POWNAL – It’s getting up there in years, this rural school located on Elmwood Road in Pownal.

Pownal Elementary School, in fact, will be half-a-century old in just four years. A visitor would not know that, though. Yes, it’s apparent that the school was built in a certain era, but Pownal Elementary is hardly deteriorating, thanks in no small part to the custodial team of Lorrie Spaulding and Nicole Williams.

Spaulding by day and Williams by night keep every nook and cranny of the school clean. Together with the efforts of Dennis Ouellette, director of operations in Regional School Unit 5, this old school stands proud.

“I think it’s in great shape,” said Lisa Demick, spending her fourth year as principal at Pownal Elementary. “It looks well cared for. We have two custodians and they work really well together. It’s stuff people take for granted. The kids take care of our school because it’s in such good shape to begin with.”

Spaulding and Williams work smoothly together – even though their paths might not cross on any given day. Both have other responsibilities with Regional School Unit 5. Spaulding comes in at 7:30 a.m., driving a school bus. She works at the school until classes get out, then takes students home on the bus and is done by 4 p.m. Williams comes in at 2. She drives a special education van, returns at around 4:30 and works at the school until 10.

Still, they communicate.

“If there’s anything I can’t get done in the time I’m here, it kind of bugs me,” Williams said. “That’s how Lorrie and I work together. I leave her a note.”

Williams, who lives in Freeport but has family living in Pownal, went to the school her kindergarten year, in 1998. She takes pride in the building.

“It’s kind of special to have this opportunity to be back here,” she said. “We really get down and dirty in the summer. Basically, every surface. Then Lorrie and I just do our best during the school year and keep it up.”

Spaulding, who grew up just across the town line in New Gloucester, has worked in Freeport schools for 22 years. She spent 20 years at Mast Landing School in Freeport, and arrived at Pownal Elementary at the beginning of the last school year.

“I just take pride in making it look good,” Spaulding said. “I get satisfaction from it.”

Spaulding noted – as did Demick – that new paint, carpeting and other things that Ouellette sees to don’t hurt. She and Williams take care of the rest.

“I just get in the corners and scrape the edges,” Spaulding said. “I’m fussy about stuff like that.”

Demick credits Ouellette for keeping a close eye on improvements, such as new siding and windows, needed to keep the school from decaying. She can’t say enough about the custodians.

“Lisa during the day is just a dynamo,” Demick said. “She has a running list. Nicole has a schedule for herself. They’re very systematic in always keeping ahead of any issues.”

Even scuff marks get addressed at Pownal Elementary.

“Nicole leaves notes for the kids that something needs to be picked up,” Demick said. “We are a school with a positive support plan. Kids get a ‘Paws for Applause’ sticker for the neatest coat rack.”

Spaulding and Williams set the tone.

“They see Lisa working all through the day,” Demick said. “She’ll be in the bathroom cleaning floors and in the lunchroom cleaning tables. I think her work ethic is apparent with the students.”

Nicole Williams, dedicated to keeping Pownal Elementary School looking good for its age.Lorrie Spaulding, dedicated to keeping Pownal Elementary School looking good for its age.

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