When you first arrive on Queensbury’s campus to start the school day, what stands out? Is it the well-manicured athletic fields you know you’ll enjoy in the warmer months? Or is it the freshly mopped floors inside the school buildings, free of dirt trails from yesterday’s recess?
Every school day, students and staff are influenced by the environment in which they learn and work. Leading the charge in creating a safe, clean and comfortable learning and working environment is the district’s Buildings and Grounds Department, comprised of cleaners, maintenance workers, custodians, and their supervisors.
Cleaner Wally Reed is a member of that team. For the last 17 years, Reed has dedicated his workdays to maintaining Queensbury’s schools. While he has worked a variety of shifts in every building on campus, he currently works dayside at Queensbury Elementary School.
On a typical school day, Reed – an alumnus of Queensbury High School – arrives at QES at 6 a.m. and meets with his supervisor, Paul Stockman, to discuss what needs to be done for the day. Afterward, he unlocks the building and prepares for the students’ arrival.
“If there are any events or set-ups, I’ll take care of that,” Reed said. “I get calls for different things throughout the day, or teachers will catch me in the hall if they need anything. There’s not a set schedule, really. To be honest, every day is a new adventure.”
For Reed, the spontaneity of the day is one element of the job he loves the most. Much like people, he says no two buildings are alike; and if you ask him which building is his favorite, he won’t hesitate to say Queensbury Elementary School.
“I started out at the middle school, then went over to the high school and the 4/5 building, but I always wanted to come over to the elementary school,” Reed said. “I love the kids, the teachers, and the atmosphere.”
Of course, one of the “rites of passage” for parents and guardians of elementary school students includes saying a tearful goodbye as they begin kindergarten in the fall. Over the years, Reed says he’s seen his fair share of emotional drop-offs, and this September, it’ll be his turn when his daughter attends her first day of school.
“I see parents tear up all the time on the first day of school. That’ll be me,” Reed said with a chuckle. “Queensbury is a family-oriented place and I really like it here.”