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Dedicated Custodians Receive High Praise

Outstanding custodians in the Long Beach Unified School District have earned a reputation for contributing to the education of students. These hardworking unsung heroes go beyond the call of duty each day to make a difference in young lives. Three custodians in particular received glowing reviews of their performance as recent nominees for the district's Classified Employee of the Year Award, the top honor for classroom support employees. In nomination forms submitted by admiring co-workers and supervisors, the three received glowing reviews of their performance. A 2002 nominee and finalist, Rodney Jones, was then a custodian at Jefferson Middle School. (He is now a new fifth grade teacher at Addams Elementary School.) "In addition to his custodial duties, which he does well and with pride, Rodney is a technology expert who helps with computer problems on his own time. He mentors students, is an active member of our School Site Council, and is a positive role model for everyone. "Rodney talks with students about his college studies and his goal of becoming a teacher. He follows his own self-imposed dress code, wearing a uniform polo shirt daily. He is always pleasant and willing to do whatever is asked of him and always with a smile. Rodney is an exemplary custodian and classified employee, but more importantly, he is an exemplary human being." 2003 nominee Joe Velasquez was then a custodian and is now custodian supervisor at Hudson School. "Mr. Velasquez is extremely supportive of our educational environment at Hudson by always being available to help staff members who need assistance. When you call for him, he’s always there willing to help and always with a smile. "Joe goes out of his way to mentor our students, giving them advice about proper conduct at school. Joe is the kind of employee who enjoys his job. He enjoys working with others, and he makes sure his job is done well. In fact, you only have to ask Joe once, and you know it’s done. He helps to make Hudson a good place for students to learn and for the staff to work." 2003 nominee Gene Wendell is custodian supervisor at Gompers Elementary School. "Gene Wendell’s determination and commitment to the safety of all students and staff is apparent. He is quick to respond to every call that comes to him on the radio. His flexibility and willingness to help others make him a well-revered employee. He is always hustling to do his work and is proactive in getting to future assignments. "Mr. Wendell is a man of few words but the product of this work speaks volumes. I believe Mr. Wendell’s knees and hips can’t bend because I’ve NEVER seen him sitting down. I can honestly say that Gompers School is one of the cleanest and best-maintained campuses, not only in the Long Beach Unified School District, but in the country. This is due in large part to Mr. Wendell’s work ethic, professionalism and attention to detail."