My Turn

St. Mary’s County Building Service Manager Katrina Mills

Katrina Mills is the building service manager at George Washington Carver Elementary School in St. Mary’s County.

Meet Katrina Mills, the building service manager at George Washington Carver Elementary School in St. Mary’s County. She’s serves on the Education Association of St. Mary’s County board of directors and negotiations subcommittee. In their most recent contract, support staff won a 7% increase in pay this year and next and increased their shoe reimbursement by $10. By asking for more meaningful professional development to help recruit and retain support staff, management and staff will work through a joint committee to research and implement improved professional development.

My journey in St. Mary’s County Public Schools started almost nine years ago. I was looking for a stable job. I found myself at a job fair and was hired as a substitute building service worker. If you asked me then, I wouldn’t have thought I’d still be here. It wasn’t the career I thought I wanted. But here I am, the proud building service manager of George Washington Carver Elementary School. My greatest joy about my job is that I have a positive influence on the students in my building. It’s a great feeling to have students ask to be a part of the recycling club I started last year and it’s an even better feeling when students organize themselves to put a recess trash pick-up team together!

My union activism started with a co-worker asking me to attend just one meeting. From there, I was fully committed to being an advocate for our members. Now I’m the proud ESP member-at-large on the board of directors of the Education Association of St. Mary’s County (EASMC) and was a delegate to the MSEA Representative Assembly at the state level. I also served on our negotiations subcommittee which helped bring several wins to our members and more recently served on our endorsement committee.

Many of our ESPs work more than one job. I believe the work we do in our buildings should be enough to survive! We all deserve a living wage, career opportunities, and respect. I believe the MSEA ESP Bill of Rights will help do just that. I was fortunate to canvass at the 2023 Summer Leadership Conference to help spread the word of our fast-growing campaign. Educating the public about our jobs and how we are not fairly compensated is very important.

My goal is to bring respect to my profession as a building service manager. We are responsible for the cleanliness, safety, and complete operation of school buildings, while fostering positive relationships with staff, students, and community members. Being the only building service worker during the day at a mid-size elementary school has its challenges: I am the only one to respond to cleanups, mechanical emergencies, deliveries, and so much more. Our days are usually busy, sometimes without a lunch break, but our students make my job worth it. I’m proud to provide a safe and clean teaching and learning environment for the success of everyone at George Washington Carver Elementary School.

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