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'Place we're proud of'
Custodians work long hours to keep county schools clean, healthy

LAWRENCEVILLE - Gwinnett County students may be on summer vacation, but the people who keep the schools clean and healthy are still hard at work.

School custodians work year-round, tackling large projects such as cleaning light fixtures and vents, scrubbing tiled areas, and waxing and recoating floors.

During the school year, Rock Springs Elementary School head custodian Brenda Crawford said she and six others tackle a list of tasks that includes vacuuming classrooms and offices, cleaning toilets and sinks, and mopping and polishing the floors.

"Our job here is very important to the health and safety of the staff and students," Crawford said. "I don't want it to just look pretty. I want it healthy, and I want it safe."

Cleaning a toilet, for example, doesn't just entail removing surface dirt, Crawford said. The latrines must also be disinfected.

"It's not an easy job. It's not always fun, either," Rock Springs principal Angie Pacholke said. "But they (the custodial staff) always do it with a smile on their face."

The custodians are an important part of the school team, Pacholke said.

"The way the building looks sets the tone for the whole school," she said. "It sets the tone for the teachers and students. ... We want it to be a place we're proud of.

"We always think about the teachers," she added, "but it's easy to forget a school wouldn't be successful if it weren't for other people - custodians, cafeteria workers, secretaries."

Crawford has been keeping schools safe and clean since 1982, and it's something she's passionate about.

"I want what's best for these children," she said. "I want to give them the best environment they can have."

SideBar: Top Custodians

The school system applauded the work of 56 head school custodians during the 21st annual Head Custodian Appreciation Breakfast in late April. These top professionals were selected based on attendance at monthly meetings, use of proper procedures, completion of hazard communication training and adherence to a time-management tool that emphasizes proper scheduling of effective cleaning methods and efficient procedures.

· Travis Blalock - J.A. Alford Elementary

· Abdurahman Nukic - Beaver Ridge Elementary

· Jim Sanders - Berkeley Lake Elementary

· Sandra Woodyard - Berkmar High

· Yudith Hernandez - Berkmar Middle

· Any Tanasa - Bethesda Elementary

· Greg Hardy - Buchanan High School of Technology

· Peggy Arnold - Camp Creek Elementary

· Sarah Smith - Centerville Elementary

· Lisa Hodge - Central Gwinnett High

· Robin Thomas - Chattahoochee Elementary

· Cornelia Buducea - Corley Elementary

· Eva Lopez - Craig Elementary

· Julie Beverly - Alton C. Crews Middle

· Tanya Aciu - Dacula Elementary

· Mark Humphrey - Duncan Creek Elementary

· Joe Wimmer - Fort Daniel Elementary

· Ron Johnston - Grayson High

· Joan Tullis - Harbins Elementary

· Brandon Wilson - Harmony Elementary

· Ana Sanchez - Hooper Renwick School

· Kim Johnson - Richard Hull Middle

· Brenda Humphrey - Glenn C. Jones Middle

· Nadia Levdanskaya - Lilburn Elementary

· Michael Bryant - Lilburn Middle

· Larry Campbell - Lovin Elementary

· Jed Clark - J.C. Magill Elementary

· Anka Dendic - J.P. McConnell Middle

· Senada Ajanic - McKendree Elementary

· Lidia Beganovic - Mill Creek High

· Semija Causevic - Rebecca Minor Elementary

· Kenneth Butler - Monarch School

· Jean Lyron - Mountain Park Elementary

· Camila Vugdalic - Mulberry Elementary

· Valerie Anderson - Norcross Elementary

· Branka Zubcevic - Oakland Meadow School

· Steve Nunley - Frank N. Osborne Middle

· Gabriela Dan - Parsons Elementary

· Dmitriy Krudu - Henry Partee Elementary

· Jacob Margau - Patrick Elementary

· Tom Dray - Pickneyville Middle

· Gloria Green - Puckett's Mill Elementary

· Bianca Portwood - Louise Radloff Middle

· Brenda Crawford - Rock Springs Elementary

· Beth Wilson - Rosebud Elementary

· Lisa Mosley - Simonton Elementary

· Ane Elliott - Simpson Elementary

· Ronda Price - Suwanee Elementary

· Margie Greeson - Sweetwater Middle

· Connie Fulcher - Sycamore Elementary

· Joseph Alexander - Trickum Middle

· Clemente Amable - Trip Elementary

· Gabriela Amariei - Walnut Grove Elementary

· Loyd Eubanks - White Oak Elementary

· Carol Back - Margaret Winn Holt Elementary

· Mike Wahl - Central Offices

Source: Gwinnett County Public Schools