HOUSTON – May 3, 2018 – During a visit last week to the district’s Child Nutrition Center, the Spring ISD Board of Trustees awarded its final Employee Excellence Award for the 2017-18 school year. The winner of the award – originally slated for March but postponed due to scheduling conflicts – was Maintenance Technician Johnny Winston, who accepted the award with a mixture of surprise and gratitude during a brief ceremony in the building’s lobby.
“It was an unexpected shock, but greatly appreciated,” Winston said afterward. “When you do the work that we do, you know, we’re grungy, we’re grimy, we’re behind the scenes. You think you kind of go unnoticed. But it’s good to be recognized.”
On hand for the ceremony were Board of Trustees President Rhonda Newhouse and Secretary Donald Davis. Superintendent Dr. Rodney Watson and Chief of Staff Dr. Julie Hill were also present to represent the central administration team and add their thanks to those of the board for Winston’s contributions to keeping district equipment and operations running smoothly.
In presenting the award, Newhouse noted in particular Winston’s positive attitude and day-to-day outlook, even when sometimes having to respond to service calls in the middle of the night. Relating comments made by supervisors and other staff, she praised Winston for always being flexible, accommodating, and respectful of others’ needs and priorities, and for always putting students first.
“I like to say we’re ‘Saving the world, one kitchen at a time,’” Winston said. “Just like an army goes on its belly, if you don’t eat, you don’t think, right? So, saving the world, one kitchen at a time, and feeding the world, one child at a time.”
A U.S. Army veteran who trained and worked as an electrician during his time in the service, Winston recalled that his path toward fixing things had started even earlier, when, from a young age, he began building things and experimenting with broken appliances around his family’s house.
“My father was a mechanic,” Winston said. “He worked in home repair. He saw me bored in the backyard one day and gave me some wood, a hammer, some nails, and a saw, and said, ‘Do something with this.’ So, from that day on, I’ve been fixing stuff.”
Often working behind the scenes in Spring ISD, Winston takes a certain pride in being an almost unrecognizable character during his travels through the district – getting in, getting out, and leaving nothing but the steady hum of working equipment after he’s gone. Although repair calls can come in at almost any hour of the day or night – during Hurricane Harvey he had to service one HVAC unit every six hours for several days while awaiting parts – Winston said he’s happy as a member of Spring ISD’s Child Nutrition team.
“It’s not a department, it’s a family,” Winston said. “We’re all there for each other. I’ve gone through some things, and they stepped up and were there just like a family. So I don’t even consider it a department.”
Having seen two of his own children graduate from Spring High School, Winston has a special appreciation for the way his work impacts school operations and contributes to the community he now calls home.
“I moved here from Ohio in 2009,” Winston said. “I have a cousin who lives in Humble, but it was the Spring area that my wife and I really fell in love with. We love it here. It’s comfortable. This is a good place.”
Like this year’s previous winners, Winston received a framed certificate, a recognition pin and a $100 check, along with an invitation to this week’s Employee Recognition Banquet.