CSEA REACH Award Winner John Sullivan

Northmont Elementary’s “Mr. John” honored for his impact and commitment on- and off-campus, making his school and community better

John Sullivan, Lead Custodian at Northmont Elementary, was recently selected as a recipient of the 2024 Recognizing Excellence and Classified Heroes (REACH) Award by the California School Employees Association (CSEA).

“John truly exemplifies everything it means to be a classified employee,” CSEA Association President Adam Weinberger said. “John has been recognized time and again for going above and beyond and devoting extra time and attention to his students and school, and we’re proud to call him one of our own.” 

The REACH Award was created by CSEA and the United Classified School Employees, a coalition of state and national unions that together represent school support employees nationwide. The award honors the individual contributions and the essential role that all education professionals play in education. 

Classified education support employees work in the areas of Child Nutrition Services, Clerical Services, Custodial and Maintenance Services, Health and Student Services, Paraeducators, Security Services, Skilled Trades, Technical Services, and Transportation Services.

An Example On and Off Campus

“The REACH award means so much to me,” Sullivan said. “As I humbly accept this award, I know that I must also recognize the countless classified employees who do exactly what I do daily and that is to ensure that our students are always taken care of and always have a safe loving learning environment when they arrive each day. I also love that it highlights the positive impact that custodians can make daily.”

In addition to his normal duties, Sullivan is a regular presence outside of Northmont greeting students as they arrive and leave, helping with safety patrol, and much more.

“What motivates me the most is knowing that I have a chance to make a positive lasting impact on a child’s life,” Sullivan said. “Each day is a new day and a new chance to do whatever it takes for the children to know that I love and care about each one of them. I also think that being raised in foster care myself in a way gave me some life skills or tools to help me in a way that many others don’t understand. 

“I don’t consider what I do as going above and beyond, I consider what I do as doing my job in a way that children can relate to. Children can see that ‘Mr. John’ has never nor will I ever give up on them, and I am here to help them succeed.”

Representing #LMSVHEART

“John represents the integrity of the CSEA REACH Award in his daily work life as an integral part of our staff at Northmont, and in his community service outside our school,” says Northmont Principal Ed Gigliotti. “John not only keeps our school clean and safe but makes a positive impact on our school’s climate with the relationships he has formed with students, staff, and parents at Northmont. We are so proud of Mr. John!” 

Adds La Mesa-Spring Valley Schools Superintendent David Feliciano, “John has a true heart for children. As a Senior Custodian, it’s incredible to see how the mission of education is embedded in everything he does. John is an example for all of us who work in schools. No matter our role in public education, we are here to transform kids’ lives. We couldn’t be more proud of him and this recognition.” Sullivan was also named as one of CSEA’s Member of the Year recipients in 2023.

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