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"He Spreads Positivity Wherever He Goes"
Leroy Collins is the Classified Employee of the Year for Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools.
For more pictures, go to Your Permanent Record.
By Kim Underwood
Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools
MAY 28, 2021 – His colleagues at Reynolds High appreciate how well Leroy Collins takes care of Reynolds High as the Lead Custodian.
They also treasure him as a person.
“He really does brighten up your day,” said Ramelle Shuler, the Second Secretary at Reynolds.
Principal Leslie Alexander said, “Mr. Collins is one of the most positive people I know.”
“He loves taking care of our building, our teachers, and our students. He spreads positivity wherever he goes. He has a ‘get her done’ attitude that is contagious. He is simply a joy to work with each day.”
At the 2021 Core Awards, Collins was named Classified Employee of the Year.
“It was a well-deserved honor,” Alexander said.
“Mr. Collins is a highly organized and effective team builder. His work ethic is amazing. He takes pride in his work and it shows. Since Mr. Collins began leading our custodial team, Reynolds High School has never been as safe or looked as beautiful.”
“Mr. Collins has one of the most important jobs in our building. I truly believe that the safety and cleanliness of the building affects every single person on campus, whether they realize it or not.”
“Every morning one of my favorite things is being greeted by Mr. Collins, with his signature ‘How's it perking, boss lady?!’ I always smile because things are usually ‘perking’ pretty well at Reynolds because he has been there getting our campus ready since 6 a.m.”
“And regardless of how things may be going in my particular morning, that greeting reminds me how important a positive attitude is and of the type of person I want to try to be that day. Having that type of positive influence on others is the definition of true leadership.”
“We are fortunate to have Mr. Collins as a leader in our school.”
Asked what his favorite part of his job is, Collins said, “All of it.”
He likes interacting with young people and adults. He likes helping others. He likes working with others on his team to make sure Reynolds is a clean as it can be.
“I’m happy this is the path I’m taking,” Collins said.
“It was an honor that folks recognized me – knowing the work we do is important.”
Vanita Fleming teaches English at Reynolds.
“He is a special man,” she said.
She likes watching Collins interact with students. He has gotten to know many of them, and, if he sees one that is having an off day, he might walk up and say something to cheer them up.
She also likes how much Collins appreciates Reynolds High and its history.
“He loves this historical building, and he wants to make it the best it can be all the time,” Fleming said.
And he is eager to help everyone else.
Fleming said that, if she says she needs a mop, he asks her why. When she tells him that, say, a student spilled something, he tells her he will take care of it as soon as he can.
And that usually means right away.
“When he sees it needs to be done, he does it,” Fleming said. “He doesn’t like to let stuff sit.”
Shuler said Collins has a gift for knowing what you need.
“Before you ask, he has taken care of it,” she said.
Collins grew up in Florida. He is the fifth of Joan Lucille and Leroy Collins Sr.’s six children.
And, yes, the older ones did tend to boss them around.
He moved to North Carolina to be near his twin daughters.
When he first arrived, he held such jobs as being a bagger at Food Lion and a burger flipper at Wendy’s.
In 1986, he joined the housekeeping department at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.
At the church they both attended – Genesis Victory Outreach Center – Collins met a woman named Vardrena. They have now been married for 28 years and have two boys.
Sports have always been important to Collins. As an adult, he continued to play sports and he started coaching young people in basketball and baseball. He has also served as an umpire.
At Anderson Community Center on Reynolds Park Road, he coached basketball, and there he worked with such people as Bryant McCorkle who – these days – is the Director of the center and the Parent Involvement Coordinator at Sedge Garden Elementary.
One of Collins’ joys over the years has been having kids he coached run up to him when they see him out and about.
When a mother asks, “Who is that?” the child says, “That’s Mr. Collins.”
When his work schedule at the medical center meant that he started missing some weekend games, he decided to find a job that would free up his weekends.
In 1992, Collins joined WS/FCS as a custodian at John F. Kennedy High where Charlene Davis, who is now retired, was principal. Davis appreciated Collins as a person and as a worker, and she invited him to join her at Sherwood Forest Elementary as the Lead Custodian when she became the principal there in 1996.
“She took me with her,” he said.
In 1998, they headed to Meadowlark Elementary.
After she retired, he wanted to a job that was solely during the day. Grandchildren were coming along, and he wanted to be able to spend as much time with them as possible. That desire led to him getting the position as Lead Custodian at Reynolds in 2015.
The SRO (School Resource Officer) at Reynolds is one of the adults coached when they were growing up.
“He used to be my basketball coach,” Deputy K. Mickens of the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Department.
“He was a big part of my life. He showed me skills.”
William Martin, who is a PE and health teacher at Reynolds, is the head basketball coach at Reynolds.
“Collins is a great person, period,” Martin said.
“He cares about people more than anything. He takes what he does seriously.”
If he sees that something needs to be done, Martin said, he doesn’t hesitate. He does it. But only if it’s the right thing to do.
“If it’s not the right thing to do, he’s not going to do it.”
Today, Collins has 14 grandchildren. The youngest is 1 and the oldest is 20. One of his greatest joys is cooking for and playing with grandchildren and spending time with other family members.
The list of Collins’ fans at Reynolds goes on and on.
Andrew Allison is an Assistant Principal at Reynolds.
Collins is wonderful, Allison said.
“I became his supervisor this year and it's the easiest job I've had. Not only does he complete every task asked of him, but he is also probably already had it done before I ask.”
“He is the heartbeat of this school and is beyond professional in all his encounters. He has become more than a coworker but a friend. We talk youth baseball which his grandson is playing in the same league as my sons. We share equipment and stories about the games.”
“I honestly have no clue what we would do without such a wonderful person on this campus."
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