“It was cool,” said Davies. “I tried to bow out but they said no we want to do it (assembly) here. It was a nice surprise.”
The announcement came on Education Support Professionals Day in recognition of the contributions of classified school employees such as teachers’ aides, bus drivers, custodians, food service workers, paraeducators and other school staff that are essential to the education workforce.
“One of the teachers at school submitted his name,” said Bridget Jensen, ESP Association president and cafeteria manager at Farmington Junior High. “He was chosen out of all the applicants as the state winner who will represent all of us.”
Jensen said he was the clear choice. “For Terry it’s not just a 9 – 5 type job,” she said. “It’s more. He really cares. He goes to the special needs class and greets each of those kids. He’s an example and a mentor. He does extra things like setting up the lunchroom for spooky lunch and he’s also a professional Santa. He’s just a great guy, always happy.”
Davies is currently the Vice President for the ESP Association but with his selection as ESP of the Year, he assumes extra responsibilities such as representing all of the Utah ESP at the national conference and traveling throughout the state to advocate for some 22,000 members and for better working conditions.
He has been in his profession for 15 years and at Bluff Ridge for three. Prior to that he spent 15 years in restaurant management. “I started in the Murray District,” he said. “Who knew at the age of 14 that I’d be working in custodial? Three years ago I helped open Odyssey Elementary that was a flagship school. It was a feather in my cap. But then this position opened up at Bluff Ridge and it was so close to my home I couldn’t pass it up.”
He believes they’re all educators. “I answer questions about mops and other things,” said Davies. “We’re all just really on the same page for students.”
Davies takes pride in his job each day. “I’m the first one in the building and the last one to leave,” he said. “I’m the director of first impressions. It’s our responsibility to keep things clean and nice for visitors who come to the school. I like to look down the halls at the end of the day and see that they’re clean, the chairs are pushed in and the desks are straight and everything is shiny. But then after 900 students come through the next day – you can’t tell.”
Although the recognition came as a surprise, Davies looks forward to the challenge. “It is a sweet honor,” he said. “It will be an exciting year learning from other professionals across the country.”