Over Winter Break my head custodian filled a dumpster as he singlehandedly muscled through the rotting contents of a long neglected walk in storage container. With a mask and rubber boots, he took on the substantial project that needed to be done without complaint or hesitation. If I had a round table, he’d be a knight.

Schools are successful not only because of the flashy and innovative work done in classrooms, but also because of the steady and consistent job of all the professionals on site: custodians, secretaries, food service employees, instructional assistants, teachers, and administrators too. Moving a school forward safely, productively, and in a way that puts learning first takes many people all working hard and working together.

We’re helped in this work by caring for and appreciating each other. As we see those around us putting in the time and effort to do well, it’s easy to find inspiration to bring our best every day.

As a principal, I see an important part of what I do as helping to inspire my stalwarts, those many people on my campus whose consistent good work is the strength of our school. It’s easy to spot the big events and celebrate them publicly, and it’s right that we do. It is as important to acknowledge the importance of the quiet and vital work done every day.

I see this work in our school’s health office, where students come for bandages, insulin, and a dose of love. I see it in the watchful gaze of our campus supervisor, who looks out for students with the eyes of a shepherd and the heart of a father.

I see it in the careful and caring work of our steadfast office staff; no better collection of reliable and kind women exist outside of a Louisa Alcott novel. And I see it in classrooms across campus, as teachers and students go about learning together.

Together we’re strong, and collectively dedicated to the important enterprise of helping students learn, and I’m proud to work beside these stalwart knights of our own Diegueño Round Table.

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