Mastering the Data Maze: A Spotlight on Tessy Smith

Sienna Robertson, Staff Writer

November 13, 2023

Her name is a frequent presence in the inboxes of students, faculty, and parents. She is a superhero to many, supplying students with the information they need to send in for job applications, the Registry of Motor Vehicles, and colleges. Although her name is known to many, the mystery still prevails: who is Tessy Smith? 

Database Service Manager Tessy Smith’s connection to the Nobles community is deep: three of her kids were former Nobles students and are now counted among its alumni. “I’ve been at Nobles for 16 years. Before I got hired, my oldest son was a student for a year,” Smith said. Smith described her job search: “There happened to be a job [at Nobles] online that fit my exact skill set, and it was so perfect…You get a big discount if you work at Nobles for your kids, so I was able to send off four kids, three from Nobles.” This opportunity led to Smith being regarded as a remarkably kind individual among the Nobles community.

As for her job at Nobles, Smith takes a largely behind-the-scenes role in keeping our community afloat. In her own words, her job description is “to take data and release it to people in different ways.” For example, she releases info to Noah Brauner (Class II) to aid his development of the Nobles App. 

Smith enjoys her job and the creativity that it allows. “It’s super fun. It helps people with their processes and makes processes run more smoothly,” she said. Her love for her position at Nobles is not only expressed through her words but shines through her collaboration with others. Brauner described working with Smith as a great experience. “She’s incredibly kind and always willing to do whatever is needed to connect Nobles’ systems with the app,” he said. 

When asked about her favorite part about working at Nobles, Smith simply said with a smile: “It’s nice to be able to make people’s jobs easier.” Smith voices how she feels about the work she performs. “[Programming] just makes your brain always keep working and thinking of a better way to do something,” she said. Smith also described another aspect of her work that comes with being Nobles’ hero: the accessibility of her role. “I can do it from home, I can do it at Nobles; I could do it from anywhere,” Smith said. She appreciates how her job has enabled her to create and nurture relationships at Nobles. She compared her previous work experience to her current one, saying, “I have more real friends [at Nobles]. I didn’t really have real friends at my other job.” Smith wanted to leave the Nobles community with a few words of encouragement: “You don’t have to be a specific type of person to be a programmer…I recommend it for women because I think it’s something that you could get a remote job doing…[The job] is very flexible and you can be very creative!”

Before she took her place at Nobles, Music Faculty Michael Turner was carrying out the duties that Smith performs now. “When she arrived, she immediately began to take my original database and software designs to a whole new level,” Turner said. He also described her flexibility to anything thrown her way. “She is incredibly responsive to specific requests for new features or subtle tweaks to the software she manages. Over the years, she has also been tasked with adapting to newly introduced systems, like Veracross and Canvas, and ensuring that they work as seamlessly as possible,” he said. Just as it did with Noah Brauner, Smith’s radiant energy passed through Turner as well. Turner said, “Tessy does it all and does so with remarkable grace and humor.”

Lastly, sorry to all the feline lovers out there, but Smith loves dogs! Her canine appreciation developed during the COVID-19 pandemic. “Over COVID, I found this woman who [was] looking for somebody to take care of [her] dogs. I’m a guardian for two dogs, and I was contracted to breed them each three times. My first dog had nine puppies, so I had nine puppies for eight weeks, which was really fun,” she said.  This, Nobles, is Tessy Smith. If you see her around campus, don’t forget to say hello! As Turner said, “I don’t think many students realize just how much Tessy Smith has done for the school in her time here because her work is generally behind the scenes.” Smith’s work is far from over, as well. She clarified her ever-present relationship with Nobles by claiming, “[My kids] are all graduated, but I still love Nobles. It’s a great community. I love working here. People are so nice.” Nobles is not just a place for students to connect with each other, but also with faculty and staff. Getting to meet someone with universal kindness like Tessy Smith is a rare opportunity. One simple “hello” could cause you to engage with someone you never imagined you would.

(Photo Credit: Avery Winder)

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