Tennant Company Awards Grand Prize in "Custodians Are Key" Contest

Tennant Company, a leader in the cleaning industry, announced the grand prize winner in their inaugural “Custodians Are Key” contest. The contest launched in September and recognizes the work of K-12 custodians around the country. Kris Kantor of Hayes Elementary in Lakewood, Ohio is the grand prize winner and will receive a prize valued $5,000, while his school receives $10,000.

The 8-month long award program recognized 12 finalists chosen from more than 2,000 nominations from across the U.S. A committee of judges selected finalists and the winner based on the quality of the nomination and the impact the custodian makes on their school.

“We had so many amazing nominees for this contest, which made it challenging to whittle down to 12 finalists, much less identify a single person to win the grand prize. Kris Kantor’s clear devotion to students and staff is what gave him the edge.” said Lisa Hrpcek, Channel Marketing Manager, Tennant Company.  “There’s never been a more important time to herald the important work these heroes like Kris and the other nominees undertake for our schools.”

Kantor was nominated by school health aide Maureen Yantek. He’s described as “fastidious about organization and cleanliness” and makes an effort to learn everyone’s name at his school. Kantor created a program called “Kids with Kantor” where he works with students on special projects once a week during his lunch hour, building bird houses and decorative boxes while teaching kids about safety, tool use and teamwork.

“Kris lives by the motto that he has painted outside his office: ‘work smarter not harder.’” Yantek said. “This enables him to get his regular job duties completed efficiently and effectively, which leaves him time to engage with others. What truly sets Kris apart is the respect and kindness he shows to all students, faculty, and staff.”

The second annual “Custodians Are Key” will kick off September 15, 2020. Find out how to nominate a custodian at

About the Author

Yvonne Marquez is senior editor of Spaces4Learning. She can be reached at [email protected].