Joe Mason of Asa Adams Elementary School in Orono has been awarded as the Maine School Custodian of the Year and will be the recipient of the A. Burleigh Oxton Award for Excellence.
Joe credits the “Read ME Agriculture” program as a factor that lead him to reach out to the community more for volunteers and also working with staff to coordinate readings, he says, “This is one of the many things that really made my role as a custodian expand to also become involved in doing something other than just cleaning for the kids, but actually getting to ‘teach’, if you will.”
Joe started as a custodian at Asa Adams Elementary School in Orono in September of 2014. He became Greenhouse Coordinator 3 1/2 years ago and it was at that time he learned about the MAITC “Read ME Agriculture” program. Not long after that he had the school lined up for the ‘Applesauce Day’ reading, and has continued with the program since then.
In addition to the annual readings, he also works with some kids who help water the plants in the school’s greenhouse. He’s worked with small groups of students in the past couple of years to do things like build bee boxes for Mason bees, start marigold seeds, and grow edible pea shoots.
Outside of work Joe is also an avid home gardener, and loves to pickle things: cucumbers, zucchini, fiddleheads, carrots, asparagus, and green beans. He is also a passionate disc golf player (and a state winner three times!), and has helped get the sport incorporated into the PE program at his school.
Congratulations to Joe on this well deserved award!
This story is courtesy of Maine Agriculture in the Classroom (MAITC). Learn more about MAITC by visiting their website at https://www.agclassroom.org/ME/.