Mari Duran, Help Desk

Mari Duran wears black and sits at a desk behind a monitor, fingers on the keyboard.

It’s unusual to see Mari Duran without a smile on her face. She enjoys people, laughs easily and looks for the good in life experiences. “I try to enjoy life,” she said, “because life is too short. You never know if this could be your last day, so enjoy every moment.”

Mari has worked for the district for eight years but has been a part of the local workforce for much longer. “I began working at an early age, and have worked hard for everything I have,” she said. “I like the accomplishment I feel when I learn new things and help others. I work hard for my family and I work hard to support my NSD family.”

Her current job as a bilingual help desk analyst allows her to assist staff, students and parents across the district by troubleshooting their tech issues. As both an employee and parent herself, she has a lot of empathy for their challenges and strives for patience and positive customer service. 

“It matters to me that they have a good experience when they speak to me and that they look fondly on the tech department and the district,” she said.

During a typical day, Mari wears a lot of hats – both at her job and at home, where she is a wife and a mother. She counts her family as her most valuable asset. “Without that, you have absolutely nothing.” 

She and her husband, Chilo, are parents to three daughters – ages 15, 10 and 5. All three attend Nampa School District schools. Chilo is employed and self-employed. He runs his own farm and is also a volunteer firefighter.

“Chilo is a very hard worker. Thanks to him I am who I am. He always goes the extra mile. He went through a very hard life when he was young and he has taught me to never give up.”

Rounding out the household are two dogs – a schnauzer and a shih tzu – and a brood of chickens.

For Mari, it just doesn’t get any better than that. Except when she gets the urge to do a little remodeling, like her recent kitchen makeover that transformed a tired room with maple cabinets into a modern bright retreat where she can dabble in her love of baking. A soundtrack of oldies music featuring the songs of the Beatles, Raspberries, Bee Gees, Beach Boys and Bob Marley makes it perfect.

And she’s not just a fan of classic music. She also likes her movies well-seasoned. Black-and-white favorites like “Dos tipos de cuidado” (1953) featuring the actor Pedro Infante keep her connected to her culture while also sticking to themes and dialogue that are family friendly.

Unlike many people in this “Marvel Studios” world, Mari doesn’t secretly wish for superpowers, because she already has one – she can read a person’s emotional state. “Sometimes I walk through the grocery store and I can tell there is something wrong with a person – I can see the sorrow in their eyes. I say a prayer that everything is OK. I feel a lot of that.”

Mari was born in Mexico but raised in the Nampa/Caldwell area since she was 9 years old. She loves her life in Nampa and says that if she ever decided to move away, it would have to be to somewhere similar – with a quiet, slower pace of life and not a lot of people

A Skyview High School graduate, Mari has fond memories of her high school experience, especially her favorite teacher, Ms. Patricia Stephens (now Hines). And Ms. Hines remembers her.

“Mari was a student who stood out as very humble and sweet but driven to go beyond in her schoolwork more than most students her age. She was so sweet and sincere and easy to bond with. … Her work ethic shone bright in high school, and she was a young lady who I knew was going to be an upstanding citizen of our community. I am proud to have taught this beautiful person who still is so classy and hard working today.”

Sounds like not much has changed.