Hilbert facilitating passion for students at NPHS


NPHS Facilities Supervisor Tobe Hilbert took over for Bob Lanettii who was promoted over the summer. Hilbert has wasted no time carving a new niche at NPHS.

TOWAMENCIN- “I have to make sure everything is okay for the kids because that’s what it’s all about,” said facility supervisor of North Penn High School, Tobe Hilbert. Whether, he is playing outside with his grand kids, or removing snow from the parking lot for the students, Hilbert’s life revolves around making children happy. Hilbert not only has a passion for a hands-on job, but also had the drive to help children. 28 years ago, Hilbert found a job that blended his two passions perfectly, when he filled in for a custodian at Gwyn Nor Elementary.

“I started out part time for North Penn. I actually had two jobs when I started here. I started working in the elementary schools. Then in 1998, I moved to the middle schools. I worked in Pennfield for 20 years then an opportunity opened here. I plan to end my career at the high school. I was at each different level, and now I’m here and I really like it,” Hilbert said.

Before getting the job as a facility supervisor, Hilbert already had much experience with leadership. While he was working at Pennfield, he also ran Northbridge and Hatfield Elementary. Although this gave him a variety of experiences, Hilbert explained how North Penn was a big change.  

“It’s different because of the size of the school, it’s like being at a college. It’s fast pace, fun, and everyone is nice. I really like it here because it’s fast pace. Everything goes by fast, things happen quick and days go by fast. There are a lot more activities here though, which is different from the elementary and middle schools,” Hilbert explained.

Hilbert has not had much trouble adjusting to so many new places over the years. His role as a facilities supervisor is to take initiative, make sure people get things done, and manage the staff; however, Hilbert also spends time watching others to learn something new everyday.

If you are going out there, try to learn something new or something you didn’t know everyday, even if you are watching somebody else do something

— Mr. Tobe Hilbert, NPHS Facilities Supervisor

“I have adjusted pretty well moving from place to place because I’m always learning something new. You can just go home and tell someone what you did because you learn something new everyday. That’s what I try to tell my kids. If you are going out there, try to learn something new or something you didn’t know everyday, even if you are watching somebody else do something,” said Hilbert.

This willingness to watch and learn is what drives Hilbert’s success as a supervisor. Watching other people has helped him figure out strengths and weaknesses, and what does and does not work.

“I think the biggest thing about being a supervisor is that you are working with so many different personalities and you really have to be able to flex and bend a little bit. The job is really good, but everybody’s different so you have to be able to understand that. You have to prioritize things. We usually start with a plan to figure out what we have to do. For me, to make the wheels spin, I have to put the right people in the right positions,” said Hilbert.

Not only does Hilbert put people in the right place, but he also puts emphasis on the fact that everyone matters.

“I’m here more during the day, but I do try to keep up with the other shifts. I usually come back and check thing for the third shift, or I come early in the morning to see if they are still here. We send emails and letters, but it’s better to do that in person so everyone feels like they are wanted,” explained Hilbert.

For Custodians on the third shift, or young summer working custodians, not everyone realizes the work they do. Hilbert makes sure to make everyone feel important.

Tobe showed me around Pennfield and made me feel like I was a part of his team not only that day, but also each summer that I worked with him

— Taylor Young, 2017 NPHS graduate

“My first official job was working as a summer custodian for North Penn, and I was extremely fortunate to have Tobe as my first boss. I remember that first day like it was yesterday. Tobe showed me around Pennfield and made me feel like I was a part of his team not only that day, but also each summer that I worked with him,” said 2017 North Penn graduate, Taylor Young.

The significance in making everyone on the staff feel important is so that everyone is happy to come to work. Hilbert’s goal for all staff member to be happy goes back to his care for the kids. He hopes, if the staff that encounter the students everyday are happy, they will make the students happier.

“I like to lift the people around me because we don’t want to all go around with sad faces and not be happy. My job is to lift everybody up to have a good day. I try to bring everybody together because we are all family. Since we see each other so often it’s nice to just lift each other’s spirits. I think we have to be polite to everybody, especially students. We have to say goodmorning and basically have a high spirit. Most importantly, it’s always nice to say hello because you might make somebody else’s day too,” Hilbert added.