CLIFTON, N.J. (CNN/WTRF) — Taras Petryshyn knows a thing or two about how a mop works.
After all, he got his start working in the Clifton School District as custodian.
But that title has since changed drastically.
“Now I’m an assistant principal at school number 14,” said Petryshyn.
The 37-year-old man immigrated from the Ukraine in 1997, graduating from Clifton High School three years later.
After graduation, Petryshyn returned to his high school Alma Mater. However, not as a student but a janitor.
“The plan was to get a job, pay for college, see what happens next and then I just stuck around,” said Petryshyn.
In the morning, he went to school at William Paterson University and at night, he cleaned, never losing sight of his idea of success.
“Hard work pays off, and it’s a theme and maybe it’s a cliche, I don’t know but, it works, the American dream, you work hard, it doesn’t matter if it’s a year or two, eventually it pays off,” said Petryshyn.
Once he graduated from college, the school district hired him as a teacher and he educated students for 11 years.
11 years later and Petryshyn is elated to accept this new position and help lead a school in the district that never stopped believing in him.
“It’s a journey, you start something and move forward,” said Petryshyn. “It never stops. There are struggles, there’s let downs and disappointments but perseverance and hard work always leads to good outcomes.”
Petryshyn goes from the utility room to a boss room where he plans to help others grow like he did.
“When you see you can contribute to someone else’s growth, student growth, teacher growth — it makes me feel happy,” said Petryshyn.
Petryshyn’s first day of school as the new Assistant Principal is September 3.