Angel Aviles

Angel Aviles “Angel”

Main Street School
Irvington, New York

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Angel Aviles' Bio

Years at School: 6 with the school, 17 in district

BIO: Keeping a 100-year-old building filled with energetic elementary students in great shape can be a difficult task – but not for Angel Aviles, Main Street School’s beloved custodian. When the school built a community garden, Angel contributed by creating a custom gazebo with a chalkboard and unique watering system. His green thumb went even further to help the school launch a full-scale recycling program that included redesigned bins and signage while also partnering with the local Farmer’s Market to cart away food scraps on weekly basis. Whether he’s climbing the fire ladder to take pictures of the whole school (even though he’s scared of heights) or spending his weekend installing a new playground for the kids, Angel takes his responsibilities to new heights.

Micah Bootz

Micah Bootz “Mr. Bootz”

Sullivan Elementary School
Green Bay, Wisconsin

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Micah Bootz’s Bio

Years at School: 3

BIO: With more than 620 students and nearly 100 staff members, Sullivan is Green Bay’s largest elementary school and requires someone who can keep up with it all through rain, shine and record-breaking snowstorms. Luckily, Mr. Bootz is the perfect man for the job. A former teacher, Mr. Bootz is a natural with the students and is often found giving out fist-bumps, sitting beside students who could use a buddy at lunch and editing a student’s news story for the school’s digital newspaper. Serving on the Green Bay District Interview Team, Mr. Bootz works hard to secure the best custodians to serve in over 40 districts. Even when the week is over, Mr. Bootz takes the time to drive by the school on the weekends to ensure the sidewalks aren’t icy and stops by the store to pick up extra school supplies for those in need.

Aristeo Flores

Aristeo Flores

Scotts Valley Middle School
Scotts Valley, California

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Aristeo Flores’ Bio

Years at School: 17

Aristo Flores always has a warm, kind smile on his face. Over the last 17 years, his gentle demeanor, sense of humor and hard work has left a positive impact on Scotts Valley Middle School. For the last two and a half years, Aristeo has been instrumental in keeping the school moving forward during a major construction project. He has helped all teachers and staff move from classroom to classroom, to storage to gymnasium, to theater to storage, and back again! He is always willing to lend a hand even when the task takes extra time and isn't part of his normal routine. Students and staff are grateful for his steadfast presence and interest in the well-being of all.

Miguel Cuellar

Miguel Cuellar "Mr. Miguel"

McKinley Elementary
San Francisco, California

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Miguel Cuellar’s Bio

Years at School: 17

BIO: Most children don’t fight over who gets to sweep up the messy cafeteria floor, but if it means getting to spend some quality time with Mr. Miguel, McKinley Elementary School’s custodian, the line of students extends down the hall! After working at the school for 17 years, Mr. Miguel has become an integral part of the school community. From putting in overtime to help with renovations that allowed the school to meet handicap and earthquake regulations, to speaking Spanish with Hispanic students to ensure they feel welcomed and valued, Mr. Miguel goes above and beyond all expectations to make the school a clean, fun and thriving learning environment.

Howard Edwards

Howard Edwards “Mr. Howard”

Cardinal John Foley Regional
Catholic School
Havertown, Pennsylvania

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Howard Edwards’ Bio

Years at School: 2.5

BIO: When it comes to holidays, Mr. Howard doesn’t cut corners. On Valentine’s Day, Mr. Howard always hands out candy to the girls, and on “National Boys Day,” the young men receive icy treats. And when the principal’s birthday came around, Mr. Howard brought in a homemade cake and catered  lunch. Between celebrations and school events, Mr. Howard teaches sewing classes as a part of the school’s elective program and even produced colorful costumes for the school’s production of Mary Poppins. Whether he’s saving a parking spot for a student with a broken leg or telling a joke to a child in need of cheering up, Mr. Howard’s heart of gold shines all day, every day.

Debi Hess

Debi Hess “Miss Debi”

Berry Intermediate
Lebanon, Ohio

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Debi Hess’ Bio

Years at School: 17

BIO: Miss Debi responds to all types of calls throughout the day – retrieving kickballs from the roof, helping students get into their jammed lockers and even filling in for a bus driver when one calls in sick! During the holiday season, Berry Intermediate is graced with Miss Debi’s holiday décor, including a holiday photoshoot area that features a happy snowman and sled for students to smile and strike a pose. Known for her generosity, kind smile and fearlessness, Miss Debi makes every school day a memorable one for every student and faculty member.

Don Killingsworth

Don Killingsworth “Mr. Don”

Sevilla West Elementary School
Phoenix, Arizona

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Don Killingsworth’s Bio

Years at School: 10

BIO: Mr. Don, otherwise known affectionately as Pelón (‘bald man’ in Spanish) to Sevilla West Elementary students, always goes the extra mile to mentor kids around campus, especially those who may not have a strong father figure in their lives. For more than 10 years, Don has been responsible for keeping the campus clean and cheerful, and in return, has become somewhat of a celebrity to students. He continually extends his generosity to the community by donating clothing, shoes and even cell phones to those who need it most. Whether he’s wearing his crosswalk-duty uniform or dressing up as Santa Claus to read the Polar Express to students, Don is a true hero without a cape.

Graham McVay

Graham McVay “Graham”

Trenton High School
Trenton, Missouri

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Graham McVay’s Bio

Years at School: 31

BIO: Trenton may be a small town in Missouri, but it is home to a huge celebrity: Graham McVay, the custodian at Trenton High School for the last 31 years. Students who graduated and have children of their own in the school system still fondly recall Graham’s upbeat attitude, kindness and impressive memory that has never forgotten a single student’s name. When a teacher accidently left his wedding ring in a school restroom or when a baby dropped her pacifier during a sports event, Graham immediately knew who to return the items to. At the end of the year, Graham can always be found at the senior graduation ceremony, cheering on another group of students who will remember him forever.

Tim Persenaire

Tim Persenaire “Mr. Tim”

Knapp Forest Elementary School and
Orchard View Elementary
Grand Rapids, Michigan

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Tim Persenaire’s Bio

Years at School: 37

BIO: There’s no job too big or too gross for Mr. Tim, the custodian at two Grand Rapid elementary schools for nearly 40 years. This winter, students and faculty have had 13 snow days, but Mr. Tim has had none, always showing up early to shovel and salt sidewalks in freezing temperatures. He even created several large snow hills for students to play on during recess! Being only one of three custodians in two large school districts, Mr. Tim has an endless to-do list, but he always makes time for curious children – whether they want to know how to change a light bulb or how he builds the sets for an upcoming musical or play.

Nick Sifuentes

Nick Sifuentes “Nick”

Hogan Cedars Elementary School
Gresham, Oregon

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Nick Sifuentes’ Bio

Years at School: 17

BIO: Hogan Cedars Elementary School recently awarded its Above and Beyond the Call of Duty (ABCD) Award to its custodian, Nick Sifuentes, for his outstanding service and dedication to the school. Committed to building positive relationships with students who need extra support and attention, Nick is often found greeting children as they start their day and leading the school’s Green Team and recycling program. Nick proudly serves on the Safety and Wellness Committee and Resource Team and approaches all challenges with a “can-do” attitude. Above all, Nick exemplifies the school’s motto: Engaging Hearts and Minds Every Day.