Rigoberto Vaquiz: May 2013 Employee of the Month

Rigoberto Vaquiz, Employee of the Month for May, is the plant operator at Travis Elementary School, a position he has held for the past 18 years. He first came to the district in 1994, when he was hired as a custodian at that same campus. Before that, Vaquiz worked in hotel maintenance and as a general helper at various companies. 

As the head of his school’s custodial staff, Vaquiz is responsible for keeping the campus clean, safe, and attractive, and for making sure all of the school’s systems are well-maintained and functioning efficiently. He oversees a staff of five custodians, and he is known for staying late to cover events after hours, even though he is not compensated for his time. “I love my job and I like working with the students,” he says. “I tell people, I am a plant operator, but I am also a parent and a grandfather. And I take care of these children like I do my own granddaughter.” 

A native of El Salvador, Vaquiz moved to United States in 1980 and originally settled in Louisiana. He now lives in Houston with his wife of 30 years, Marili, and when not working, he enjoys listening to music, watching sports, and spending time with his four-year-old granddaughter.

“Mr. Vaquiz is an essential part of Travis; he is present at almost everything that happens,” says Travis Elementary School Principal Suzy Walker. “Whether we are having a Literacy Night, a Spaghetti Dinner, or hosting a UIL Tournament, Mr. Vaquiz will be doing everything he can to make sure things run smoothly. He knows our children, and they know him and love him. Keeping our school clean and looking great is a daily goal for him. We shine because he makes sure we shine.”

“Mr. Vaquiz is a valuable member of Team HISD,” adds Senior Manager of Operations Brian Busby. “Without him, Travis Elementary would not be the same place parents walk into today. His willingness to be a proactive leader on campus makes it self-sufficient when it comes to maintenance. He addresses and resolves issues as they come up.”

“When I got to this side of town and I got the feeder pattern for Reagan, Mr. Vaquiz was one of the first ones to welcome me with open arms,” adds Team Leader Rickey Brown. “He helped me a lot. When I walked into that school, it was very clean and well kept, and it is all on the shoulders of Mr. Vaquiz. His team treats him with the utmost respect, due to his dedication, work ethic, and commitment to the job.”