Story by Erika Pedroza
There’s no doubt – the custodians of #myIrvingISD go above and beyond to keep our facilities clean and staff all year-round. We decided to see what a typical day would be like in their shoes by following Johnson Middle School Building Manager Neftali Del Cid. Let’s take a look!
7:15 a.m. – Neftali Del Cid begins his work day at 7:15 a.m, but he arrives at the school around 5:30 a.m. each morning and runs five to seven miles. After his morning workout, he begins his work day – this day with a faulty relief pressure valve causing a water fountain to shoot out a stream of water. “You never know what you’re going to find,” he says with a smile.
7:45 a.m. – Working at a net-zero, energy-efficient school like Johnson can present a unique set of challenges. On this morning, the lights powered by solar panels at the back end of the hall are not turning on, so he calls to report it.
Del Cid then pushes forward a cart full of supplies to begin his first of at least four rounds of checking all four student restrooms in the building.
9:30 a.m. – Del Cid, who has worked for Irving for 13 years, is interrupted in the hall for a quick hug from a colleague. “It makes it fun when you work with people you enjoy being around,” he says. “It’s not even work.”
As he walks down the hall, he exchanges high fives and fist bumps with students as they pass him. “When my youngest son was born, the nurse walked in, and I knew she looked familiar,” says Del Cid, who previously worked at Lamar Middle School. “She smiled and said, ‘Yes, Mr. Del Cid. I was a student at Lamar, and you’d always help me unlock my locker.’ I remembered her, and I knew then that my son was in good hands. That’s why I love my job so much – watching these kids grow up and become successful. Nothing compares.”
12:00 p.m. – Del Cid walks the entire perimeter of the school grounds to pick up trash. It’s his second walk around the school. Earlier in the morning, he walked around the school, inspecting the exterior of the building. Del Cid walks between nine and 11 miles each day.
Del Cid spends minimal time at his desk. He sits just long enough to log required inspections and check the work order system. Then he’s back on his feet. “I’ve worked since I was 5,” he says. “I would help my grandfather in the fields. I’m used to working and being on my feet and keeping busy.”
At the district level, Del Cid is the go-to guy for emergencies or special events at other campuses. “It doesn’t matter if you give him five weeks’ notice or five minutes’ notice, his answer is yes, he is available to help,” says Gary Brown, operations and special events manager for Irving ISD.
4:30 p.m. – On this day, he is summoned to help a short staffed crew at Cardwell Career Preparatory Center. After finishing his work day at Johnson, he hurries to Cardwell for an extra evening shift. There, he is greeted with another hug from a former Johnson staff member. “I really enjoy my job,” he says. “I am so fortunate to have a job, to provide for my family and to enjoy doing it.”