Brevin Scullion and Kaleb McCloud He-Me
Cleanliness is next to godliness, and a good workspace is often described as clean and organized. However for Jamesville-DeWitt High School’s Guidance Counselor Clete Gualtieri, it’s the exact opposite. His organizational style is more of “a planned chaos.” For the last 24 years he has accumulated large amounts of papers, binders, and other work materials throughout each school year and now they are in various piles around his office.
When taking that first step into Mr. Gualtieri’s office, many students are shocked by what they see. “His office is really messy, and I was surprised when I first saw it,” said sophomore Alexis Leclair who is one of his students. “It’s not even organized, I don’t know how he ever finds anything,” said freshman Jillian Kordas. Surprisingly, some students aren’t bothered with his organization style. “It doesn’t distract me at all,’’ said junior Nolan Kinahan.
Even some teachers are in shock of how his room looks. “I was in awe of it,’’ said Spanish teacher Simone Pacilio; “It makes me want to clean my room.” But, even though they feel it’s too messy, they respect how he organizes his room. “Ask him to find anything and he will go to a certain pile of papers and he will know where it is,” said Guidance Counselor Laura Bond. “It’s just how the his brain works, he knows where everything and anything is,” said Sra. Pacillio.
Although many students and colleagues find it strange and are surprised by his room, that doesn’t bother Mr. Gualtieri. He has been organizing important files and papers the same way for his whole career, which began at Le Moyne College; “certain papers go to a certain pile,” said Mr. Gualtieri. To the surprise of many, he doesn’t lose his belongings very often. “I have a 92 percent success rate on being able to find the things I need within five minutes,” said Mr. Gualtieri. “Besides the occasional slip of paper with a phone number on it, I‘m able to find what I need in a very short time, and whenever I lose something, it makes me perturbed,” he said.
Though he doesn’t mean for his office to always look the way it does, it usually ends up looking the same way every year. “It starts out as a mild mess in September, then I accumulate more stuff as the months go by,” said Mr. Gualtieri. “When the mail comes in from the counselors, I archive the mail that the other counselors don’t keep, and every so often a counselor comes to me to ask me if I have a piece of mail from several months ago, and it’s right there on my desk.”
With such a chaotic room you might have thought that it would be distracting to some students, but as it turns out it might just be the opposite. “It looks messy on the outside, but to him, it works so that’s all that matters,” said sophomore Nic Kemmis. Mr.Gualtieri explained that many kids don’t mind the messy work space, and some kids have even offered to clean his office for him. “Some students seem to be comforted by the fact that my organizational style is similar to theirs of their bedroom,” said Mr.Gualtieri.
Everyone has their own way of doing anything. Sometimes their way works and other times it doesn’t. For 24 years now his office has looked the same way and it always catches the eyes of students and colleagues. If there is one thing everyone can take away from Mr.Gualtieri's organizational style, it’s that his way works, maybe not for everyone, but it works for him.