[ OUR SRPs ]

Getting to know … David Mills

Portrait photograph of David Mills grinning in a blue buttoned-up polo top with the New Rochelle School District logo displayed on the polo top and his black lanyard/chrome badge around his neck while he holds a blue pen and white paper

David Mills, a member of the New Rochelle Federation of United School Employees, is an assistant custodian. He was interviewed by Bill Coleman, executive vice president of the New Rochelle FUSE and a member of the NYSUT SRP Advisory Committee.

Why do you love what you do?

I have worked 42 years as assistant custodian for the New Rochelle school district. I love what I do because I get to watch each new generation grow up, and I get to help people from teachers to parents and kids. I have always been handy, good at fixing things and enjoy friendly communication with others. I help ensure that public spaces are safe and clean and maintain the grounds so the kids can focus on learning. I have had strong ties to the New Rochelle school district and community. My father worked for the district. Later, I decided to work for the district and even got the chance to watch my own children graduate from New Rochelle schools. The school community and relationships I have built with my coworkers have made these 42 years fly by.

Are you involved in the union?

I knew unions were essential to support because they sought to reduce wage gaps for workers of color, offer retirement security and provide equity and safety to those who join. These were just some of the main reasons I joined. I have seen how they have had our backs when we went on strike many years ago. They support us and always look into how they can negotiate better benefits. They also do outreach to the community. I am looking forward to becoming more involved.

Tell me, how do you make a difference?

I make a difference by approaching each day by going above and beyond, sharing kindness and showing a strong work ethic. It is essential to continuously interact with everyone with a smile and a good morning, it makes the day start off in a good way.

One example of the difference I make is in preparing the school for each new school year; it creates smiles on the faces of the kids excited to be starting their first days in a new grade. During COVID-19, my role in keeping the school clean and managing infection control helped keep everyone safe. In fact, all of our roles were important during the pandemic. It was a tough time, but the district supported us and we all persevered. I enjoy contributing to the well-being of the school community and making it a better place for the kids and staff.

Are you involved in the community? Do you have any hobbies?

I volunteer with the Hope Kitchen. I also have been a part of the Rochelle Heights Neighborhood Association. My hobbies include gardening, playing golf with my daughters, working on cars and cooking for friends and family. I’m also always open to lend a helping hand to my elderly neighbors.