top of page

Feature Story: Custodian Shares Advice, Encourages Community To Prepare For Winter

This article was written as a feature story in my role as Events and Communications Specialist with Sycamore Community School District 427. The article was posted to our website ( and shared on social media (

Custodian Shares Advice; Encourages Community To Prepare For Winter

Even when Sycamore Middle School (SMS) Head of Maintenance Rob Aughenbaugh is not arranging classrooms, conducting security checks, or maintaining the building, he keeps the staff at SMS in mind. For Aughenbaugh, caring about others comes naturally.

“They are my middle school family... I protect them just like my own,” said Aughenbaugh. In fact, the staff and his crew are what he enjoys most about his position.

In a recent email to staff, Aughenbaugh shared maintenance advice on preparing for the winter months. Switching windshield washer fluid to a winter mix, disconnecting outdoor water hoses, and bringing inside anything that needs to be protected from freezing conditions, are a few of the items on his list. Plus, for those traveling to work or school in their own vehicle, Aughenbaugh suggests taking extra precautions.

“I always keep extra winter gear in my vehicle,” said Aughenbaugh. “You never know with winter


  • Disconnect outdoor water hoses

  • Bring inside anything that needs to be protected from freezing conditions

  • Switch windshield washer fluid to a winter mix

  • Keep extra winter gear in your vehicle, such as a blanket, gloves, and a flashlight with batteries

  • Change your furnace filter

  • If you have a high-efficiency furnace, you may have PVC pipes sticking out the back or side of

  • your house — make sure they do not get blocked by snowdrifts or sleet

Such helpful reminders are not uncommon from Aughenbaugh — many would agree that receiving them is a highlight of their day. It is safe to say that he has made an impression on the staff at SMS.

“I can’t speak a bad word about him... the middle school is like a second home to him, and he takes care of it as his own,” said SMS Principal Jim Cleven. “He’s a great guy.”

Taking care of the building and staff may come naturally to Aughenbaugh, but he is quick to point out that he does not do it alone. Aughenbaugh has plenty of help from the custodial staff at SMS. “We are a team and that’s how we get things done.”

Aughenbaugh has served the District at SMS for 10 years, where he started as a second shift custodian before transitioning to Head of Maintenance.


bottom of page