Working at an elementary school in Greenwich Village — and running a farm upstate
By MADELEINE THOMPSON
It’s evident that Miguel Negron loves his job, if for no other reason than that his commute is three hours each way. He and his wife moved upstate to Wallkill, New York six years ago and run a small farm there, but Negron is so devoted to his job that he’s never even considered finding work closer to home. The commute is by far the only bad thing about working at P.S. 41 Greenwich Village Elementary School, where he has been a custodian for 20 years, and still Negron is able to find an upside. “I get to do a lot of studying,” he says, for his upcoming custodian engineer exam. “I get to have the best of both worlds.”
Negron calls P.S. 41 his second home, and says when things are good at work they are good in the rest of his life. “I don’t mind going above and beyond because it benefits me spiritually,” he says. “And then when I go home what I left behind is good and I don’t have to worry about work.” Negron has driven through snowstorms to get to work, stopping on the side of the road to wipe off buried signage, but he says he would do anything for the kids at P.S. 41. “These are my kids,” he says.
He loves the hustle and bustle of schools and knows he has skills that are valuable, like listening and problem-solving. “I can contribute a lot besides just cleaning,” he says. He loves his coworkers and considers them family. They clearly feel the same way. Principal Kelly Shannon say she is fortunate to have gotten to know Negron. “The way he cares about what he does, he’s become part of the heart and soul of P.S. 41,” she said. Standing next to her, Negron wipes away tears.
Born and raised in New York City, Negron practically grew up in the industry. He uncle is a custodian, and his father worked as a custodian at a high school for 30 years. Now Negron is just as dedicated to his wife of seven years as he is to his job. When he gets home from work he makes sure she has her bath ready and her lunch for the next day. Together, Negron and his wife tend to their 26 chickens, cat, dog and birds. They also crochet, cook and watch reality shows in their shared time off.