Every year the National C.L.E.A.N. Awards program recognizes the contributions that custodians make to public health in their schools, communities, and their profession. Awards are presented to school custodians who demonstrate outstanding leadership in the field of school cleanliness, and who reflect the contributions that education support professionals (ESP) can make to public health. 

The award program is a joint initiative of the National Education Association (NEA), the NEA Health Information Network (NEA HIN), and the American Cleaning Institute (ACI), formerly the Soap and Detergent Association.

In 2010, Patrick Lortie of Woodurn, Ind. was the awards top recipient and he had this to say of the program:

"As a school custodian, I feel that the C.L.E.A.N. Award is important because it enhances the images of custodians in communities all across the country and brings to the forefront the importance of cleaning for health. Cleaning for health - and not just for appearance - has the power to impact how students learn and staff perform. Keeping students and staff safe and healthy can have a direct impact on student achievement and is a major step forward in the educational process."

Nominations for the 2011 awards were closed in December, but there are many excited participants waiting to see if they are one of the five recipients (one top recipient and four runners-up are recognized) to be recognized at the NEA National ESP Conference in Washington, DC, March 11-13, 2011. One of those nominees is Portage Central Elementary School custodian Steve Verburg.

Click here to learn more about Verburg's story and click here for more information on the C.L.E.A.N. Awards program.