High school custodian nominated for ‘distinguished’ award

By: Victoria Mitchell | Royal Oak Review | Published May 6, 2015


ROYAL OAK — Every day with Daniel Webster is a lucky day for those that know him and his work.

The lifelong Royal Oak resident and head custodian at Royal Oak High School was named as the school district’s nominee for the Oakland Schools Betty Campion Distinguished Support Service Award during the April 16 regular Board of Education meeting.

“I’m truly humbled,” Webster said. “I really appreciate everybody who wrote on my behalf. I’m just blown away. I think this is just really, really, really nice.”

Webster said he is very thankful for everyone who nominated him, wrote letters of recommendation and showed support at the board meeting, and for his wife, Martha.

Webster has served many roles in his life — business owner, high school football player, parent, Whittier Elementary and Keller Middle schools PTA member, scouting volunteer and community softball coach — before becoming the head custodian at Royal Oak High School. He has worked in the district for 24 years.

Webster is also known by many for his avid gardening. He designed and implemented the Whittier Gardens.

“However, it’s through his work as a school employee that he has truly left his mark,” said Royal Oak High School Principal Mike Van Camp. “There are truly not enough superlatives to accurately describe his work performance, personality and influence.”

Van Camp said part of the award criteria is not only what the support person does for the school, but what he or she does for the school community.

Words used to describe Webster during the nomination process included professional, classy, kind, diligent, intelligent, dedicated, tireless and effective.

“Mr. Webster contributes to the sense of community of Royal Oak High School and is a great role model for all of us,” Van Camp said, adding that he models how to work hard, how to treat others with kindness and how to serve others.

Letters of support written on behalf of Webster describe him as a contributor to a healthy learning environment and to student success.

Royal Oak High School physical education teacher Vern Ratliff wrote, “Dan’s ongoing support of students and staff, dedication to his craft, and commitment to maintaining the school is what allows us to host a wide variety of programs and services that support the entire community.”

Oakland Elementary School Principal Sam Lynch, who also served as assistant principal at the high school, wrote, “Dan is an unsung hero who is indispensable to our organization. He not only takes pride in his work, but also takes ownership in the building and organization as a whole.”

Lynch said that Webster is proactive in heading off problems and is always willing to go the extra mile to make sure things get done the right way.

“He is truly a wonderful example to all of us,” Van Camp added.

As part of the honor, Webster’s name will be engraved on the Betty Campion Distinguished Support Service Award nominee plaque hanging in the lobby of the district administration building.

School officials said the Betty Campion Distinguished Support Service Award program was created to recognize the valuable contributions that employees other than teachers and administrators make to Oakland County schools. The award is named in honor of former Oakland Schools board member Betty Campion.

The winner will be announced in early May.