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home : education : schools May 24, 2016

10/1/2013 1:53:00 PM
Wysong retires after three decades of caring for schools
Jim Wysong, center, was honored for years of service to Sisters schools. photo by Jerry Baldock
+ click to enlarge
Jim Wysong, center, was honored for years of service to Sisters schools. photo by Jerry Baldock

By Jim Cornelius
News Editor

To Jim Wysong's way of thinking, Sisters taxpayers have invested millions of dollars in their schools - and they should look like they're worth it.

"I always took pride in the fact that the buildings always looked that way," he told The Nugget.

Wysong retired last month after 33 years working on and eventually leading the Sisters School District's custodial staff.

Wysong was the pastor of a small Sisters church in the late 1970s, when the region sank into a deep economic trough. He needed to get a second job in order to make ends meet.

"I just stopped by the school district and asked if there were any job openings, and lo and behold, there was," he recalled.

It turned out to be a good fit. Wysong enjoyed being around the kids and facilitating their education by ensuring that their facilities were clean and in good shape.

It wasn't always easy. When he started, Sisters schools were low on equipment. All they really had was "a couple of old swing scrubbers and a carpet shampooer."

That meant hours and hours of arduous mopping to get the floors clean. Now, technology has made that job a lot easier - with a ride-on scrubber.

As a lead custodian, Wysong has always taken special pride in reports from students that their school is much cleaner and nicer than others they visit. Keeping it that way is a constant battle with shrinking resources.

Coping with budget cuts has been an ongoing challenge, especially in recent years. The effort to keep cuts out of the classroom means that custodial services is one of the areas that is constantly starved of funds.

"We tried to learn ways of being more efficient, doing the same job maybe different than we had done in the past - do the same job in a different way," Wysong said.

That has also meant dividing up tasks and deferring some work to focus on other needs. Wysong is gratified that to an outside observer, there's been little noticeable deterioration of the appearance of the schools. But he cautions that the situation can't continue indefinitely without some wear starting to show.

"If we continue down the path we're going, there is going to be a toll on the buildings that will be noticed, I think," he said.

In addition to his work duties, Wysong has for 15 years been the Oregon School Employees Association representative for the classified (non-teaching) employees. He takes a lot of satisfaction in his efforts as a union rep.

"I enjoyed making the working environment better for classified employees," he said.

Wysong tells The Nugget that he doesn't have any specific plans for retirement - but he's glad to be done with the 3 to 11:30 p.m. swing shift. Now he'll be able to "enjoy having a normal evening life. I'll get to go to football games and soccer games."

And he'll be welcomed there by generations of students, coaches and teachers who appreciate all he's done to make their learning environment the best it can be.

Superintendent Jim Golden told The Nugget, "Jim Wysong was awarded the "Platinum Award" (going above and beyond the call of duty....better than the golden rule, you do better by folks than you would ever expect them to do by you) for his tireless service to the Sisters School District.

"Jim spent many extra hours helping out the SSD at sporting events and especially for Starry Nights. I think very highly of Jim and I respect and admire his commitment to our school district. I wish him a long and fruitful retirement."

Reader Comments

Posted: Tuesday, October 1, 2013
Article comment by: Steve Swisher

Job well done, Jim. You have made a positive difference for the students, the staff, and the community. Steve Swisher

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