Sandra and Shannon Hill can often be seen cleaning up the cafeteria and hallways in their Fort Mill schools and working with staff and administrators.
But it’s their unseen impacts that make the Hills special to their principals, the students and the staff they work with.
Sandra, who works at Fort Mill Elementary School, and her husband, Shannon, who works at Pleasant Knoll Middle School, were named 2019 Support Staff of the Year by their schools. They were each chosen from three finalists.
“When you have a school vision of building a culture built on positive relationships with students, parents and staff, Mr. Shannon is an integral part of that,” said Grey Young, Pleasant Knoll Middle School principal.
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Sandra said she was shocked they both received the honor.
“I am very proud of him,” she said.
“Me, too. I’m proud of her,” Shannon said. “I was surprised, and I’m proud my work paid off.”
Both work as day porters in their schools. They work to keep the facilities clean and ready for students and staff each day.
Sandra has been with Fort Mill for 10 years, the last two at Fort Mill Elementary. She’s also worked at Doby’s Bridge Elementary School.
“I’ve enjoyed the people and principals, that’s why I stay,” Sandra said.
Shannon has worked for 12 years in Fort Mill schools, spending 10 at Nation Ford High School before coming to the new middle school.
“It’s fun. Everybody have fun but they get down to business about teaching and the administrators doing their job, but everybody have laughter,” he said. “Sometimes you see someone having a bad day. You encourage them and their day will get better.”
The Hills are a large part of their schools, their principals said.
“(Shannon) has great relationships with the kids. In fact, I feel like our kids respect him so much, they want to keep the building clean because they have respect for what he does and the job he does,” Young said.
He emphasized how important the Hills’ jobs do are to a school.
“(Shannon is) here first thing in the morning, sometimes he’s here late at night,” Young said. “He is kind of the foundation of our school most days. He does it with a smile on his face.”
Jocelyn Young, principal of Fort Mill Elementary, said Hill ensures the building is clean in the mornings, doors are locked at night, and she is there for anything needed.
“Ms. Sandra is always there for us,” Young said. “I think a lot of people don’t understand how important our day porter is, but she is literally there before I get to work in the mornings.”
Sandra, Young said, also builds relationships with the students and parents.
“We talk about providing students with a wonderful place to work and learn and she’s a huge part of that,” Young said. “She never complains. At Fort Mill Elementary, we’re really big on family and she’s a huge part of our family.”
The Hills met while working in Fort Mill schools helping to clean restrooms and other duties, Shannon said. A few years into their friendship, they were both working at Nation Ford High School when he asked her on a date.
They’ve been together for eight years and married for six, Shannon said.
“We just enjoy working together,” Sandra said. “We’ve been inseparable since we got married.”
Shannon said he thanks his wife for his success.
“The way she pushed me every day. Every day she made me better,” he said.
When asked what it’s like spending so much time together, Shannon said: “I say it’s easy. I love her.”