A Conversation With Mr. Coughlan


Peter LaCount, Staff Advisor

Interview with Mr.Coughlan


William Coughlan is the new Supervisor of Maintenance at the Homewood Center.  He worked the night shift maintenance for many years, became a para educator, then was promoted to his current position.  Mr. Coughlan reflects on the important work that he and his team does given the nature of the Covid19 pandemic and his unending task of keeping the building clean and safe for all of us.

Mr. LaCount:  What made you want to leave your position as a para educator?

Mr. Coughlan:  It was a difficult choice, because I loved working with the kids, in both math and as behavioral support, but I had taken a 30% pay cut when I went from Night Supervisor to a para, and that took a toll. I did dread working at night (until 11) as a Night Supervisor, so that moving to a para position alleviated that. When Shav’ retired, I was very much interested in that position, with 7 years of experience serving in a supervisory role in custodial and maintenance, to go along with my supervisory experience of running and operating two retail stores for 14 years. The Day Supervisor position allows me to still interact with our kids and staff as much as I did as a para’, take on more responsibility, get off at 2:30, earn more money, and allow me the unique position of taking on an important role during this pandemic (along with Damon and Sam), making sure we can do as much as we can to keep people safe. We are just one of four schools opening the week of the 12th, so others will take notice of how we do during this experiment, if you will.

Mr. LaCount: Has being a para aided you in how to keep the building ship shape?

Mr. Coughlan:  I’m not sure it will aid me much, other than the bonds it allowed me to make with students and staff over the last four years. My eight years of experience in custodial, and 14 years of having to maintain the cleanliness and presentation of my retail stores will be much more of an aid to me in keeping the school in ‘ship shape’.

Mr. LaCount:  What kinds of Covid19 precautions do you have to take in the building?

Mr. Coughlan:  Disinfecting, disinfecting, and disinfecting, would be the top three precautions. Obviously, we are big on disinfecting. Damon and Sam did an outstanding job during our summer cleaning in taking on the task of thoroughly cleaning this building, from the ceiling tile to the baseboard (we work from the top on down. I had to use my math skills in developing a plan with social distancing in mind when setting up the classrooms for our early return. I’ve also worked collaboratively with our administration in having a plan for in-school use, from which entrances students enter and exit from, directional walkways, and adhering to social distancing protocols when setting up classrooms.

Mr. LaCount:  How will your interactions with the students change?

Mr. Coughlan:  None, other than the fact that I won’t be in three or four math classes every day. I will miss that. Other than that, I’ll still interact with our kids and staff as much as I always have, if not more. I’ve worked with our students during this first semester, because of the relationships I’ve built with them, albeit virtually. That is very rewarding.

Mr. LaCount:  What do you like most about your new job?

Mr. Coughlan: The responsibility it entails. Working with great Damon and Sam, two veterans that both take pride in keeping this school the cleanliest and best looking school in the county. Most of all, having the opportunity to still work with our kids, as well as #TheBestStaffEver.