What do you do?
Don ‘Grandpa’ Rickert

Where do you work and what is your title?
       Midland International Elementary School. I am a part-time custodian – formerly retired building manager.
What do you do there and/or what are you responsible for?
       I am here to provide a clean, safe environment for the students so they can consentrate on learning.
How long have you been doing this kind of work (total)? How long on the Westside?
       I’ve been working for District 11 for 15 years, 12 years here at Midland.
What do you like best about it (other than quitting time)?
       The kids. I have one hundred seventy-five grandchildren. I am the Midland Grandpa. I cause chaos with the kids walking in the halls. When I fill in for a teacher, which is only for a short while, I help the kids make paper airplanes and fly them around. We have fun.
If you could change one thing (other than pay), what would it be?
       I would not change a thing – life is good. We’re all like a family here. I get to know the whole family because we’re a small school.
What part of your work did your training/education never prepare you for?
       Prior to working in District 11, I worked for 25 years in the insurance field. I was used to interacting with adults. Interacting with kids is different. Because my wife had a licensed daycare in our home, I became a licensed daycare father. Also, having my own grandkids helped with this job.
What makes working on the Westside special?
       The Westside reminds me of my childhood days growing up in a similar type neighborhood. I grew up on the southside of Chicago.

“What do you do?” is a regular feature in the Westside Pioneer. If you know someone who has an interesting job on the Westside (but doesn’t live here), he/she might be a candidate for this column! If you know someone who might qualify, give us a call at 471-6776.