Dallas ISD’s Custodial Services teams are committed to creating a clean, healthy environment for students across the district, and we are thanking them by highlighting their efforts in honor of National Custodian Day on Oct. 2.
Maria Ceja—the lead custodian at Greiner Middle School and one of the district’s more than 900 custodians—has called Dallas ISD home for the past 26 years. She arrived with 20 years of experience working with adults, but when she came to Yvonne A, Ewell Townview Center, she quickly realized she had a passion for supporting students. That passion only grew when she moved to Margaret B. Henderson Elementary School and then to W.W. Greiner Exploratory Arts Academy, where she has spent the past decade.
“I absolutely love the students,” she said. “Many of the students at Henderson Elementary come to Greiner, so I know everybody. They look at me like I am their aunt or their grandma, because I know them and I know all their families.”
Ceja is intentional about supporting each and every student, especially those who may be struggling to stay in school.
“I always stop to talk to them,” she said. “I tell them, ‘I need to see you in class, and I need to see you at graduation.’ When you make it there, bring me a graduation invitation. And they do. A lot of them come back and invite me to their high school and college graduation ceremonies.”
Serving as a custodian in Dallas ISD requires being fast, focused, flexible and friendly, and Ceja imparts those lessons to her team every day. Their schedules are often busy, as each custodian oversees 20-25 classrooms and has limited time to spend in each one, but Ceja said it is all worth it to create the kind of environment for students that she would want for her own family members.
Aaron Stephens, assistant director of Custodial Services, could not agree more.
“Custodial Services’ ultimate goal is to provide the safest environment for our students and to eliminate any distractions that could impede learning,” he said. “It’s very hard work, but we have an amazing staff whose teamwork is driving us forward. Thanks to them, we have been able to make a huge impact at all Dallas ISD schools.”
Help us show appreciation for custodians across the district by:
- Telling them “thank you,” whether it is in person, through a handwritten note or on social media.
- Hosting an appreciation event to thank them for their service and get to know them better.
- Collecting and delivering thank-you notes from staff or students to brighten their day.
“The most important part is the students,” Ceja said. “I really take pride in what I do to help them learn, and I feel like I am doing what I am supposed to be doing.”