What’s Right With Our Schools: Outside the Classroom with Rutland High’s custodian

MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – At Rutland High School very few staff members make a lasting impact on students, but teachers are calling Head Custodian, Beverly Harris, 57, the most influential and respected person inside the school building.

Before she starts her daily chores, Harris loads up her cart with the necessary supplies to get through the day.

“[I] have to drive this thing with tender loving care,” says Harris.

She cleans more than windows and walls. For more than two decades, Harris has been building positive, lasting relationships with students, staff and faculty.

“Hey, Mr. Kelsey. How you doing, baby?” Harris rolls her cart further down the main lobby, “It seems like everything down this hall is straight.”

Students claim she is the person they can rely on when they are in need of advice. They add she is full of energy and can relate to the student body.

“She’s just a hard working person,” says student Blane Beck.

Single mother and senior Kreo Montgomery exchanges life stories with Harris. She adds the custodian has stepped in to “fill missing pieces” of her life.

“She’s been such a good support system,” says Montgomery.

“A lot of them call me Mamma Harris, some of them call me grandma,” she laughs, “Okay, I’m a grandma…yes ma’am, thank you.”

The mother of five biological children says “her babies (students)” are her priority when she is at school.

“I have kids that I would call sometimes in the mornings just about every morning just to make sure they get here on time, especially my seniors,” says Harris.

Nothing goes unnoticed: spots on the wall, streaks lining the floor and students’ behavior.

“If I can help them stay out of trouble, I’m going to keep them out of trouble,” says Harris.

“She wants you to succeed,” Montgomery says, “You feel the endearment in her words.”

Loving and caring words of wisdom are not accepted by all students, but Harris says by the time students have entered into their senior year, they hope for another piece of advice.

“What you need to do when you get out there, and what you should do and what you shouldn’t do,” Harris adds, “We just laugh and have a lot of fun out here.”

She calls herself a mother figure, and sets the an example for others to be the best they can be.

“You have to like what you do in order to be good at what you do,” she says, “I come early. I stay late. I could very well leave at 2:30 p.m., but I take pride in what I do and I believe in going above and beyond.”

Harris plans to retire from Rutland High School, but not anytime soon.

At this year’s Bibb Association of Educators (BAE) Awards, BAE President, Robert “BJ” Shepherd gave Harris the Education Support Professional (ESP) of the Year award.



Categories: Bibb County, Local News, What’s Right With Our Schools

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