When the phone rang last month, Stephanie Steinhoff was excited for the opportunity for the chance to get back to work.
The Louisville Middle School kitchen satellite lead has been sidelined for six months, following Boulder Valley School District’s announcement, last March, to close schools.
“We went in the next day and did some really good deep cleaning in our kitchens. We made it sparkling, spotless clean and then we went home and pretty much just waited for an email,” Steinhoff said.
It was a long time to wait for someone that truly enjoys their job.
“I love it. I love my job. It’s the first job I’ve ever had where I can say that, Steinhoff said. ” I brag about it all the time. I still talk to my staff that I worked with in Texas and share what we are doing here. I love the way the kitchens are run here. I love that the kids are getting fresh food instead of opening up a box of something frozen and throwing it on a pan and throwing it in an oven.”
She says that she misses the daily routine of getting everything ready for lunch.
“I miss the kids, my staff and my kitchen,” Steinhoff said. “One day we are at work and then the next day everything changed.”
When she got the call to return to work in August, she was hoping she’d be able to return to the kitchen at LMS. When the district announced the school year would start in Phase 1, kitchens remained closed while students were out of the school building. Instead, employees were given alternate work assignments to help maintain district school campuses to prepare for the return of students and staff.
“I was bummed,” Steinhoff said honestly. “I, however, am grateful that I still have a job. You know, a lot of people out there don’t have a job any more.”
She now is putting those solid cleaning skills from her kitchen to use at Emerald Elementary.
“I’m cleaning all the teachers rooms, all the big open area rooms, all the way down to the library,” Steinhoff said. “I make sure that the front doors are constantly clean.”
“If I hear a door open and shut, I go and find that door and clean and sanitize it,” she added.
Her attention to detail is much appreciated by the staff at Emerald Elementary.
“They thank me so much,” Steinhoff said.
While she hopes to return to her kitchen soon, Steinhoff will continue to take great pride in keeping Emerald spotless as long as she is there.
“I try to make sure their rooms are fresh and clean before they come in. It is my top priority,” continued Steinhoff. “The majority of the teachers are working from the building and it makes me feel like I’ve done a good job when they are comfortable enough to sit at their desk with their doors shut, with their masks off.”
BVSD Heroes is a series of stories highlighting the outstanding work of Boulder Valley School District employees during the pandemic.