ST. PAUL, Minn. - Students and staff who worked alongside 32-year-old Philando Castile described him as a "team player," who was quick to greet coworkers with a smile and a hug.
Castile began working for St. Paul Public Schools at the age of 19, after graduating in 2001 from Central High School.
He was hired as a nutrition services assistant in November 2002 and worked in that position until he was promoted to a supervisory position two years ago. He was currently working for the school during the summer term.
Castile's girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, told reporters on Thursday that he had been working on Wednesday and the two went to run errands with her daughter after work when the shooting occurred.
He worked at Arlington High School (now Washington Technology Magnet), Chelsea Heights Elementary and J.J. Hill Montessori during his employment with the district.
Castile is described by his co-workers as "a team player who maintained great relationships with staff and students alike. He had a cheerful disposition and his colleagues enjoyed working with him. He was quick to greet former coworkers with a smile and hug."
One coworker went on to say, "Kids loved him. He was smart, over-qualified. He was quiet, respectful, and kind. I knew him as warm and funny; he called me his 'wing man.' He wore a shirt and tie to his supervisor interview and said his goal was to one day 'sit on the other side of this table.’”
Those who worked with Castile on a daily basis will miss him dearly, according to the school.
The district says grief counselors are available for staff and students as needed.
Education Minnesota President Denise Specht released a statement on Castile on Thursday afternoon, saying while he wasn't a member of Education Minnesota, he was a member of Teamsters Local 320:
"There was more to Philando Castile than the wounded man in the video. He was a hard-working educator who played his part in preparing Minnesota children for successful lives. He was a friend to his school colleagues, a companion to his girlfriend and a mentor to his students. Those kids need us now. The pain and shock of Phil's senseless death comes during the summer, when the emotional support and counseling offered in schools is often out of reach. So it falls to us – the adults – to be there for the children. As heartbreaking as this death is for us, it will be worse for the kids who just lost their lunchroom friend, Philando Castile."