American Education Week - Operations/Maintenance Staff Appreciation Day
The Operations and Maintenance Departments provide regular upkeep to school facilities. About 720 staff members are responsible for maintaining all physical aspects of 100 facilities that encompass more than 12 million square feet. Employees include custodians, groundskeepers, plant engineers, electricians, HVAC technicians, warehouse staff, and managers.
These men and women provide preventive maintenance on equipment and minor repairs on facilities. Other responsibilities include the upkeep of communications services, disposal of hazardous materials, asbestos management, indoor air quality detection, rental of school properties, and liaison to fire marshals and OSHA inspectors. In addition, many schools have earned the Energy Star rating for implementing energy-saving strategies school-wide, meaning students and staffs are contributing to the overall energy savings of the district.
Cassandra Brayboy has the unique role of being the only female electrician in the O/M department. She joined the district about three years ago, but previously spent 20 years working as an electrician in New York.
“I have the responsibility of keeping the lights on in our schools,” she said. “The teacher’s job is a lot easier when the lights are working and the heating and air are running.” Cassy’s job includes changing ballasts, replacing outside pole lights, installing outlets and breakers, and making sure there are enough outlets to keep the computers powered up.
For more than 32 years, Jackie Gibson has maintained the grounds at Berea Middle School. She has earned the respect of every teacher, student, co-worker, and faculty member, and has made a significant difference because she meticulously cleans, sweeps, mows, and even comes in on the weekends to ensure the school grounds are well maintained.
“I love what I do,” she said. “I am happy when parents and teachers tell me ‘it’s looking good out here.’ I’m doing an honest job and I take pride in my work.”
Jerry McJunkin has spent 30 years serving Greenville County Schools in the Grounds Division. His current position as crew chief gives him responsibility for the upkeep of 29 schools in one area of the district. “My job is to take care of school grounds. I cut grass, edge the sidewalks, drive the truck, work the backhoe, trim bushes, and spread mulch,” he said. Throughout the year, he and the crews are responsible for removing dead and fallen tree limbs for mulch. Other grounds employees are responsible for fences and signs as well as operating heavy equipment to dig up water and sewer pipes when they burst.
“We keep the schools going,” Jerry said. “We are responsible for keeping their grounds beautiful. Students want to be proud of their school. They want their parents to see their school looking good. What we do makes a positive impact on parents, visitors and the community.”
Congratulations and appreciation are extended to the Operations and Maintenance staff for their outstanding service to students and schools!