Custodian to assistant principal

National News

NEW JERSEY (KFDX/KJTL) — An assistant principal in Clifton, New Jersey is no newbie to the school district. He started out as a custodian.

Dick Brennan explains how his positive outlook and hard work helped him climb the ranks.

“Put your foot on there so it doesn’t come up,” Taras Petryshyn still knows a thing or two about how a mop works. “You do the number 8,” Petryshyn says.

After all, he got his start working in the Clifton school district as a custodian
“you do this way and come back the other way.”

But that title has since changed drastically Petryshyn says, “now I’m an assistant principal at school number 14.”

The 37-year-old man immigrated from Ukraine in 1997- graduating from Clifton high school three years later, and returned back, not as a student, but as a janitor. Petryshyn says, “the plan was to get a job, pay for college, see what happens next and then I just stuck around.”

In the morning he went to school at William Paterson University, at night he cleaned, never losing sight of his idea of success
Petryshyn says “hard work pays off, and it’s a theme and maybe it’s a cliche, I don’t know but, it works, the American dream, you work hard, it doesn’t matter if it’s a year or two, eventually it pays off.”

Once he graduated from college, the district hired him as a teacher- he did that for 11 years. Elated to accept this new position and help lead a school in the district that never stopped believing in “him”.

“It’s a journey, you start something and move forward. It never stops. There are struggles, there’s letdowns and disappointments but perseverance and hard work always leads to good outcomes,” says Petryshyn.

This man going from the utility room-to a bosses room, where he plans to help others grow like he did.

“When you see you can contribute to someone else’s growth, student growth, teacher growth. It makes me feel happy,” said Petryshyn.

Proving good, clean, hard work-gets you far.

Taras was officially appointed to the position by the school board this past Wednesday. But the first day of school for the new assistant principal is September 3.

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