After working in the banking profession for more than 23 years, Vawn Thiphasouk was on her way to a new bank and a new position as a branch manager last May. And then, the Nevada Schools called.
“A week prior to my starting date (at Great Southern Bank in Ames), I was offered this job,” said Thiphasouk, who is the new activities administrative assistant at Nevada High School this year.
Why make such a drastic professional change? For Thiphasouk, that is easy to answer. “Essentially time with my kids was more important,” she said.
“Banker’s hours,” is a phrase we’ve all heard about that 9-3 time frame. “There’s no such thing,” Thiphasouk said. She worked long hours and worked hard in her banking career, which she may some day return to. “I loved banking. I would consider going back to it when my kids are older.” But for now, “I love having every weekend off … every holiday off … having summers off … being off early on weeknights. The time I have now for my kids is amazing and worth it.”
Thiphasouk said her new job has similarities to her banking career in some ways. “In banking, I take care of my clients and do the right thing that best fits their needs and life situations,” she said. “In my current job, we do the right thing and what is best for the students. There is a lot of similarity in this aspect. We take care of what is important.”
Visitors to the school will find Thiphasouk in the main office of the high school, sitting right beside the high school secretary. The main duties of her position, as she explained, are to make sure things are ready for events and activities of the district, which includes keeping track of officials, scorekeepers, ticket takers, chain gang and so on. “I do everything I can to help make Activities Director Dustin Smith’s job a little easier, so he can focus on the bigger picture of his job,” she said.
She loves the people at the school, and she love the lunches. Banks never provided lunches like this. “I really like the high school lunch.. great food, affordable price and endless options to pick and choose from. I am most thankful for high school lunch,” she said with a smile. And the people she works with, they’re as good as the food. “We are all professionals and get the job done … I love the environment here. Everyone has been super welcoming and helpful. I love how busy and crazy my day is, and I don’t feel bored. Time flies here for me daily.”
Thiphasouk and her husband, Lee, have four children. One, Steven, is a sophomore at Iowa State University. But the other three are younger and still at home. There’s Kobe, fifth grade; Byron, first grade; and Jayden, in kindergarten.
As a mom, Thiphasouk said her favorite pastimes include her children. “I like to go on one-on-one dates with each of my kids. It allows me to focus on just that one child and learn about their week, life, friends, school and so forth. I find that I have gotten to know something new and different about them through this process.” Another fun thing she does as a mom is watch Netflix movies with her boys. They like to lounge around in their pajamas and watch together. “We get super excited when there’s a new release out,” she said.
A pastime that Thiphasouk is well known for in the Nevada community is making eggrolls, a treat from her Laotian and Thai heritage. Nevada school personnel have learned that about her. “They seem to request it at every sports event,” she said with a laugh, and “Mr. Smith has reserved the prize of ‘Vawn’s eggrolls’ for teachers for various reasons.”
She’s only a few months into her role at Nevada Schools, but she has no regrets about “jumping ship” from the banking profession to the school profession. “I think it’s been a blessing in disguise. Having wonderful humans who are always positive and supportive at your place of work is a plus. I look forward to coming to work on a daily basis because of the people (including the many students) I see daily.”