Dylan Morrison Wins Classified Staff of the Year for Cascade School District

Dylan Morrison enjoys a day on the slopes with his daughter - Submitted photo
As day custodian, Dylan Morrison arrives at Alpine Lakes Elementary School (ALPS) earlier than most; his shift starts at 4:30am. Starting early suits Morrison. “I absolutely love my schedule,” he said. “I am definitely a morning person.”
One morning in February started a particularly fine day—when he found out he had won the Classified Staff of the Year Award for all of Cascade School District. 
“I found out about winning the award from our superintendent, Tracey Beckendorf-Edou,” Morrison recalled. “She came to my work room and personally notified me about the award. My initial reaction was surprise and shock. I felt very flattered to be even in the discussion for this award considering I work with so many other phenomenal classified staff here at the District.”
Students who get breakfast at school see Morrison as he’s finishing setting up the tables. He’s a familiar face, a smiling, caring adult who is working hard to keep their building clean. They see him throughout the day, passing him in the halls, and again later, as he preps and cleans up after lunch.
Getting to know the students is Morrison’s favorite part of his job. “Third through fifth grade is such a fun age group, and I truly enjoy interacting with the students each day. I try to be a healthy male role model even though I am not a teacher. My daughter is a fourth grader here at Alpine Lakes as well, so I love getting to see her every day at work.”
Morrison’s other daughter attends Kodiak Cubs Pre-K. “My daughters are the reason I get up and go to work every day. I am extremely proud of both of them, and love that this job affords me so much time to stay involved with their activities, both in and out of school.”
Morrison takes his responsibility seriously. As Kenny Renner-Singer, the principal of ALPS said, “Over 20 years I have hired many, many people. His answer to an interview question was the best I have heard. When asked why he wanted to be a custodian he said, ‘Being a custodian is a thankless job—it’s not glamorous. But it is honorable work. It is important work. Kids and teachers deserve to learn and teach in a safe, clean environment.’ I teared up with that answer.”
Teresa Disher, CSD Director of Facilities, described Morrison as a perfect fit for ALPS. “Dylan has been with the district for just short of two years now and he continues to be flexible, reliable, friendly and hard working. He is always smiling and approachable—exactly what is needed for students, staff and community,” she said. “His work room is completely filled with drawings from his daughters and others. The students and staff adore him. I admire him because he sets a great example of what an exceptional father is and because he promotes a safe and nurturing environment through his wonderful attitude and cheerful heart.”
His admirers include the staff at the bus garage and Special Services office, which he also cleans. “Dylan is by far most thorough custodian we have had cleaning the bus garage in the 14 years I have been here,” said Tim Bentz, Transportation Director. “He is always upbeat and personable and willing to do what is asked if he possibly can. I always know when he’s ready to clean my office because he starts whistling outside my door.”
Maren Cagle, Administrative Assistant in Special Services, said, “Dylan is fantastic at his job and is so caring. Every once in a while, we'll come in to a fun drawing or a note of encouragement on our whiteboard.”
Morrison is weathering this challenging time of school closure. “Like everyone else, my situation at work continues to evolve from day to day. I have been involved with deep cleaning the buildings but since Governor Inslee's latest order to shelter in place, my hours have been reduced. We have a wonderful facilities department in this district, and I am confident when we are able to resume normal school hours again, the students will be in a clean and safe environment.”
When asked if he wanted to add anything, Morrison shared his gratitude for his colleagues at ALPS. “I would like to thank Teresa Disher and Kenny Renner-Singer for being wonderful bosses! There are so many wonderful classified staff members in this building that I feel deserve this award like Abde Elshafei, Kayte Smith, Heidi Paul, Kathryn Praye and Bri Head. I do my best to follow their examples and hopefully have a positive impact on the students. And thank you to Sonia Davenport, who is truly the heart and soul of Alpine Lakes and keeps us all smiling!”

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