Q&A with Head Custodian Mel Wynn

Anushka Mukherjee | Staff Writer

Q: How long have you worked at Mason High School?

A: My name is Mel Wynn and I’m the head custodian at Mason High School. I’ve been with the district since 2002. I’ve been in this building for five years now. I was at Mason Heights Elementary and Western Row Elementary before I came here to the high school.

Q: What got you into this job?

A: Before I came here, I worked in light industry. I was an auto worker, a paper maker and a steel worker. Unfortunately, those places shut down. I was in between jobs and this came up. I thought it was just going to be a temporary job. And I’ve been here almost 18 years now.

Q: What do you love about working at MHS?

A: The people, the staff, and the kids. It’s a really good place.

Q: How do you stay motivated with this job?

A: I think it was my upbringing, what my father instilled in [me]. I treat this job just like any other, whether I’m an auto worker, a paper maker, I just do it the same.

Q: Why have you stayed in Mason for so many years and not shifted to a different school?

A: They’re good to me here, real good to me. Mason City Schools has been really good. I’ve got good support from my bosses — they set me up to succeed and not to fail.

Q: How has your journey been in terms of your work ethic?

A: It’s getting a little bit tougher with age. I’m almost 60 now and I can feel it. So age has a lot to do with it. But I really enjoy my job.

Q: Do you think that the amount of cleaning has increased since you started working here?

A: Yes. The district just like any other places, cutting costs, and the custodial and maintenance staff was hit hard. Of course, they’re going to lay off a custodian before they’re gonna lay off a teacher. And that really has affected us and the quality of work we do here.

Q: What is your relationship like with the other custodians?

A: I think I have a real good [staff] — I try to lead by example. I don’t make them do something that I won’t do. I try to keep a positive attitude with them. I said, you know, do the best you can.

Q: What is your relationship like with the staff and the students?

A: I think I get along great with them. I was an athlete many years ago, so I get along with the teachers that are coaches. The kids I really enjoy, whether it’s music like the AM’s. I think they’re great as heck. They’re really good. I love all the sports. I’m just amazed how smart the kids are today. What’s offered here, it just blows me out of the water. When I went to school, we didn’t have computers. It was all typewriters and stuff. So it’s really interesting the progress over the years. Yeah, I guess you can say you can’t outrun technology. It’s here to stay.

Q: How have the advances in technology impacted your work?

A: Oh, yes. The new equipment we have it’s great. We don’t just use mops and buckets anymore. We’ve got a lot of equipment that helps us do more efficient and faster work.