It's often a thankless job, done behind the scenes.
However school custodians keep the lights on, the heat running and the entire building safe. And Building and Grounds Supervisor/Safety Coordinator Jeremiah Johnson is making sure that the job does not stay thankless.
This year, Frank Bieniewski, who works at Mill Valley, was given the honor of Custodian of the Year, an award that is fairly new in the district.
"We have our Compass Award winners and I wasn't sure we wanted to go that route," Johnson said. "However, I know the hard work that these people do is unseen to many, and it's vital to the operation and safety of the school."
Bienewski was chosen among 40 custodians throughout the district, who also helped develop the criteria for the award last year. His involvement in improving the school over the past year meant that Mill Valley led the district in energy cost avoidance at nearly 44 percent, and in the amount of jobs that were completed.
"He's been extremely dependable, and handy to the point that many of the things we would normally have to hire an outside contractor to do he handled himself," Johnson explained.
Bienewski was also the first custodian to voluntarily participate in a school safety team, which regularly inspects the building for security issues. He was nominated by his principal, teachers, custodians, and aides in a district that he has worked for since 1980.
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