Bill Salerno the West Side librarian shows the facility’s modr computers an the vast book collection of the facility Wednesday Feb. 18.
DAYTON ID – Bill Salerno, the librarian at West Side High School, scoots around in his wheelchair trying to make a positive difference in the lives of the students he works with. He tries to be helpful, positive, and kind to everyone. It appears nothing gets the best of him. The Preston resident is always helping the students at West Side High School get through classes with the resources he has available.
Salerno, an Omaha, Nebraska native, tried to duck the limelight and being interviewed by a reporter. Such things are not high on his priority list. If it weren’t for Principal Tyler Telford encouraging him to take one for the team, he would have declined the recognition.
Salerno was born with spina bifida, a birth defect that causes the spine to not develop properly, so he is wheelchair bound. Despite his limited physical abilities, Salerno was hired five years ago as the West Side High School librarian and is making his presence known in the district.
Every day he wakes up, gets ready and drives to work in his wheelchair accessible van. He loves his job.
“He deserves any accolades we can give him,” Telford said. “He does what he can to help students and the faculty. He is the substitute coordinator for the district and anytime we need a volunteer he is the first one to take the assignment.”
If a replacement teacher can’t get there or is late, he sits with the class. If he can’t find a teacher, he will pinch hit and fill in for the teacher. It is hard to find anyone who has a more positive outlook on life and enjoys people as much Salerno does.
“He does what needs to be done,” Principal Telford said. “He started as a volunteer aid for the second grade and that class is now all seniors and will graduate this spring.”
Salerno earned a bachelor’s degree in Family Science from Utah State University in 2006 and landed in Preston after graduation for his first job. He was no stranger to the city; he served a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Utah Ogden Mission and worked in Preston.
“My first job in Preston didn’t work out so well so I worked for the Preston School District as a substitute for a few years then I volunteered for West Side School District as an aid for four years and served as the president of the Parent Teacher Organization one year,” he said. “The librarian job opened up and I applied and got it. I’ve been here going on five years.”
In 2018, he and his wife Trish, who also has spina bifida, bought a house in Preston. They have been married seven years. Last summer was a rough one on the couple as both had medical issues that put them in the hospital and then in a rehab facility for a time.
Salerno is active in the Preston community serving on the Preston Lions Club and the Franklin County Theatre Arts Council. He took his turn leading both organizations as president while serving.
“It is a great job. I like working with student and staff and helping them with whatever they need,” he said. “I also like getting substitute teachers to cover classes.”
West Side School District has three schools with a total student body of just less than 80o. There is Harold B. Lee Elementary School, Beutler Middle School and West Side High School in the entire district.