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Cookies, coffee & a spotless school
Custodial staff earns lots of praise at SEB Middle
W sebms heroes
The custodial staff at Southeast Bulloch Middle School: left to right, Daniel Davis, Shirley Johnson, Jeanette Taylor and Walter Mikell. - photo by ROGER ALLEN/special
      Southeast Bulloch Middle School Principal Donna Clifton believes her school has a guardian angel. Her name: Jeanette Taylor, the head custodian at the school. Taylor arrives early every morning, and promptly makes her famous bottomless pot of coffee, accompanied by heaps of cookies.
      The smell brings most of the faculty and staff at the school to her door very shortly after they arrive for work. Front office secretary Monique Moore said: "Miss Jeanette and her crew are like family here. They do anything and everything you ask them to do, and never say something like ‘That's not my job.'"
      Nurse Lauren Ross agreed: "They know most of the kids, and are always interacting with them in the hallways as if they were one of their own. It's so obvious that they really like their jobs. When I arrived last year, they went out of their way to make me feel at home."
      Taylor has a crew of three other custodians: Shirley Johnson, Walter Mikell, and Daniel Davis. The two women arrive early, and are joined by the two men around 1 p.m., who then do the heavier jobs during the afternoon.
      Clifton said: "Miss Taylor has been known to drive-by the school at night just to make sure that all is well."
      Taylor has been at SEB Middle School for 11 years, after being hired by then principal Dr. Tom Bigwood at Southeast Bulloch High three years earlier. Prior to that she had worked at the old Bulloch County Memorial Hospital and ITT Grinnell. She said working at the middle school is the best job she's ever had.
      Shirley Johnson worked at a local daycare until she joined Taylor five years ago. Walter Mikell worked at the ITT Grinnell plant until it closed, and eventually got hired to work alongside Taylor eight years ago. Daniel Davis worked for Joe Franklin at his restaurant until he joined the Taylor crew some 10 years ago.
      Taylor said she knows why her crew is so content being where they are.
      "We had an administrative team here that will stop what they're doing in order to help us out," she said. "Evidence of that was made clear when Shirley's house burned down last January 8th."
      Taylor continued, "Walter is a volunteer fireman, and was there to help put the fire out. The, who should show up but Miss Clifton and some of the staff, who jumped right in to help Shirley replace some of what she'd lost in the fire."
      Just how good is the custodial crew?
      Clifton shared that "Every summer a contractor comes in to do maintenance work at the school. The crew foreman stated again this year that this is one of the cleanest schools he ever seen."

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