Corey Banks, a custodial Services Supervisor and proud South Oak Cliff Golden Bear, is committed to uplifting his community through his leadership position.
With 23 years of service under his belt, Banks manages over 80 custodial services employees who ensure the day-to-day smooth operations of 23 Dallas ISD campuses in southern Dallas. Part of his secret sauce for success stems from valuable lessons on collaboration and determination that he learned during his teenage years at South Oak Cliff High (SOC).
“I am who I am today because of the education that I received here at South Oak Cliff,” he said during an interview last year. “The love that I have for this building and for this school community is off the charts. Golden Bears bleed gold and white!”
Like him, Bank’s father graduated from a Dallas ISD school, and both of his uncles are SOC alumni. His mother graduated from Pinkston High and worked for Dallas ISD for more that 30 years, in the Sarah Zumwalt Middle School attendance office and later in Accounting at the Administration Building.
Banks finished high school in the top 20 percent of his graduating class in 1991. Decades later, both of his sons – Corey Jr. and Kendrick Banks – graduated from SOC in 2016 and 2018, respectively. Like their father, both brothers finished in the top 20 percent of their graduating class.
We spoke with Banks about his love for SOC, his best high school lessons, and the impact he wishes to have in his community.
What is South Oak Cliff High School to you?
SOC is a school of tradition. It’s a school that is loved by the community. A school known and respected by the state. Growing up as a Golden Bear was an experience that taught me how to be mentally strong and prepared me for life. It taught me teamwork, dedication, perseverance and respect. Our teachers cared about our education and our growth for the future. We trusted the process and I was under the leadership of two amazing principals, Dr. Todd and Mr. Waylan Wallace. They were personable and always had our best interest in mind. The school was old and full of history and pride. Like every high school, South Oak Cliff had its challenges, but we owned and loved our school regardless.
Tell me about a lesson that you learned in high school that still applies today.
At SOC, I learned perseverance, I learned discipline and hard work, and I carry that over to my job. Dealing with 23 campuses, you have multiple personalities and you have to be strong and learn how to be attentive to everybody’s needs. You have to push and weather the storms, to make sure that things are moving at a rate that’s pleasing the customer.
During our senior year, our class had the opportunity to join a play called Blues, Beat, Bumps. A South Oak Cliff graduate came and sang with us and taught us the play, which was about the music from the ‘60s through the ‘90s. We had wardrobe changes, dances, acting, everything. And that resonated the most with me because we all came together, all of us got really close and it taught us how to work together as a team. It taught us team-building and depending and trusting that someone else on a team has their part. It showed us versatility and how to depend on one another.
That was a great learning experience for me at SOC. And that was one of many great experiences, because I was also into sports. I played football, basketball, ran track and won games. And all of those experiences also taught me about perseverance and team building, and were great and memorable too.
How would you convince your sons that the next generation of Banks should be Golden Bears?
I don’t think I’d have to convince them or encourage them a lot, because they love SOC just as much as I do.
South Oak Cliff is an outstanding school in the inner city, located in the southern sector in a traditionally historic building and with outstanding support from the community. The people that go to South Oak Cliff High want to make sure that their community is recognized, uplifted, and brought to a point where it should be. Like me, many want their future generations to keep adding to the culture and to the commonwealth of the community.
I would tell my kids that this environment can really teach you about the importance of community.