like being around education… I have always been in the schools.” she said.

Craft began her educational career as a young mom doing yard duty. She then worked on the PTA and even did a stint as a bus driver. “That was wild! I did not like that,” she said.

While it wasn’t exactly her calling, Craft did what she could to make it fun by playing the radio on the bus. After that, she went on to work as a classroom aid and an office manager. Craft then decided to take  leap of faith and move to the TUHSD office. “[At] fifty-five years old, I lost all my seniority and I took a big risk to come down to this district. Came down to this district and two years later they had cutbacks and I was laid off,” she said.

Unfazed, Craft took the first job available to her; campus supervisor for Redwood. Two years later, the job for budget secretary at Tam reopened and she moved back. “I kind of felt like Goldilocks; it was just right,” Craft said about her first impressions of Tam. “This is just right! I mean, just right for me. I think it’s kind of providential where you end up.”

However, Craft isn’t just an administrator. She is a lover of music, dancing, and lists, and is a self proclaimed hoarder. When asked what most people don’t know about her, Craft replied, “I’m a pretty open book.”

When Lisa Giuliani, Tam’s data specialist, walked by her office, Craft asked her what was something people don’t know about her.

I don’t know, Carol,” Giuliani said.

“I think pretty much everybody knows stuff about me,” Craft said.

“She’s an open book.”

“That’s what I said!”

“I know a few things I can’t say,” Giuliani said, which elicited a chuckle from both women.

Craft eventually hit on the one thing that most people don’t know about her; that she binge watches. Showing her love for lists, Craft has documented all the episodes she has watched of Law and Order, Seinfeld, and all ten seasons of Friends. “I know that’s what people don’t know about me! I’m such a loser, oh my god, such a loser,” Craft said, laughing.

While he has only known her for a few years, social studies teacher Nathan Bernstein described Craft as if they were lifelong friends.

“Her sense of humor, obviously, is pretty amazing. She has a warm demeanor [and] everyone feels so comfortable with her,” Bernstein said.

Craft agreed. “I’m pretty friendly. I like to make people comfortable. I always like to try to engage [with] a new person.”

In fact, Craft has turned her office into a quasi teachers’ lounge where anyone is welcome to relax and interact. For a while she would even lay out puzzles for students and teachers to work on, who could also then sign their names alongside their work.

“I created this space cause it felt so awful to have this much room when people didn’t have a staff room or whatever and people know that they can come in it’s like a little social safe place,” Craft mentioned. “We call it the vault.”

Unfortunately, Craft is considering retirement at the end of this school year. “The experience of having known everyone here, the different parents, staff, the different administrations, the kids I mean … it has changed me,” she said. “It’s gonna be sad when I leave because I wasn’t really ready yet.”

Originally, Craft had planned to retire in 2020 but she is thinking of leaving a year earlier due to the incentives offered by the district for anyone who retires by the end of this school year.

“I’ll really miss this … I’ll just miss being here with all the friends I’ve made and all the kids,” Craft said, “I really will.”