Toni Taylor Frontline

One of the highest compliments that can be paid to an in-house worker at a college or university is that they helped make the place feel a little more like home. To hear her co-workers, supervisors, and even students describe it, Toni Taylor is an integral part of making Jackson College cleaner, safer, and more comfortable as a place to work, study and live.  

She's been working part-time as a cleaning team member at Jackson College, based in Jackson, Michigan, for four years and has left an indelible impression on students that will last for years — not just because she helped provide a clean environment, but because of her imaginative and selfless efforts to help educate the kids about the importance of cleaning and cleaning tasks in their own lives. Students may come to Jackson for any number of majors or disciplines, but many are getting real-life lessons that are practically invaluable for many kids preparing to head off on their own.  

Taylor’s student-focused efforts involve multiple departments, as she teams with the Resident Hall Coordinators to conduct seminars; students that live in the dorms are welcomed into a suite in the hall, where Taylor educates them about the role of various cleaning skills in their lives — and demonstrates how to do those tasks to perfection.  

She doesn’t just show them how to clean toilets, sinks, stoves, freezers, microwaves and more, she also helps de-frost fridges and offers tips on safe chemical storage and handling. Afterwards, the students receive free supplies, such as buckets, multipurpose cleaners, toilet cleaners, sponges, wipes and more. It’s simply remarkable. 

One of her first summers on the job, Taylor noticed that a temporary employee was having a difficult time making the adjustment to college life — she was an international student and didn’t have many friends or family nearby. Taylor took her under her wing, helping with the work but also offering companionship, someone to talk to and do activities like bowling.  

Over her time at Jackson, she’s gotten to know many students by name, and often takes extra care to make sure that the students have access to the supplies and toiletries that they need, always making sure that they’re well-equipped should any situations arise.  

Morgan Phillips, the facility coordinator at Jackson, says it best: “Toni is not just a hard worker, but she is also a single mother of six.  She makes sure her family is her top priority while still being able to care for and be there for students. She deserves to be recognized for her warm and caring spirit and all the hard work she puts in not only for Jackson College, but also for her family.”