Celebrating Maintenance Staff Appreciation Week
Suraya Shepherd

Suraya Shepherd is a co-lead teacher in the Pre-K4 Chive Room. This is her third year at St. George’s. She is a member of the StG Starting Small and JEDI Council groups. 

Children create a lot of mess. We all know that. As an Early Childhood teacher, my students create messes at lunch and snack but also while learning. At the end of most days, our classrooms are covered in playdough, paint, glue, glitter and any other material we’ve been experimenting with that day. For us, this is where and how learning happens. At St. George’s we are lucky to work with a Maintenance staff that understands this as well-- a staff that helps us scrape glue off of the tables and playdough out of the carpet. This year we needed our Maintenance staff even more. We increased cleaning procedures to keep everyone safe and to keep our school open. We would not have been able to keep doing what we do without them. 

Often the Maintenance staff members are some of our students’ favorite people on campus. In our classroom, the Chive Room, there are frequent shouts of excitement when Mr. Smitty stops by to say hello. In the Lily Room, children will sometimes ask Mr. Damion to tuck them in for their nap. As soon as a light goes out, my whole class asks if we can call Mr. Eric to fix it. And when our Maintenance staff workers stop by, it is always with a smile. They remember the kids’ names and faces, and they make every one of them feel special. 

So when we started thinking about having a Maintenance Staff Appreciation Week, it was clear that the students should be a part of it. We decided to have the students interview the staff. The questions the students came up with were incredible. Some asked, “What tools do you use?” and “How do you clean the vacuum?” while other children wanted to form personal relationships and establish connections by asking, “Do you like to dance?” and “Do you have candles on your birthday cake?” These things are very important to children! 

The day after the Chive Room interviewed Mr. Damion, one of my students asked if he was going to come back every day. When I explained that we had asked all of our questions, the child confidently told me that he had more. Now, every time Mr. Damion comes by to clean our classroom, he is immediately asked questions about the art he creates, or the food he cooks or just for a high five. My students now know Mr. Damion as an artist, a chef and a brother, as well as someone who works to keep our classroom clean. 

As a teacher who works hard to help her students make meaningful connections, I am overwhelmed with pride. Thank you to the Maintenance staff for taking time out of your very busy days-- to sit with us, to be interviewed and to form those connections. Thank you to all the teachers who took the time to help their students create questions and conduct these interviews. Thank you to all the teachers who helped their students create thank you cards, banners, magnets and art to show our Maintenance staff how much we appreciate them. Thank you to the children who make every day special, as well as for making everyone feel loved and appreciated. Our St. George’s community is made up of many people and many jobs, and this week was a wonderful way to demonstrate how important that is. Cheers to Maintenance Staff Appreciation Week 2021!

We hope you'll scan through our interviews below!


  • Faculty and Staff
  • Faculty Voice
  • Maintenance Team