Students see them every day, throughout the day. Students see them in the school halls, in their classrooms, in the cafeteria—all over the campus. Each one is another smiling face that welcomes students and helps make Cobb the best place to teach, lead, and learn.
Teachers and staff look to them as miracle workers who wipe away the dirt, spills, pencil shavings, and crumbs of hundreds of students so students have a fresh start the very next day.
The Cobb Schools team of 600 custodians work every day to support Cobb staff and students so they can focus on teaching and learning.
The custodians scrub and wax all the floors, clean the carpets, wash the windows, and sanitize the school bathrooms. Yes, they are miracle workers.
After students finish eating breakfast and lunch, they clean the cafeteria. When they are not dusting the classrooms and offices, the custodial team is outside picking up trash.
Their jobs don’t stop there.
Many custodians help keep the lawns cut and trimmed. When it comes time for school celebrations, parties and events, the custodians are there to pitch in and help.
During flu season, the school custodians stop the germs from spreading so the kids can stay in school and learn. They use special sanitizing procedures to battle the germs. They also work with staff members to accommodate students with specific allergies or health problems.
No bugs allowed—the custodian team stays on top of pest control too.
If a snowstorm blows in and schools are closed, custodians are required to check on the school building. If snow needs to be removed before students and other staff return to the campus, the custodians are the ones who grab the shovels.
Despite all their responsibilities, the custodians love their jobs. Some custodians, like Sprayberry High School’s George Burcher, have supported Cobb students for 40 years.
“Most long-term custodians I talk to just love being around the staff and the kids. Some have watched kids go all the way through school and even return to that same school as a teacher years later,” said Brad Massey, Cobb Schools Maintenance Supervisor of Custodial Equipment and Supplies, Building Engineers, Waste Management, and Pest Control.
Some Cobb custodians do more than scrape gum off floors, they are outright heroes.
Last school year, the custodian at Hayes Elementary School stepped in and saved a student who started choking. Custodian Rodney Echols rushed over to perform the Heimlich Maneuver to remove the blockage.
“Cobb Schools custodial teams stand above the crowd due to their great work ethic, professional training, top of the line equipment, and the willingness to go above and beyond for the students and staff of their respective schools. Even more than that, they become part of that school family and part of the team responsible for the child’s health and wellbeing,” Massey added.
The number of custodians at each school is based on the total square footage that needs to be cleaned at each school. For example, a smaller elementary school may have three full-time custodians to clean a 57,000-square-foot school. One of the largest high schools may need a team of 15 custodians to clean the 505,000-square-foot campus.
The custodians don’t get summer breaks. They work when students are in and out of school. They seize on the opportunity during the breaks to strip and wax the floor, clean the walls, deep clean the restrooms, and more.
Not all school custodians across the state have the same reputation as those in Cobb. Actually, others reach out to Cobb to find out our team’s secret to success.
“The Cobb County School District has the best custodial crews in the state,” Massey praised. “No matter where I travel around metro Atlanta, the state of Georgia, and even other areas of the country, many school systems have heard of Cobb Schools custodians and our green cleaning policies.”
One of those examples of top custodial crew members is Barry Crocker, the head custodian at Eastvalley Elementary School. He has served as a school custodian for more than three decades. A few years back, his custodial work was recognized on a national level for the cleanliness of the Cobb school where he worked at the time.
In honor of National Custodial Workers Day on October 2, look around at Cobb’s campuses and say thank you to our team of dedicated custodians. They deserve it.