OAKLAND (KCBS)— Has anyone ever told you, you are the best at what you do? An Oakland Unified School District employee has received that compliment and was honored from non-teaching positions as “Classified Employee of the Year” by the California Department of Education.
Marcus Board is one of 11 painters responsible for 110 sites throughout the school district. His work involves maintaining gym floors, painting yard lines, doors, lockers, and walls.
“I love my co-workers. I love working with them. We have fun, we talk trash to each other; have a good time. We keep it loose, but we know that we have to take care of business,” he said.
The top priority for painters at Oakland Unified is graffiti abatement. Sometimes school property is vandalized with the number 187, which means murder.
Board says that kind of symbol can put a campus in disarray because the learning process is disrupted. It’s the painters’ job to erase that distraction and to leave no trace that a threat was ever there.
“You have to have the right colors. I’d say we have over 2,000 colors. Each school has a different scheme.
So what sets him apart from the tens of thousands of classified employees in the state’s more than 1,000 school districts?
“He’s known for his attention to detail, for going above and beyond the call of duty,” said Troy Flint, the school district’s spokesman. “He’s extremely sunny, extremely friendly. I’m sure he has off days, but I’ve never seen one.”
Board was honored in Sacramento at a luncheon and received a glass trophy. He spoke of the work ethic instilled in him by his late mother. When he lived in Richmond as a teen, his mother kept him busy. He had to paint his room, clean the yard, and paint the garage.
“I think that’s how I got into painting, because of her.”
It’s a diligence recognized by his one-time landlord in Richmond. When his landlord was ready to sell the building, he came to Board after noticing the care he took in the property even though he was just renting.
“He said ‘Would you take it?’ It was like a dream,” he said.
His latest recognition is like another dream come true. He’s grateful and appreciative to put in another hard day’s work.