Oftentimes we only focus on the impact that teachers and principals have on learning and education, but the impact that other staff like our custodians and nutrition services team members make behind the scenes can not be overstated.
When you ask Paxton Heifner, Lead Custodian at Rocky Mountain Elementary School, what his favorite part of his job is, without hesitation he says, “The kids are the best, when they see me and say ‘hi Paxton’ that’s really cute, that makes me smile.” Heifner has been Rocky Mountain’s lead custodian for the last three and a half years. “When I started at Rocky Mountain, the first class to greet me were the second graders, and now they’re fifth graders,” shares Heifner. “Just being able to watch them grow up is something special.”
For Heifner, the combination of staff and students, “is what makes Rocky Mountain a great school to work at.” Building relationships not only with students but also with staff, makes a big difference for Heifner. “It’s important to like the people you work with, you have to be able to find those joyous moments, even when times are hard,” says Heifner.
As the fifth graders prepare to move onto middle school, Heifner has a few words of advice. “Middle school might be hard, but if you work hard you’ll make it. Try to find your real friends, those that will go to high school with you, because they will become your true friends, and good luck!”
When you sit down with Cynthia Adler, Kitchen Manager at Rocky Mountain Elementary School, and her team, you immediately feel the love they each have for the students. Cynthia has spent the last 23 years serving and building relationships with students. “Being able to interact with the students, whether it’s taking breakfast to their classroom in the mornings or watching them come into the lunchroom, those are my favorite day-to-day moments,” says Adler.
“Watching kids grow is one of my favorite moments,” says Paz Rios, Rocky Mountain Elementary School Kitchen Staff, who has been there for 10 years. “When they see you with a smile, that makes their day better – I try my best to make it a place where they feel comfortable.” Working as a team is something that they each strive for. “We spend a lot of time together, not only us, but the kids spend most of their day at school, we have become one family,” says Rios. “I may not know each of the student’s individual circumstances, but my job here is to treat them well, and treat them as if they were my own family.”
Adler believes that one main reason they work so well together is that “we listen to each other’s ideas. One thing might work better for them in a certain way than it does for me, and that’s okay.” Miriam Kramer, Rocky Mountain Elementary School Kitchen Staff, who has been there just a short time, sees the great impact working as a team has on all of the students. “I can truly say that my favorite part of my job is when I get to prepare the food for the kids, but I would not be able to do my job without everyone else,” shared Kramer.
Adler has seen her share of students come and go from Rocky Mountain in her 23 years of service, and still today Rocky Mountain Elementary School has a special place in her heart. “I have never thought about going to work at a different school, Rocky Mountain is my home, it’s my family!”