William Vest, Head Custodian, Charlottesville High School
William Vest, Head Custodian, Charlottesville High School
How do you support student learning from outside the classroom?
Obviously, the custodial staff supports learning by keeping the building in good order. I would hate to see a school without a custodian — or a team of custodians!  But also, when I see kids outside the classroom, I check in with them to see where they should be or if they need help.
What’s the most common misconception about your job?
The job is harder than it looks. The various jobs we do are not as simple and quick as people might think. For instance, when we strip and refinish a floor, we are not just putting water down. Each step takes time for both the work and the drying; and the wax itself is very slippery.  Each step takes longer than you might think.
What’s the most challenging aspect of your job?
Snow removal is the hardest, not only because of the cold and dark, but also because there is no nearby place to put it since we are cleaning off the sidewalks and the parking lots and every other nearby space.
Why did you choose to perform your job in the schools and not in another industry?
When I was a student at Buford Middle School, Gus White was the Custodial Supervisor there.  He was an older gentleman who kept me in check and became my friend. I started helping him with different tasks, and over the years, he taught me everything I know. I’ve been at Charlottesville City Schools my whole life, first as a student and for the past thirty years as an employee. There’s nothing like home, and these schools are home.