Cintas Announces Finalists for 2023 Custodian of the Year

March 15, 2023

Cintas Corp. has announced the top 10 finalists in its 10th annual Cintas Custodian of the Year contest. From now through April 14, the public can vote for their favorite custodian at

“We received an abundance of nominations highlighting remarkable custodians across the country,” said Cintas marketing manager Christiny Betsch. “As always, it’s difficult to select the top 10, but this year’s finalists stood out for their commitment, kindness, and determination.” 

The greatest number of public votes will determine the winner of the Cintas Custodian of the Year contest. Cintas will award US$10,000 to the winning custodian and $5,000 in Rubbermaid Commercial Products and Cintas products and services to the winner’s school. The winner’s school will also receive a facility assessment and consulting package from ISSA valued at $30,000 and enrollment in the GBAC Fundamentals Online Course, provided by the Global Biorisk Advisory Council® (GBAC), a Division of ISSA. The other nine finalists will receive $1,000 each and complimentary tuition to one ISSA Cleaning Management Institute (CMI) virtual training event, valued at $1,500. The finalists’ schools will also receive a cleaning supply package from Rubbermaid. New this year, the top three finalists will receive an all-expense-paid trip for two to the ISSA Show North America in Las Vegas in November where they’ll be celebrated for their accomplishments.

“We’re truly inspired by each of the finalists who do much more than clean schools,” said ISSA Executive Director John Barrett. “School custodians are beacons of light in their communities and students look up to them as positive role models who lead by example.” 

The finalists in the 2023 Cintas Custodian of the Year contest are as follows: 

  • Abdul Akeely – Burns Park Elementary School (Ann Arbor, Michigan) 
  • Paul “Mr. Paul” Baerenwald – Mapleview Intermediate School (Kimberly, Wisconsin) 
  • Rodney “Mr. Peanuts” Esser – Park Elementary School (Cross Plains, Wisconsin)
  • Ramiro Hernandez Julia – Tohopekaliga High School (Kissimmee, Florida)
  • Barbara “Mrs. Barbara” James – Yulee Primary School (Yulee, Florida)
  • David “Mr. Dave” Jeffers – Brokaw Early Learning Center (Oswego, Illinois) 
  • Quan “Mr. Quan” Le – Friendswood Junior High (Friendswood, Texas)
  • Doreen “Ms. Doreen” Merritt – Elms Elementary School (Jackson, New Jersey)
  • Jessica Prado – Texas A&M University (College Station, Texas) 
  • Richard Toomey – Kelly Mill Elementary (Cumming, Georgia) 

“We’re proud to honor these incredible custodians for their hard work, talent and dedication, and we wish them all good luck in the contest,” said Robert Posthauer, Rubbermaid Commercial Products senior vice president and general manager of commercial sales. 

For more information on Cintas’ Custodian of the Year Contest and to cast your vote, visit

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