James Butler, custodian at Fulton School District, received the district's Support Staff of the Year award.
Before working as a custodian, Butler worked in the restaurant management field. He worked at North Callaway School District for 10 years.
Butler has worked more than 20 years in management.
"He brings so much joy to this community and this school. I've never met someone as hardworking as Mr. Butler," said Sarah Manley, coordinator of School and Community Programs at Fulton Public Schools.
After the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Butler wanted to be closer to Fulton and that's when he started working full-time at Fulton School District. He's been there ever since.
Jen Meyerhoff, Fulton Early Childhood Center principal, said Butler is the only custodian at Fulton Early Childhood Center.
Meyerhoff said there has been a need for two custodians, but due to a shortage of applicants, Butler has worked extra hours and put in extra effort all school year. Butler is also the first one to arrive at FECC every day and the last one to leave.
"James is incredibly positive. He has built relationships with all staff and students," Meyerhoff said. "I can't emphasize enough how kind and patient he is with everyone he comes in contact with. He is a ray of sunshine in our building, and you can always trust him to be kind, supportive, and friendly. He is a hard worker with a heart of gold."
Working long hours doesn't bother Butler, he said, because he used to work long hours in the restaurant business. Butler comes in early to ensure that all rooms are ready for students and staff. He will stay late every night to clean the building thoroughly.
Getting things done is what Butler said keeps him motivated to keep going.
"I'm just a guy that comes and does the work, and goes home," Butler laughed.
Principals nominate one teacher and one staff member from each of their buildings for Support Staff and Teacher of the Year.
An anonymous committee meets to review all of the nomination forms.