DeKalb County

DeKalb school custodian going from the cleaning the classroom to teaching in one

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — Hightower Elementary School in DeKalb County is sparkling clean thanks to Tylan Bailey.

“I love being here. Every day I come here. I rarely miss a day,” Bailey said.

He has been the head custodian for 23 years. If anything breaks, he fixes it.

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“He’s the kind of person you want in your building, on your side,” principal Sheila Price said. Which is why the principal says it will be so hard to say goodbye. “It’s a bittersweet moment because we love him and we want to keep him here. But we know this is a huge step and we support him. We’re here for him for whatever he needs.”

Since 2017, Mr. Bailey has been busier than ever. “A lot of people around the building always ask me, when do I sleep?,” Bailey said.

He’d get to school around 5:30 in the morning, and close up late in the afternoon. But in between and after, he’d head off to college.


Last week Bailey graduated from Georgia State University with a degree in teaching. His dream job? Physical education. He says all those years of being in this building shaped his future. 

“Just walking through these halls every day, you’re surrounded by education. Each corner of this building, education. So why not be a part of that,” Bailey said.

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Mr. Bailey has already had some interviews, so things are looking good for landing a job. Before that, though, he will be the speaker at Hightower’s fifth grade graduation ceremony.