Flora Lara

Flora Lara “Ms. Lara”

W.T. Henning Elementary School
Sulphur, LA

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Ms. Lara’s Bio

W.T. Henning Elementary School is the designated English Language Learners School in the Calcasieu Parish district, and even though it is not listed in her job description as the school’s janitor, Mrs. Lara happily serves as an English-Spanish translator when needed. Her sweet spirit and smile is contagious, as is her hardworking and determined personality. Whether there’s a massive mess in the bathroom, or another garden snake spotted in a classroom, Mrs. Lara is there to take care of it. For over 10 years, Mrs. Lara has gone above and beyond her call of duty to ensure every student and teacher at W.T. Henning Elementary feels welcome, and has a squeaky clean classroom to not only learn in, but thrive in.

Frank Hernandez

Frank Hernandez “Mr. Frank”

Kalmiopsis Elementary School
Brookings, OR

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Frank Hernandez’s Bio

Most Kalmiopsis students start their school day off with a smile and a wave from Mr. Frank, proudly sporting his yellow crossing guard vest, as he makes sure each child and their school projects make it inside safely. Upon entering the school, students are greeted with brightly colored columns that look like crayons, painted by Mr. Frank himself. After ensuring Kalmiopsis is the cleanest school on the West Coast, Mr. Frank spends the school day encouraging students to take part in the school’s recycling program and offers a helping hand to students with special needs. When the final bell rings, the nearly 800 students of Kalmiopsis leave the school with a wave, and sometimes a piece of candy, from Mr. Frank, who then leaves the school for his second job. For Frank, Kalmiopsis isn’t just the place he works, “it’s a place where teachers come to transform children’s lives and children come to thrive and learn.”

Bob Cook

Bob Cook “Mr. Bob”

Sands Montessori
Cincinnati, OH

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Bob Cook’s Bio

Before kicking off a new school year at Sands Montessori, teachers and faculty gather for an annual cookout where they can expect their beloved janitor, Mr. Bob, to grill up his famous burgers, hot dogs and side dishes. When school is in session, Mr. Bob is always around to give fist bumps to students, fill flat tires for parents, keep the school’s vegetable garden flourishing and participate in any and every school event. In fact, when Sands Montessori kicked off their Play 50 program, Mr. Bob happily stepped out on stage in a tutu and wig, earning a thunderous roar of applause and giggles from over 700 students. While he does have a silly side, Mr. Bob is also known for his kind, gentle and caring spirit as he handles tough situations with ease. When funds run low, Mr. Bob steps in and buys the supplies needed to keep Sands Montessori a clean, tidy and safe learning environment for all.

Rita Corona

Rita Corona “Rita”

University of Illinois at Chicago
Chicago, IL

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Rita Corona’s Bio

At the University of Illinois at Chicago, Rita Corona is known as a fairy godmother, watching over the enormous campus made up of thousands of students, faculty members and visitors. Upon arriving every day, Rita greets the English-speaking staff and Spanish-speaking staff, and often provides an impromptu Spanish lesson. With Rita’s magical touch, no muddy footprints, pipe leak or mess goes ignored. On several occasions, Rita has come across lost personal items, from debit cards to large checks, and made certain they were returned to their owners as quickly as possible. Similarly, when Rita noticed items missing from staff desks, she put her detective cap on and located the stolen items, as well as the individual responsible for the theft. Thanks to Rita, the bustling university located at the heart of the Windy City becomes a cleaner, safer place every day.

Lazaro Calderon

Lazaro Calderon “Lazaro”

St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic School
Miami, FL

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Lazaro Calderon’s Bio

Lazaro Calderon, otherwise affectionately known as “Abuelo Lazaro” and the “cool guy” at St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic School, is more than a janitor – he’s family. Not a day goes by without Lazaro asking how the teachers and students are doing, and if there’s anything he can do to make their day better. He forms relationships with each and every student, from the kindergarteners to the eighth graders, by making time to have fun, play games and even dance! For many students, St. Thomas is a second home, and Lazaro makes sure it’s always clean and in in tip-top condition. Over the years, Lazaro’s upbeat personality and inspirational bits of advice has taught hundreds of children how to enjoy life and live it to the fullest.

Kris Pomp

Kris Pomp “Mr. Pomp”

East Dale Elementary School
Fairmont, West Virginia

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Kris Pomp’s Bio

Mr. Pomp, East Dale Elementary School’s very own superhero, is always “swooping in” to save the day. Armed with his positive attitude and handy mop and broom, Mr. Pomp utilizes his superpowers to outwit whatever villainous challenges East Dale Elementary School may face. With a “KAPOW!” and a “WHAM!” he conquers clogged toilets with ease and rescues students and staff from slippery, snowy sidewalks. Every week, Mr. Pomp puts on his charitable cape and assists with East Dale’s Honey Bag distribution – a local backpack program that provides meals to children who would otherwise not have access to food during the weekends or breaks – and participates in the school’s Positive Behavior and Intervention and Support Program. With a heroic heart and a friendly smile, Mr. Pomp isn’t just a superhero, he’s a true everyday hero.

Mark Zaidel

Mark Zaidel “Mr. Z”

Harris Hill Elementary School
Williamsville, NY

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Mark Zaidel’s Bio

Mark Zaidel, a beloved janitor at Harris Hill Elementary School, wears many hats throughout the school year. From dressing up as Santa Claus during the school’s annual holiday concert to wearing a funny cowboy hat while mowing the grass, Mr. Z always knows how to put a smile on a student’s face. When an infamous Buffalo blizzard hits, Mr. Z is the first person to act, paving paths for little feet to enter the school safe and sound. And when a child loses a tooth at school, and evidently misplaces it, Mr. Z puts on his Tooth Fairy hat and comes to the rescue with a pouch of cool shark teeth he keeps on hand for this very occasion, allowing kids to keep one and put under their pillow. While Mr. Z is known for his creative and funny personality, he’s also known for his endless compassion and is always looking out for kids with special needs, helping them feel like part of the community in any way that he can.

Dennis Stadler

Dennis Stadler “Doc”

Lake Country School
Hartland, Wisconsin

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Dennis Stadler’s Bio

From searching far and wide for missing mittens to diving deep into dumpsters to retrieve a lost retainer, Doc Stadler isn’t just a janitor, he’s the backbone of Lake Country School. For 34 years, Doc has gone above and beyond his daily cleaning duties by building friendships with students and staff, and counseling elementary children through anxiety, bullying, peer pressure and more. When a student required daily insulin, Doc stepped up and took a Red Cross class, becoming the student’s mentor in diabetes management and helping with daily injections. Doc even remembers every student who has walked the halls of Lake Country Elementary, and students remember him fondly, oftentimes returning years later to thank him for his guidance, support and kindness. With a funny demeanor, positive attitude and a constant willingness to help, Doc has a heart bigger than all of Hartland.

Jeff Crecelius

Jeff Crecelius “Jeff”

Francisco Elementary School
Francisco, IN

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Jeff Crecelius’s Bio

Francisco Elementary experienced the 2018 Olympics in style, thanks to their hardworking janitor, Jeff Crecelius, who built a custom flag holder, torch and podium for a school-wide Olympic unit. If it were up to the teachers and students, Jeff would win a gold medal every day for always going above and beyond his custodial expectations. From brewing hot coffee in the mornings and handing out homemade lunches for faculty in the afternoon, to decorating the school halls and classrooms for the holidays and helping students learn how to tie their shoes, Jeff truly does it all. Over the last 10 years, Jeff has never failed to find time to hand out small gifts to teachers “just because” or fix up sports equipment for the next big school game. To students and staff, Jeff is an irreplaceable member of the Francisco Elementary family.

Rudy Hernandez

Rudy Hernandez “Mr. Rudy”

Tozer Elementary School
Windsor, CO

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Rudy Hernandez’s Bio

Tozer Elementary School’s building is over 50 years old, but you wouldn’t know it thanks to Rudy Hernandez, the school’s inspiring janitor. For many students, Mr. Rudy is a role model. By watching him work, students learn the importance of trying their best, persevering even when the task at hand seems impossible and never being too busy to offer a kind gesture. And for many teachers, Mr. Rudy is a life saver. When a struggling student needs help, Mr. Rudy doesn’t hesitate, whether it means having to sit down and read a book with a student or zip up several puffy coats on the way to recess. After more than 20 years at Tozer Elementary, Mr. Rudy is not only a veteran janitor, but has made a lasting impact on all of the teachers, students, parents and extended community in Windsor, Colorado.