Editor’s note: Miles Mavrovic is pictured on the right.
It takes a huge team to keep a school district as big as Portage Township Schools running smoothly. Teachers, administrators, and of course, the students, all have big roles to play. Some, however, sometimes go unnoticed – the maintenance and custodial workers under the charge of Mile Mavrovic, Director of Buildings and Grounds.
“In the maintenance and custodial departments, I’m surrounded by many good people who take pride in what they do,” Mavrovic said. “We provide a clean, healthy, safe, and secure school environment to meet the needs of our students, staff, and community. We’re the support staff no one knows, yet we are always there and ready to help.”
Mavrovic was born and raised in Yugoslavia, where he graduated from high school and earned an electro technician degree. He joined the military when he finished school, but then there was a national crisis.
“I was 22 years old when I left my country during a civil war in search of opportunity, prosperity, and a better life,” Mavrovic said. “Northwest Indiana has been my home since 1992.”
Here he met his wife, Kerry, who is a Portage High School graduate, and countless other people who helped him settle into a new country.
“I’ve been married to Kerry for 25 years and together we raised our son Marko, an outstanding young man,” he said. “I’ve been blessed and lucky in many ways as I have met many people along the way who’ve helped me, cared for me, and loved me. They believed in me and gave me an opportunity, and opportunity is all I have ever asked for.”
Mavrovic first started at the school district seven years ago, and quickly fell in love with the work. Besides organizing the maintenance and custodial department’s daily operations, he’s also in charge of the district’s short- and long-term capital improvements, construction projects, and emergency responses. Despite all that essential work, he argues another role is just as important.
“I would say this: both the maintenance and custodial departments play an important indirect role in educating our kids,” he said. “It’s not only by ensuring that they have a safe and comfortable learning environment, but by being coaches, mentors, volunteers, and parents to our kids.”
Looking back at the path he took to where he is now, Mavrovic only has one small chunk of advice for his younger self.
“Choose the right path, not the easiest,” he said. “Hard work, dedication, and sacrifice do pay off in the end, just do your job.”
When he’s not working, Mavrovic enjoys spending time with his family, reading, traveling, and rooting for the New England Patriots.