Lisa May knew she had some big shoes to fill when she took her new position at The Nugget. For 18 years, Teresa Mahnken had been the first person folks saw as they came into the newspaper office, and she managed the office with a sure and steady hand. The public and the staff alike loved her.

May stepped into the role two-and-half-months ago, and has already made it her own.

She manages classified advertising, coordinates the inserts that go into the paper each week, handles subscriptions and the events and announcement sections of the newspaper. She also acts as a kind of traffic controller, guiding those who interact with the paper to the right person to help them. She also does some design work to back up the two staff designers.

The opportunity to work at The Nugget arose at a moment of transition for May, as her twins were just getting set to leave for college.

"Jess (Draper) told me about it and it was perfect timing," May said. "I was looking for a full-time job."

Finding engaging work in her hometown was a boon.

"I didn't even look for a job in Sisters because I didn't think I'd find a job that would be a good match," she said.

But after interviewing with The Nugget staff, she knew it would, in fact, be a good match.

Draper said she thought of May for the job because of her "diverse qualifications, amazing attention to detail - and patience." Draper, who manages production, said that May has "far exceeded" her expectations.

May and her family moved to Central Oregon from Portland in 2002. They initially wanted to live in Sisters, but instead found a house in Tumalo. The schools here pulled them toward the west.

"By 2005, it was 'this is where are kids are going to school whether we live there or not,'" she recalled.

After four years as inter-district transfers, the family moved to Sisters in 2009. In all, four May children went through Sisters schools. School and church connected May with the Sisters community - and she's found that working at The Nugget has provided a whole new set of connections.

"There's a whole segment of Sisters that I've never met, that I read about in The Nugget and now I meet them on a weekly basis," she said.

May was a weekly reader of The Nugget, even when she lived in Tumalo, and like many parents, enjoyed seeing her kids make the paper for their grades or in a feature story. Freelancer Kit Tosello did a profile on one of her daughters.

"That was a big deal," she said. "We cut it out for the scrapbook."

Now that she's involved on a daily basis, she has a new appreciation for the role of the paper, and she enjoys being part of it.

"I never really thought about how important The Nugget is to the people in the community," she said. "It's a connecting thing for the community."

She appreciates the symbiotic relationship created by a free, ad-supported paper: the businesses that advertise make the paper possible, and the readers, in turn support the businesses with their trade.

"I guess I never thought about who's paying for this free Nugget we get every week," she said.

The work is challenging, especially on Monday's deadline, when everything happens at once.

"You never get bored," she said. "You don't have a chance to get bored, because you have to move on to the next thing."

In just two-and-a-half-months, May has taken a complex and critical job and put her own stamp on it, filling a challenging role and adding her own skills and capabilities to the mix.

"I thought it was going to be very difficult - almost impossible - to find the right person for that position," said editor Jim Cornelius. "Turns out, Jess had the right person right there in the wings, and the timing was just right for her to take it on. Not only is she a quick learner and she's really good at everything she does, she's a great fit with the rest of the crew. We got very, very lucky to be able to bring Lisa on board."