Read each nominee’s information, provided by the person who nominated them and then vote.
These nominations are from the many Rock Star nominations submitted from around the nation over the last 10 months, all of which meet the qualifications outlined by the Rock Star program;
- Utilize Resources
- Service to Others
- Take Ownership
Voting will be open through midnight, December 15, 2020.
Award will be announced, January 2021.
Aaron Medina – Janie Howard Wilson Elementary School – Lake Wales, FL. Here is what Linda Ray had to say when she nominated Aaron.
“Aaron takes pride in his work and does more than custodial work. He helps with our students, technology problems on campus, and most of all, he is a shining, bright star for our school.
Aaron is always positive, motivational, and kind. He networks with other custodians regarding new techniques in cleaning effectively and arranged training for our staff. He tutors and assist with our students.
Aaron takes initiative to solve problems on his on and works overtime to complete tasks and insists on not wanting to be compensated. He is one of the happiest persons I have encountered. Aaron is a problem solver who includes everyone in the group.
I have to insist that he takes a break. He gives students accolades when completing a difficult task in class and checks up on their progress. Aaron Medina is very encouraging to our entire school community.”
Bennie Harold – Palm Middle School – Moreno, CA – Here is what Jeff Peyton had to say when he nominated Bennie.
“Mr. Harold is highly efficient and reports work orders promptly, no more than 24 hours after requested. More often or not, he is the one reporting on repairs that he personally noticed as he makes his rounds. Likewise, he always carries his radio and responds promptly to administrators when they call for anything, especially emergencies. His communications skills are top-notch and he is quick to notify staff when he is going to be off-campus, be it for an absence or lunch break.
Not only is Bennie head custodian, but he also serves on the schools’ safety committee. The reason I mention this is because the district has safety credits and awards schools the opportunity to order safety-related items. Bennie is very knowledgeable when it comes to assessing the schools’ needs and ordering supplies. He takes care of the custodial department as well as the school. He is a resource both within and outside the school, networking with other custodians and all staff members.
As mentioned previously, Bennie is an active member of our school’s Safety Committee. He comes to our monthly meeting and assists the staff in coming up with ideas to make our campus a safe place where learning can occur. He is a big part of our school, mentoring at-risk students, and modeling a solid work effort. He does not lecture or belittle students, but rather leads by example. In turn, Bennie is respected by all stakeholders, even parents. He works hard to provide the school with curb appeal and does not shy away from talking with community members.
Mistakes from Bennie are rare, but when working in a public school, miscommunication is bound to occur. When it does, Bennie is quick to take ownership. He is not a “pass the buck” guy, nor does he point the finger at subordinates. He watches the weather and the calendar. When he says rain, wind, or fire coming (we live in Southern California) he responds proactively, making the multi-purpose room available for shelter during lunch. When he knows an event is coming, he works with his crew to get the job done in a timely manner.
As a head custodian at our middle school, Bennie oversees four other custodians, one midday, and three on our night crew. He is highly relational, and his subordinates respect him. He will not ask his crew to do something he would not do. Not only is he quick to pick up the slack when we are shorthanded, but he will also avail himself to go to other schools when they are shorthanded.
I have never heard him utter a disparaging word about anyone, nor have I ever heard him complain in the three years that I have known him. He is always enthusiastic and hardworking, day in and day out. His work ethic is strong and he exudes a “get the job done” attitude, regardless of the situation.
While custodians in our district do not paint, they do an awful lot of cleaning. Their “crunch times” are summer and winter breaks as they prepare the school for opening. This involves some logistic gymnastics on behalf of our head custodian. After 15 years as an administrator and has worked with half a dozen head custodians, I can say that I have never seen a head custodian embrace the logistics of summer cleaning like Bennie.
Not only is he a master planner, but he does it with enthusiasm. He will speak at length about the different techniques for stripping and waxing a floor. He will tell me about the machines he uses and which ones are best for the job. Well in advance of a project or job, he will tell me which crew is assigned to which rooms and for what reason.
Yes, when planning, he will play on the strengths of each crew member, and he will not shy away from keeping the more difficult jobs for himself. For Bennie, the logistics of deep cleaning is a passion.”
Carmen Rodriguez – Chestnut Elementary – Poinciana, FL Here is what Nancy Ruiz had to say when she nominated Carmen.
“Carmen has 20 years of experience and every day she comes with a positive and proud attitude to work. Responsible, hard worker, with an open mind to learn every aspect of the custodial work and her surrounding has a school employee. To improve her job quality she takes classes to have a better understanding of the job.
Carmen gets involved in helping decorating activities for students and staff. In her personal life, she participates in the chorus providing a positive message to communities. Carmen has the ability to understand and care for others. As her supervisor, I have total trust in leaving her in charge while I’m not available. She always has a positive attitude in learning from others; learns from her mistakes, and is able to recognize her mistake. She takes ownership of her work. Carmen has a big heart when dealing with others. She shows empathy to staff and students.
Carmen always shows a positive attitude in different situations for example when short of staff she is always in the move on finding how to be able to work as a team. I believe that all her confidence and personality make her bring a perfect example of customer service. When assigned a task she is always determined to complete in time and finding ways and giving ideas on how we can improve the job. Carmen is a person that I can trust. She is always in a positive way but never leaving behind her priority as an employee. What I like about her is that even we have our own area she is a big part of the school staff.
She always shows teamwork. For example, now that we are living the situation with the pandemic we have to be united more than ever. She helps to take care of students in the cafeteria making sure they have a safe distance, sanitizing their hand, and wearing a mask. She teams with cafeteria staff to improve on how we can improve the safety of our students.
As mention before Carmen has a big heart and a big personality. She is always in a positive attitude in helping new staff. She has trained our new custodial staff members. Carmen Rodriguez listens shows respect and has empathy for all.“
Cleveland Foster – Bass Pro Shop – Daytona Beach, FL – Here is what Eva Jackson had to say when she nominated Cleveland.
” Cleveland has great leadership skills, organized and he communicates well with his teammates. Most importantly, he listens to his team, his managers, and the customers to be sure to provide proper feedback. Cleveland has taken many courses from Chemical Safety and use to OSHA certified to how to properly clean to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Continuously attends seminars, and online programs to improve his job knowledge as well as leadership skills.
He is an Ordained Minister who volunteers and provides free of charge, bible education to build up the faith of all those who seek to strengthen their relationship with God. A man of the highest standards of honesty and integrity.
Due to the outbreak of COVID-19, hours had to be cut. To keep his team from losing their hours he changed his pay status from salary to hourly in order to share his hours with his teammates to ensure they received a decent check during this critical time.
Cleveland works harder than his teammates to ensure tasks are done regardless whose there or absent. He is a very hands-on type of leadership. Positive influence, Positive attitude, always achieve Positive results. Looks at all challenges or obstacles as opportunities to succeed.
When a contractor reduced hours from 100 to 70 hours for the team, Cleveland adjusted his hours and the schedule accordingly, so no team member would not be without a job. He shared his hours with his teammates. Has developed cleaning and floor care plans for the facility as well as plans to develop the knowledge and skills of his team.
Cleveland is a good and honest person. He has no problem speaking up for himself and on behalf of his team. When a correction is necessary, he treats his teammates with dignity and respect by thanking and commending them for their hard work before he asked if they can pay closer attention to an area that may require a little extra love; cleaning.
As the Project Manager, Cleveland always tries to work out a schedule that’s good for each team member. This ensures 100% attendance and all shifts are covered week after week. Cleveland loves sharing his knowledge and expertise with his teammates. He has personally trained each one to provide an optimal level of professionalism and cleaning services. He always puts the interest of his company and well the being of his team and customers first. Cleveland Foster leads with a caring and honest heart, passionate about doing what is right and what is best for all.“
Leigh Ann Woodard – Traviss Tech College – Lakeland, FL Here is what Julie Williams had to say when she nominated Leigh Ann.
” Eagerness, Self Motivation, and Leadership are Leigh Ann Woodard. At work, she takes pride in her place of employment with “spot-on” work ethics. Leigh Ann is very motivated in helping others. Her custodial team, here at Traviss, respect her and her position in the field. Leigh Ann is also helping others be successful.
Leigh Ann helps in many areas of the School and gets involved where she can. Leigh Ann has self-management skills as no other person has. It’s like she doesn’t miss a beat. If something needs to be done, it gets done A.S.A.P. without being asked or told. She puts it: “If I can see it, so can others. Why not take care of the issue and move on”?
During the Summer months, when the schools are closed, the Custodians have the hard task of stripping, and waxing floors in all areas of the school. Leigh Ann leads her team to the finish line feeling accomplished. Traviss looks amazing to everyone who enters. We are so lucky to have her, to guide a team that is successful!
Leigh Ann has gone through every nook and cranny of this school, and she continually keeps her staff informed of all the measures of planning, and any improvements the college will be having. She focuses on the areas that are best for the strategies of the college with the proper measures and gets the facility looking exquisitely beautiful for the students to return.
I can’t even tell you enough, how awesome Leigh Ann is when it comes to integrity and honesty! She goes above and beyond and is always willing to help and show others how to become successful. She monitors any suspicious activities and runs a tight ship! “Personal business should be left at home”, she says. Emergencies are handled differently and with respect.
Learning new avenues is something that is a focus by the nominee. Leigh Ann is always looking for ways to enhance improvements in the workplace for the good of the morale of her team. She is a person with a big heart and is always there for an ear when she is needed. The workplace should always be a place of work but as well as fun.” Leading by example” is what is always said here at Traviss. Leigh Ann set examples of leadership on a high scale but is reachable if you want to succeed.
Although work is the #1 focus. Leigh Ann’s measure of, kindness, sympathy, and empathy is so powerful. She is always patient with her team and loves to send praise for a job well done. Leigh Ann sets examples where others can learn quickly. With the ever-changing times of society and cultures, we all need to have the patience to show each other jobs and be supportive. She has an open-door policy, that if a team member needs to vent or speak to her, she responds quickly and without hesitation, for she knows that this may reflect in one’s performance of there job. There is no ” I ” in TEAM, she says. I always hear her say, ” We all work together as a family, and Families Succeed”.
Ray Casher – New Rochelle High School – New Rochelle, NY Here is what Keith Watkins had to say when he nominated Ray.
With the recent COVID-19 outbreak, and is deemed the “epicenter of COVID”, Ray has overseen the food distribution of over 3000 meals per day and the implementation of new products and preventative measures that will assist us in creating a safe and clean environment for our 3400 students and 350 staff at this location. Ray continues to bring out the best in those around him and foster “buy-in” towards the cause and purpose.
Ray demands others’ attention and what they bring to the table. He holds others accountable and makes sure communication is clear and precise and that others know what’s expected of them. Ray is continually checking in with all department heads to make sure they have what they need and that all customer service representatives are visible and reporting as needed. His display of leadership has spilled over to our other 10 locations serving our more than 11,000 students, 2200 faculty, and community members.
Ray has volunteered his time for many events and stayed before and after his assigned shift to make sure student-related events are successful and beneficial. Having years of emergency preparedness experience and as a 911 operator, and serving 20 plus years in the US Coast Guard, Ray has incredible insight and support skills to keep people calm and engaged. Ray never looks past an opportunity to help others in need.
Ray has always led by example and feels this is what has made him so successful. Others have learned to improve their own work ethic and dedication by working alongside Ray. What was once perceived as a “reactive” crew of 31 members in a 520,000 sq. ft. facility, has become a proactive and attentive crew due to Ray and his leadership by example motto.
You’ll hear Ray say “Just glad to a part of the team” frequently. He’s so proud of what the team represents and can accomplish together. He’s always smiling and looking for the next opportunity to achieve a task or goal. Ray has never said no to anything requested of him and has been very creative in getting tasks done, even when requests or tasks seemed insurmountable.
Again, Ray has led by example and takes the time to make sure all staff are set up for success. He cares and wants to make sure everyone feels as if they’re contributing and maximizes what talents and skills they bring to the table.
Ray has been a huge asset in implementing many of our new protocols and procedures. Ray is flexible and fair and can be regularly seen “inspecting what he’s expecting”. Ray’s integrity can be witnessed on a daily basis and holds himself just as accountable as he does others.
Ray started out quiet and reserved and many thought he would be a pushover. Little did they know his quietness was merely him taking notes and planning. Ray’s leadership qualities are exemplary and he’s all about making those around him better, he is truly a born leader.
Ray is supportive and very patient, something he has helped me learn as well. Ray always makes each opportunity a chance to learn and help staff become better. He pairs staff with different capabilities together to help foster growth where it’s needed. Building better, more efficient individuals is a strong suit for Ray, and he is very good at it. Ray looks at everyone as a human being with feelings and purpose and lets them know it.”
Tony Brown – East Glacier Park Grade School – East Glacier Park, MT Here is what Shayna Schildt had to say when she nominated Tony.
Tony is the only custodian we have in our K-8 school, so he holds all responsibilities of the cleaning and building maintenance. He communicates by phone and email when there is business needing to be done with people coming to work with him, do safety inspections, or when he has to order things.
Tony is responsible for outside maintenance. This includes everything from mowing our grounds, cleaning up broken glass on the basketball courts, and shoveling snow during our winters. (we sometimes get 5 feet in one night!) He also has to clean off the school vehicles and keep them running well and fully gassed up.
Tony has been at our school for 13 years and continues to show up and get his job done every day, his attendance is great, and he runs and maintains our boiler safely that heats our school. He has to pass safety inspections and attend training to stay up to date with the boiler and school.
Tony is able to communicate effectively and has a great relationship with the admin, the business manager, and with the teachers and students. He does everything in a timely manner and is able to keep up with all requests of the staff when we need him to take care of extra things such as cleaning up messes, puke, blood, urine, and so much more.
Tony is an all-around great guy, he has a good relationship with all staff, students, and parents. He is always laughing and joking around. He is also our wrestling coach and drives our students whenever we need him to. He is always willing to help out and never complains no matter what the task.
Tony can adjust easily and is flexible in his cleaning schedule. He gets to work early all winter to make sure that the building is warm when the kids and staff arrive for work. When he needs to make adjustments, he does it when asked. During the last 7 months of COVID-19, his duties have shifted and he has changed his routine and taken on the extra cleaning that needs to happen to keep everyone safe and able to be in the building.
Tony does not use anything the school has for his personal use, everything is for the school and about what is best for the kids. When he is at work, he does what he is there to do, and only takes a day off when his legs are bothering him and he has to go to the Dr. for his legs. (He lost in legs in a train accident over 20 years ago and sometimes the job is very hard on him).
If Tony needs something or thinks of an idea that will make the school run more smoothly, and he can be a part of that, then he does it. He speaks up when he thinks of these things and communicates them to the staff or administrator. He never throws anything away that a student may care about, and picks out every pencil, toy, etc to set on the desks so the teacher can go through it. What he does is stressful on his body, and exhausting, but he never complains and always comes to work with a great attitude.
Tony is happy for others and always ready to help anyone when they need it. The students love him and so does the staff. We are so grateful that we can all come to work and have a good relationship with him. Feeling safe and comfortable with the custodian is a great benefit for everyone. Tony has a strong work ethic and gets along with everyone who comes into the building. He is a wonderful coach and teaches the kids about things that are important in both sports, school, and life.”
Wilma Hipp – Forney Learning Academy – Forney, TX – Here is what Lisa Kelly Fitch had to say when she nominated Wilma.
“Miss Wilma is a part of the Forney Learning Academy family. She checks in the needs of the staff and students alike. She communicates with other campuses about needs and checks in with our campus RN to assure we are protected and following all protocols. Miss Wilma brings items for students (i.e., she has brought shoes to students in need) as well as participates in all campus activities.
Oh my gosh! Miss Wilma takes ownership of our building as our own home. She decorates, she keeps it amazingly clean, she takes care of the out of doors (sweeping, picking up, ice on the walk, etc). Our building looks amazing and it is all due to her.
Miss Wilma is always cheerful and uplifting. Her interactions with students are positive and she knows many by name. She is a systems thinker. She plans and works ahead on all projects. Not only does she NEVER take advantage in any way, but the extras (decorating, items for kids) also come from her own pocket.
Miss Wilma often comes to me with ideas on how best to address any problems we are experiencing (i.e., boys urinating on the floor, trash after lunch). She works directly with the kid is in a positive and teaching manner to grow their behaviors, not shame them.
We are a small campus and Miss Wilma is our only custodian. That being said, she nurtures our staff and students. She is an integral member of our family and is much more than a custodian. She fills many roles and looks for ways to make us a better place.“