SPS Shout Outs

Summary: Thank you to the Seattle Public Schools custodial team that consistently goes above and beyond!

Thank You School Custodians!

Seattle Public Schools is shining a spotlight on members of the SPS community who have made significant contributions to the district; people who go above and beyond in service at our schools. We received dozens of emails from staff members offering shout-outs, but none received as much praise as the custodial staff. 

Despite having 60 vacant custodial positions that add more strain to their jobs, this team of workers has been performing heroics since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. They have worked tirelessly since the shutdown March 2020, ensuring schools were cleaned, disinfected, and ready for students to return.  

When schools re-opened in April 2021, custodians were faced with staffing shortages, which led to worries of not being able to clean the schools adequately. Director of Facility Operations Frank Griffin oversees the custodial staff. He said the team stepped up and worked overtime to ensure that schools were ready for students.  

Once school started in Fall 2021, custodial staff faced even more challenges with increased workloads caused by outdoor lunches and the constant disinfecting of common surfaces was a strain on the team. But they were not deterred.  

“This team is all about serving the staff and students of SPS,” said Griffin. “They understand the importance of the role and have achieved nothing short of miracles.” 

What SPS Staff Have to Say

Read some of the praise heaped upon the custodial staff: 

From Director of Facility Operations Frank Griffin

Bounma Thongdymanyvong, Inspector and Liaison Specialist: Headed the COVID-disinfecting response to schools with confirmed COVID cases. He has worked tirelessly to ensure spaces were safe for students 

Young Wong, Custodial Engineer, Ballard High School: Trained 100+ new custodians over the course of a year. Ensured they were successful in their roles of supporting the educational process.  

Mohamed Abdalla, Custodial Engineer: Faithfully served the staff and students at Viewlands Elementary with a can-do attitude and ownership of his role in relocating the school. 

Nicole Selstead, Custodial Engineer and Roger Broz, License Assistant: Worked tirelessly to ensure that West Woodland was ready for staff and students upon reopening, juggling work with contractors, buildings staff, and various other SPS departments.  

From staff around the district

“They are simply fantastic and much appreciated,” Jim Stoltzfus, special education teacher, Blaine Middle School. 

Aaron Larson is incredible! [He is] kind, hardworking, personable, funny, thoughtful, and super communicative. Our school is so lucky to have him. Even as demands for his role have gone up over the pandemic, he’s kept an atmosphere of warmth and optimism, and our building is holistically stronger in light of his contributions,” Carrie Snow, resource teacher, Magnolia Elementary.

Walter Harris worked briefly at Sanislo Elementary but got transferred back to Denny Middle. Walter consistently goes above and beyond to build solid relationships, interact with the kids, and be a generally amazing person. Walter should be recognized for his hard work, amazing attitude, and making life better wherever he works,” Liz Jimmerson-Alaeddinoglu, first grade teacher, Sanislo Elementary School. 

Arnaldo Gando our head custodian at Lowell. He goes above and beyond,” Tracey L. Thompson, social worker, Lowell Elementary School. 

Send Us a Shout-Out!

Do you know a student or staff member who deserves a shout-out? Email publicaffairs@seattleschools.org 

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