The Superintendent's Report: Unsung Heroes and Heroines

Posted by Daniel Seamans on 8/15/2019

Dr. Jerry L. Oates, Superintendent of Schools


For most citizens, teachers and principals are the face of the school system. They are ones most people see at school. Yet, there is a strong and committed workforce behind the scenes that make everything come together. They are what I call the unsung heroes and heroines of the support team at each school.


          You might be interested to know that there are 704 of them in Brunswick County! They include the following teams, each of whom are critical to the successful operation of school each day:

  • Custodial Team
  • Maintenance Team
  • Office Support Team of Administrative Assistants, Treasurers, Receptionists and Data Managers
  • Teacher Assistant Teams
  • Child Nutrition Team
  • Transportation Teams
  • Central Services Team

Each of these teams is essential to school and the school system’s daily activities and are the backbone of making sure that our teachers and principals might effectively teach and administer the school. Think about the importance of each of these teams.


Custodial teams ensure that clean, safe classrooms and buildings are available each day for students so that teachers might have an environment conducive to optimal learning. These team members begin work early and stay late daily to make a positive difference in the appearance of each classroom and the physical appearance of the school.


Maintenance teams function literally 24-7 to take care of preventive maintenance and emergencies that occur both day and night. This team deals with a variety of mechanical and operational issues that few are aware. These include working on weekends when heat goes out in the winter to repairing a leak that might have occurred due to a plumbing issue.


The transportation team is at work long before the day begins for many citizens. Bus drivers are up before dawn preparing buses for the route run before picking up students. Transportation workers deliver gas to buses, repair engines, replace dead batteries and conduct annual inspections to maintain the safe delivery of your students to and from school daily.


The office support team maintains a positive demeanor in the face of a myriad of duties and responsibilities heaped on them by others. From answering the phone in a positive manner, to greeting visitors with a smile, to dealing with paperwork and reports that must be submitted in a timely manner to meet regulatory compliance requirements. These include, but are not limited to: attendance reporting and monitoring, data input on a variety of technological devices, preparing payroll, ensuring proper internal control to mitigate audit exceptions and similar duties, each one critical to the efficient and effective operation of the school system.


Teacher Assistants extend the time for teachers to engage students in meaningful classroom activities. The perform a wide range of duties from securing materials needed for a particular learning experience, to monitoring children in the hallway, working with students who need extra help on a learning activity and helping students who are handicapped or disabled. In addition, many of our teacher assistants serve as bus drivers! All of these functions and more provide critical assistance to our teachers in their quest to make a positive difference in each child’s life.


          The Child Nutrition Team, as you are well aware, provides healthy meals for students. This team also begins work early each day to ensure that breakfast is available to all. Their task continues until mid- afternoon. Meals must meet certain nutrition guidelines and presented in an attractive manner in order that food not be wasted. What you might not know is that it is the largest “restaurant” operation in our county and serves two meals each day school is in session.


          Lastly, the Central Services Team, like those described above, go the extra mile 24-7 to provide infrastructure support essential for the cost efficient and effective operation of the school system. Through coordination of all district activities this team, like others, is a tireless work horse for all school district employees. Each team member diligently strives to serve others with integrity and seriousness of purpose. From finance, instructional technology, human resources, curriculum and instruction to athletics, arts, special education and student support, it takes all of us to ensure that each child is provided the opportunity to reach their fullest potential.


          The unsung heroes and heroines described in these teams truly make it possible for your child’s teachers to operate with minimum interruptions so as to maximize the learning process. I know you join me in thanking them for all they do for each of us behind the scenes on a daily basis.