LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Kim Vilasi

Position: Custodian
School: Fayetteville Public Schools
School District: Fayetteville Public Schools
City, State: Fayetteville, AR

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Kim Vilasi was nominated by her colleague, Becky Hall.

Ms. Vilasi has made an extraordinary impact on the lives of students at Holt Middle School. She always goes above and beyond to meet the needs of her staff, teachers, administrators, and most importantly, the students. Vilasi has served as head custodian for several years before being promoted to a custodial leadership position for Fayetteville Public Schools this year. She now works in the district's maintenance department as one of two supervisors for all night custodians in the district. It is the largest segment of custodians that the district employs.

Ms. Vilasi's work ethic and professionalism are contagious. At Holt, she was the first one to arrive on campus, and her feet hit the ground running. Not only did Ms. Vilasi have an excellent work performance, but she truly created a nurturing atmosphere for students. She built lasting relationships with students and encouraged them to reach their full potential. She shared stories with them about her life, and genuinely cared about their needs. Whether it was mentoring students, creating jobs for student success, or simply warming up food during lunch time, students knew they could count on "Ms. Kim."

Ms. Vilasi provided avenues for struggling students to be successful behaviorally in a variety of ways. She was a model for the students and had high ethical standards.

"Ms. Kim was someone our kids could count on no matter what! She was a pillar of hope for so many of our at-risk kids. Her presence is greatly missed, but we know she will continue to shine on as a district leader!" Hall said.

Comments (22)

Sarah Jewell Posted over a year ago

In all the schools I've taught in, I've never met a head custodian dedicated to students, teachers, and parents as Ms. Kim. She would come to work early in the morning, dedicate herself all day to students and staff, leave school,then start her second job of the day. Ms. Kim could have come in everyday and quietly completed her duties, but there wasn't a week that went by that she didn't touch a child's life. All students not only knew her,but strived to interact with her. Our building was always immaculate, which was a direct reflection of Ms. Kim's work ethic. In fact, teachers from around our district would comment on how beautiful our halls and pack areas were when they came to visit. If I missed work for any reason, she made sure to stop by my office and ask how I was feeling, and always made it a point to ask how my kids were doing. Ms. Kim was always making personal connections to our students and staff, therefore making Holt Middle School the wonderful place it is today.

Charrisce Craft Posted over a year ago

Ms. Kim is genuine and passionate about everything that she does. She is not afraid to open her mind or her heart to a student or co-worker. She does not discriminate and she has enough room to help all students, whether they be in need that day or in need everyday. She has a talent for listening which is a skill that others either lack in possession, or haven't taken the time to master. With these qualities, she is able to focus on the need of the students, coworkers, and her job as a whole. She never quits, never gives up, and never let's down. Her qualities have helped to build character in our students "today", who will in turn develop into the leaders of our "future". Thank you Ms. Kim for always going above and beyond and for showing the students that it has never been a "job" that you do, but a "a career" and dedication to helping others.

Amelia Duong Posted over a year ago

Kim loves all our students! She gives tough love to those who need it, mentorship to others and a smile and hello to all. She goes above and beyond for many buying clothing and Christmas gifts. She is one of the kindest most loving people I have ever know and she deserves to be recognized for her kindness!

Andrew Chance Posted over a year ago

Ms. Kim isn't a mirror of what was outside the building, or in the newspapers, or the weather. She's steady-what's true about each person is that they matter everyday- and that's how she acted. I am still impressed by how sincerely she speaks truth to students, and how they receive it, because she shows that sincerity matters. So does support- she never got on to a kid she hadn't encouraged, and she never let a day pass without encouraging the people around her.

Jane Corrigan Posted over a year ago

Kim has a unique way of connecting with students in our building. She is truly a one-of-a-kind person with many experiences that help her in relating to others.

Richard Guthrie Posted over a year ago

Ms. Kim is a life-changer and difference-maker for students and staff alike. When Kim saw a student sitting alone in the cafeteria, immediately she would form a relationship. If she suspected a student needed more food....subtley she would investigate and make this available as needed. To say she is intuitive is an understatement! Students that needed a helping hand...Kim could find a job...find a moment to make them feel important and successful and loved. This was always done without recognition, without fanfare. The recognition is overdue for this wonderfully impactful family member of FPS. Staff can count on her to make a building become what it truly is...where floors and people shine equally. Kim's smile is genuine, her work is unsurpassed, and her loyalty to staff and students will be felt at Holt Middle School for many years to come. Kim will continue to grow this legacy in her new district role.

Kacie Travis Posted over a year ago

What an impact Ms. Kim has made on the lives of so many students. She was the reason some students came to school. She is so deserving of the recent promotion and leadership!

Ruth Mobley Posted over a year ago

Ms. Kim is one of those people every school wishes they had. She has high standards for herself and others. She sees kids for who they are and what they need. She looks for students who need something extra, gets to know them and then provides that extra, most of the time without others even knowing she is doing it. She has made a difference in countless children's lives. She is positive and encouraging even in really difficulty situations.

Liz Bland Posted over a year ago

Ms. Kim just has a way of connecting with people in a positive way, but with high expectations. She builds meaningful relationships with so many students, many of whom had difficulty finding a place in the traditional school setting. She modeled hard work, determination, doing more than what is asked of you, teamwork, and humor for all of our students. She connects with staff and with students who need it the most. She is genuine and generous and as good as they come. I am lucky to know her.

Lacey Bingaman Posted over a year ago

The most remarkable thing about Kim is how she was a constant reminder that we are all one community. She demonstrated high standards for herself and expected them of others. She communicated by word and deed that her job was about kids, just as a teacher or an administrator. Her connection with kids was remarkable and made a difference in the lives of some of our most struggling students. I miss her a great deal!

Molli Slavin Posted over a year ago

Ms.Kim takes the time to get to know everyone that she comes in contact with- students and adults alike. It's almost like she knows who needs a little conversation to brighten their day. She's quick with a smile and she took care of our students and our school like no other! She made a huge impact on our student population by going above and beyond the call of duty.

Suzanna Williams Posted over a year ago

Kim Vilasi is a game-changer. She builds relationships with all students, but takes a special interest in those kiddos who need an adult role model, a friend, and someone who loves and cares for them enough to also demand their best. I have seen her work miracles with students some teachers did not seem to be able to reach. She also boosted the morale of all who worked with her each day. With Ms. Kim, it was always all about relationships ... and that made all the difference! I love and miss her.

Linda Kime Posted over a year ago

I am thrilled that Kim has been nominated! A much deserved recognition. Kim's influence reaches far beyond her day to day responsibilities most importantly in the impact she makes in the lives of students who need an adult support system. Kim is able to reach students that teachers and counselors can't reach and help them to learn to trust other adults and then assist them in making additional connections to get the help they might need. Kim also is loved by the staff she works with. Her positive and helpful personality adds to the overall tone and atmosphere of her surroundings. Every school needs a Ms. Kim!

Brandon Craft Posted over a year ago

Ms. Kim is one of the most uplifting individuals I've ever had the pleasure of working with. Although she doesn't hold a teaching license, she taught and influenced the lives of thousands of students. Every school, and every child, needs a Ms. Kim.

Regina Sherwood Posted over a year ago

Ms Kim was truly a life changer at Holt! She took many students under her wing over the years, counseling them and guiding them to work up to their potential. She truly went above and beyond on a daily basis.

Justin Leflar Posted over a year ago

Kids who had no other reason to love school came every day because of the relationship that Ms. Kim built with them. Her guidance helped them build self-esteem. She is an example for us all.

Kim Green Posted over a year ago

Ms. Kim was an integral part of our school's culture. She treated all staff members and students with respect, and in return, she was greatly respected. She gave many students the tough love and support they needed. She was always exactly where she need to be at just the right time - we could all count on her!

Blaine Sanders Posted over a year ago

I've said many times that if I were going to start my own business, Kim Vilasi is the first person I would hire. Kim has the amazing ability to morph into any role necessary in order to help other people. She is a selfless person with a big heart for helping others. There is no doubt in my mind that she is a life changer, because knowing her has changed my life indeed.

Lisa Fowler Posted over a year ago

Every time I get a chance to speak to Ms. Kim, she has a message of encouragement for me. I am truly blessed to know her.

Ashley Ragland Posted over a year ago

Ms. Kim came to school everyday and rocked her job! She helped students feel at home and needed. She wore many shoes here at Holt: a counselor, an advocate, a social worker, a nurse, an encourager and a school mom to many. She gave students tasks who needed and while they "worked" she would work her counseling skills. Not only did she have a helpful heart for kids; she helped adults as well. I could call on Ms. Kim for anything in the day and she would matter what it was.

Jan Jewell Posted over a year ago

Ms. Kim always made students feel special and needed. The impact that she has had on our Holt students was immense. Students knew she cared!

Matt Morningstar Posted over a year ago

Ms. Kim, as the kids call her, has left a legacy that we strive to uphold. The contact that she made with the kids EACH day was something that stood out. She has made a couple of visits this year and the kids that she talked to last year just walk over, hug her and visit with huge smiles. It is a wonderful thing to see! I know that she misses that in her new job...but she can spread that desire to make a difference with kiddos to many others in her new role! So happy that she is nominated and I can tell you, she is worthy of the award!