When Hurricane Harvey hit, Facilities Services Security Maintenance Dispatcher Kenneth Johnson left behind his home and relocated to the Hattie Mae White Educational Support Center, where he could monitor and serve the district.
“It was kind of scary,” Johnson said, recalling images captured on security cameras when the storm hit. “Water was going up the hallways.”
As the flood waters rose, some HISD locations lost their security camera feeds, but Johnson kept calm and helped organize response logistics, which included determining where to send technicians for maintenance.
For Houston Independent School District Chief Operating Officer Brian Busby, it’s hard to believe it’s been a year since Hurricane Harvey hit Houston, dumping an unprecedented 51 inches of water on city.
“I remember being excited about the start of school. We were ready to welcome our students and have a good year,” said Busby, who oversees HISD’s Business Operations division. “And just like that, it came to a screeching halt.”
The damage was considerable. With nearly all schools needing some repair and a few so damaged they would need to be rebuilt, the start of school was postponed by two weeks. Some schools were so damaged that they were delayed further or even relocated to temporary campuses.
HISD’s Facilities Services department has spent the summer working on projects designed to repair, renovate, and enhance school learning environments for returning students.
The custodial staff began their work immediately following the last day of school. At all schools, the team conducted a deep cleaning that included cleaning windows, walls and vents, removing graffiti, and disinfecting all areas.
The maintenance team completed preventative maintenance of all major equipment and made both major and minor renovations to several campuses.
As students get ready for the upcoming school year, Business Operations employees are doing the same, dedicating time for professional development that will better prepare them for the year ahead.
Held across the district throughout August, the in-service sessions provide employees with critical training related to their respective roles as well as the latest state and federal guidelines. They also serve as a welcome back for employees who were off duty during the summer. Continue reading
Andreas Peeples was in grade school when he first became fascinated with the idea of building things.
At just 8, he often found himself staring at walls, trying to figure out how they stood up by themselves and what they were made of.
“I would go behind the door and poke little holes in the wall to see what was in there,” Peeples said.
Now, the general manager for HISD’s Construction Services is responsible for building them.
With a bachelor’s degree in construction and engineering and a masters in management, Peeples oversees school construction across the district, including the voter-approved 2012 Bond Program, which calls for the renovation or rebuilding of 40 schools. Continue reading
It is often wondered if walls could talk, what secrets they could tell. But for Security Maintenance dispatcher Kenneth Johnson, walls don’t talk. They see.
Johnson is responsible for reviewing the security cameras for all HISD’s campuses and buildings. He ensures that customer care and security for the district is kept to the highest standards.
“If there are any emergencies that come about, any technical difficulties with our security systems in the campuses, my job is to have them solved promptly,” Johnson said. “It is critical for our staff and for our students that we know of these and solve them. Security is always our priority.”
A dispatcher since 2009, Johnson is assigned to the night shift. He arrives at his post early to review what the cameras have monitored throughout the day. Continue reading