Barfield Elementary, custodians say success is about all about children, how people treat each other

Aug 18, 2022 at 07:34 pm by WGNS

Barfield custodians Kim Bly, Danny Bly, Bret Wilkison and Bob Bischoff w/ Principal Judy Goodwin (center). Not pictured: Jeff Gillespie.

Roots at Barfield Elementary don’t just run deep, they are the cornerstone of a nurturing and successful school. 

With a combined 80+ years of experience, the custodial team has become a critical part of providing a clean and safe environment for all the children who call the school their home. 


“I started here 20 plus years ago,” said Kim Bly, lead custodian. “You just build relationships with teachers, admin and the kids. The school becomes a home. We all have a mutual respect for each other — we are a big family here. We have a lot of love for everyone.” 

In addition to Mrs. Bly, the custodial team is made up of Bret Wilkison, Danny Bly, Bob Bischoff and Jeff Gillespie.

Being a custodian at Barfield Elementary isn’t like other jobs, or even like other custodial jobs, according to the team. 

“The other jobs I’ve had, I hated to go. I don’t mind coming to work here,” Bischoff said. “The kids, they are the best. I love seeing them in the hallway getting slapped five. I look forward to it. I’ve talked about this job so much at home that my son got a part-time job here.” 

Of all the things you think would come up in an interview with a custodial team, you’d be surprised to know very little was said about how the floors were cleaned or how the butterfly garden was created – the focus was always on the children. 

“It’s an overall positive environment,” Wilkison explained. “It’s just pleasant coming in every day. There are probably at least 10 different kids who have helped me over the years pulling trash and stuff like that. It’s a wonderful place to come to. I’ve worked other jobs like fast food, but to come into a building where everybody is positive … It’s just pleasant.

In case you are wondering, yes – Danny Bly and lead custodian Kim Bly are family. Kim married Danny’s brother after working together for 15 years. 

At Barfield, everyone is connected. 

“We are all a family, and we are very close,” Danny Bly said, “We hardly ever have any problems. I retired about three years ago. And then I came back. I couldn’t find a better job if even if I was going to look for one.” 

Barfield Elementary has built a unique and inspirational team, and a large part of that is thanks to Principal Judy Goodwin’s hiring decisions. According to Goodwin, the best decisions are what her brain says is right, but also what her heart says is right. 

“I’ve always had the philosophy – every piece of this puzzle is critical to providing the best for our children,” Goodwin said. “Everyone’s job is critical, and there’s only one reason we are all here — the kids. How we treat each other inside the building will determine our success as a school.”


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