June 04, 2004
Leonard Webb III, custodian supervisor at the Long Beach School for Adults, was named Classified Employee of the Year this week at a packed Board of Education meeting.
Called a "one-of-a-kind man, our campus hero and a committed team player" by co-workers, he was selected by a districtwide committee of classified employees from 48 nominees and eight finalists.
"I was humbled that they thought so highly of me," Webb said. "I’m thankful, but I was just doing what I was supposed to do."
Classified school district employees typically assume non-teaching roles in support of the classroom efforts of teachers, performing custodial, food service or clerical work, for example.
Unable to attend the board meeting, Webb is hospitalized recovering from amputation of his right leg below the knee as a result of diabetes. Webb had been selected the top winner by a districtwide committee before his surgery and this week’s formal announcement.
At the board meeting, his mother accepted his award for him. Personnel Commission Administrator Ramon Curiel announced that her son is the top classified employee of America’s top urban school system.
"She almost passed out when they called my name," Webb said, chuckling about her description of the honor. "I was glad she didn’t. I think I’m more happy for her than I am for myself. A big thank you to everyone at the School for Adults. I love all of them."
The entire staff at the School for Adults nominated Webb. Principal Fitzgerald Jones called Webb "the most dedicated employee I have worked with in over 25 years of service."
Jones said the campus was second to none in cleanliness. Visitors notice immediately the quality of service that Webb provides.
"Staff comment about Leonard’s positive attitude, our pristine environment, his service with a smile and his high expectations," Jones wrote. "As a result of total campus cleanliness, students are taking pride in knowing that their presence on campus is valued. It is rare that graffiti appears on our campus, and no calls for cleanup have been requested this school year. His vision of taking care of our campus, from the front curb to the back fence, is priceless. His demeanor of saying, ‘That’s my job,’ or ‘I like to see people and things at their best,’ gives him satisfaction that is reflected in his smile."
Webb took under his care a 22-year-old student with disabilities. Because the student’s academic needs did not permit classroom enrollment in Building Maintenance classes, Webb spent each day teaching him the duties of custodial care.
"Leonard’s commitment to this student confirms the district’s mission statement that ‘all students can learn and become responsible, productive members of society,’" Jones wrote.
Webb said he was unsure how long his recovery from surgery will take. But one thing is certain.
"I’m going back to work," he said. "Definitely."
This year’s finalists were: John Bosley, campus security officer at Marshall; Laura Brean, intermediate office assistant at Emer-son; Martha Membreno, instructional aide at Garfield; Marta Morri, food service supervisor II at Rogers; Gail Rainwater, senior administrative secretary at the Personnel Commission; Milton Simmons, custodian at Hudson; and Maria Villalobos, human resources technician at the Personnel Commission.