Russo moves on

On Friday, Feb. 18, Johnson State College said goodbye to seven-year employee Tim Russo, financial aid counselor. Russo recently accepted a position at Thomas College in Waterville, Maine. Russo said that although this was a tough decision for him, he knew that this was as good a time as any to make a move. A Lyndon native, Russo had gone to University of Maine, Farmington, and is familiar with the area. This lateral move includes many of the same duties he was performing here at JSC. Financial aid counselors help students and parents navigate the tough course of applying for and receiving financial aid. Other tasks include processing FAFSA’s, loan processing, and communicating regularly with the business office, registrar, and admissions.

“The first thing that comes to mind is his dedication,” said Director of Financial Aid, Lisa Cummings. “I will miss the team connection we all felt. Everyone in this office went above and beyond and I can honestly say I have never worked with such a dedicated and fun staff. I am referring to Kim [Goodell] here as well. To work in financial aid a sense of humor is a must to keep each other going. So again, the team dynamics will be missed.”

According to Cummings, they will be hiring a full-time employee to fill the open position. The position is posted, and interviews are underway. Cummings and Goodell, the assistant director, are handling his duties between them and are willing to put in the time necessary to keep up with everything for the sake of the students. Currently, Diana Gonsalves works part-time, about 20 hours per week in the Financial Aid Office where she manages the phones and scanning of documents. She also handles a variety of projects as needed and will be playing an even bigger part in managing the work study program.

“Tim was the most positive co-worker I have ever worked with. Working in any Financial aid office is no easy task,” said Gonsalves. “Tim always had a smile on his face and knew how to bring the humor out in all types of situations in order to calm families and students during the stressful process of applying for aid and covering costs.”

Students coming into the office could be confident that they had a reliable person with whom they could talk about their college financial decisions, noted Gonsalves. She continued, “At this point in my career I think I can say I find it rare to have a co-worker that you can instantly trust and rely on for anything. I believe the students felt the same way, and felt comfort in knowing that Tim was on the job with their financial aid. We miss him, but are always wishing him the best.”

Cummings also reiterated Russo’s dedication by saying, “He knew many of the students well because of the work study program and I believe he sent many personal emails to students before his departure.”