Most of us have someone in our lives who helped shape who we are and guided us toward the paths we’ve taken. There’s a story behind why we do the jobs we do, and what has inspired us to continue doing it for years to come. For many in Kenosha Unified, those stories have ultimately connected them to the district for generations.
For the Baas family, that calling started in the 1970s with Donald Baas being hired as a KUSD custodian. Little did he know then, his son and grandson would follow in his footsteps to not only work in the same field, but they would all hold their first head custodian job at Lincoln Middle School (then Junior High). In fact, Tim Baas, Donald’s son, and Noah Baas, Tim’s son, both landed the job at age 22.
“I never really thought too much about it at the time, but I would find paperwork of my father’s in the desk drawers and things like that,” said Tim, who worked as a custodian for the district for 40 years before retiring in 2017. “My dad had been in the district for a number of years already, so he had made bonds with all these maintenance people which kind of carried over for me. I built a camaraderie with them from just them knowing my father and my uncles, who also did maintenance work for the district.”
Now that Noah has taken on the job, it has come full circle for the Baas family.
“I have a lot of people watching over me and willing to help me, partly because they know my dad,” Noah said. “They’d pretty much drop anything to help me out.”
Noah also has been humbled by his family’s legacy of hard work and is proud to follow in their footsteps.
“Our family is a part of this district,” Noah said. “There’s a lot of pride in that.”
The Baas family has worked for KUSD in some capacity forever, Tim said.
“We’ve given our all to this district, and we’re still plugging away here,” Tim said. “It’s a good thing to know the district has kept a family for all these years, and it’s good for us to know we’re taken care of.”
Tim and Noah agreed that their job, while not an easy one, was always enjoyable because it allowed their family traits to shine – qualities like working hard, being handy and going above and beyond their assigned duties. The job also has given them no shortage of memories and friendships.
“It’s always good to know the maintenance people because they’re the ones who can help you out in a pinch and keep things running,” Tim said. “It was good to feel that I was appreciated, and not just by the kids, but by the staff, too. It made me want to come back every day. Sometimes that little bit of a pat on the back is all you need, and it goes a long way.”