Resume: Hausen is the lead steward and head custodian at Linus Pauling Middle School. She’s also worked at Crescent Valley High School and Adams and Mountain View elementary schools.
Family: Husband, Larry. One stepdaughter and two grandchildren.
Hobbies: Baking, especially Christmas cookies and candies. She collects cookie jars and also Boyd’s Bear figurines – her collection of the ceramic bear figures now numbers about 750, which she has stored in five curio cabinets.
One nasty job: Before starting work with the Corvallis School District, Hausen worked in disaster restoration. One job involved a cleanup after a sewer cap blew off underneath a house. “We had to have somebody come and cut out the concrete so we could get under the house and put down lime. We wore head-to-toe protective equipment – raingear, respirators, goggles. … This (her job at Linus Pauling) is much cleaner.”
From the Golden Apple nomination: “Nancy has faced many challenging daily changes during COVID. She has had added responsibilities and had to adapt to many changes.”
By MIKE McINALLY
Here’s the rule of thumb that Nancy Hausen uses as she and her crew work to keep Linus Pauling Middle School in top shape – all the lights working, the heat functioning, the floors and walls bright and clean: “If I saw this, would I be proud of it?”
That sense of pride has earned Hausen, the campus steward at Linus Pauling, one of the 2022 Golden Apple awards from the Corvallis Public School Foundation. The awards honor outstanding staff members and teachers in the Corvallis School District.
Over the past couple of years, her duties took on an additional dimension as the school and the district coped with the COVID pandemic, but Hausen and her team found ways to adapt to rapidly changing conditions.
Even in the time when students were learning online, “we still had so much do here,” she said. “A building this size, there’s always things you can’t get to, whether it’s replacing lights or the like. … We kept our crew busy during COVID. We were here on site every day just doing detail work.”
The challenges mounted when students finally returned to the school.
“When the staff and students started coming back, it was like, ‘oh boy, this is going to be a handful,’” she said.
She and her team set up health and safety stations in every room in the school to keep surfaces sanitized. They put signs and other markings in the school to help encourage social distancing: “With so many kids, it’s hard, but they actually were pretty good.”
And they started looking at objects like light switches and doorknobs in a different light: “You pretty much walked around with a bottle of sanitizer and a microfiber cloth all day long, just wiping.” That sanitizing work included “any surface that kids can touch, and that’s pretty much everywhere.”
The campus steward work gives Hausen the opportunity to interact with students, an opportunity she relishes.
“I get some students who just like to help clean,” she said. “It’s their building, too, so if they want to show some respect and responsibility and such, that’s really awesome when you see that in the kids. … And then every once in a while, they’ll make me cards or give me a note or something.”
She also likes that the job keeps her busy.
“You get a lot of phone calls throughout the day,” she said. “This is going on, that’s going on, so-and-so needs this, can you help with that? There’s never a dull moment here. … And that’s what I like about the job – it goes really fast, time goes really fast. It’s because you don’t really have time to sit.”
Hausen was doing disaster-restoration work for a cleaning company in 2004, when she heard about a job opening at the Corvallis School District. “I’ve always heard the Corvallis School District is an excellent place to work,” she said. “They had good benefits, they treat their employees well, you get to work with kids, and I thought, ‘OK, ideal job.’”
Her first job at the district was evening cleaning at Crescent Valley High School and Mountain View Elementary School. After a year, she moved to Linus Pauling as the evening lead custodian and did that for two years. After that, a campus steward job opened at Adams Elementary and she worked there for two years before returning to Linus Pauling as the campus steward. “This is my favorite building,” she said of Linus Pauling, “just because it was new and the staff were awesome. It just seemed like a challenge. And it is.”
Winning the Golden Apple was a “shock and a surprise,” she said. The surprise ceremony at Linus Pauling also honored another Golden Apple winner at the school, Kelsey Hibbert, the school’s dean of students, and students and staff members lined the halls, cheering and clapping for the two honorees. “A big honor,” Hausen said. “Very humbling. There’s so many good people in this district, to get an award like this, it’s like, ‘man, why me?’”
Well, in part it’s because of her determination “to keep this a safe and healthy place as long as I can.” That’s what drives her to report to work each day.
But there is at least one other benefit to the work, Hausen said.
“It’s pretty physically demanding; in the summertime especially, we move all the furniture out of all the classrooms and scrub and wax floors and such like that. I want to continue that as long as I can. Then I don’t have to pay to go to the gym. This is my exercise.”