Matilda Webster - Stiles Point
What started as an eager young mom wanting to volunteer at her child’s school turned into an almost 20-year commitment to Stiles Point Elementary School on James Island. All of these years later, Malinda Webster is the school’s data clerk, but it all started with being a parent volunteer.
“I was able to be a stay-at-home mom until my son was old enough to attend Stiles Point,” said Webster. “My first born Scottie was my baby (now 24 years old), so I was up at the school every day doing something. I was the room mom, joined the PTA, and took on fundraising. I was a frequent face here in the early 2000s and people didn’t hesitate to ask me to pitch in.”
Webster was glad to do it. In 2005, she was asked to plan and coordinate the annual fall festival. This event drew upwards of 600 people and a lot of logistics went into it. Webster, with a baby strapped to her in a front pack, forged ahead that first year, completing a successful event that raised over $18,000. She continued to spearhead the effort until 2017.
When her daughter Campbell (now a junior at James Island Charter High School) settled into the school, a full-time substitute teacher was needed in select classrooms and Webster jumped in where needed. Eventually, a classroom position in the computer lab opened in 2011, and Webster jumped at the chance.
She enjoyed the opportunity and was especially fond of the administration she worked with through the years. When a new principal arrived in 2014, Michael Ard took notice of Webster.
Ard loved Webster’s data and communications skills and wanted to place her where she could shine even brighter. She accepted the data clerk position with a little remorse for the things she would miss in the computer lab.
The PTA took over the fall festival until COVID-19 put it on hiatus. In the meantime, the school turned to other fundraisers like the Boosterthon. While Webster misses working on the fall festival, she now oversees the school’s yearbook, which brings her great joy.
Webster uses one of her other talents as well. She describes herself as having a sense of humor that is off the charts and she uses that to spread joy and laughter throughout the school, each and every day. Many folks she works with have a nickname handpicked by Webster or have been on the receiving end of a light-hearted prank.
“Teachers come down to the front office for some entertainment,” joked Webster. “I can even amuse myself.”
Webster explained that being a data clerk is a serious job and accuracy is crucial.
“The day can’t be spent being entirely serious, though,” said Webster. “It doesn’t hurt that the students and staff at Stiles Point are like my second family.”
Stiles Point is a neighborhood school where everyone knows everyone. Former students come back to visit or earn volunteer hours doing various tasks. Webster lives less than one minute away from the school with her husband and knows the families in the area very well.
One of Webster’s favorite parts of the school day is car line duty where she gets to see the parents and siblings of her students and her neighbors. Stiles Point is a neighborhood school, so many of the students walk, bike, or carpool to school. This means dismissal and the car rider line must run as efficiently as possible. Webster created a plan to get vehicles in and out of the loop with precision.
“The people in this building are part of what makes Stiles Point special,” said Webster. “I work with an amazing group of people – from the administration on down. I want to set a good example and I don’t want to let them down.”
So much so, that she is proud of her six years (if not more) of perfect attendance.
“I don’t want to be out because that is double the work I will have to do when I get back and more importantly, I feel like I am letting my teammates down,” said Webster.
This little elementary school tucked back into a winding residential neighborhood, has grown to almost 800 students. That keeps Webster busy, which she appreciates.
“I do not like being bored so I appreciate being able to proctor, and being in charge of rosters and permanent records,” said Webster.
Webster considers herself lucky to work at Stiles Point.
“Had it not been for each principal and administrator that I had the privilege of volunteering or serving under, the experience would not have been the same,” said Webster. “I adore Principal Shannon McAlister and Assistant Principal Kyle Smalls. I have never had an administrator that was not approachable. That makes all the difference.”