Skip Maine state header navigation

Agencies | Online Services | Help













TO:                  Superintendents of Schools, Principals, Business Managers, Facilities Managers


FROM:            Susan A. Gendron, Commissioner


DATE:             August 10, 2004


RE:                   Burleigh Oxton Award for Excellence


Best in State


     Mr. Clayton Achey, a father of five and a very well respected custodian at Forest Hills Consolidated School in Jackman, is the second A. Burleigh Oxton Award for Excellence winner.  The award recognizing the best school facilities (custodial and maintenance) professional in the State was announced at the 36th Annual Educational Plant Maintenance Association of Maine Custodial & Maintenance Conference banquet held at the University of Maine at Farmington on Tuesday night, June 22, 2004.  Mr. Achey and the runners-up – Mr. Edward Patterson of Corinth (MSAD #64) and Mr. Phil Rundgren of Massabesic High School (Waterboro-MSAD #57) – each received a resounding round of applause from over 250 of their contemporaries attending the conference as an award selection committee member shared their personal stories and read excerpts from each nomination package.


     According to Superintendent Richard Curtis, Clayton “has worked tirelessly…to create a kid-friendly school.”  An avid fly fisherman, Mr. Achey has not only taught students this fine art (an 8 week course), but also taken groups on “hikes” which focused on the science of nature and frequently lead to breathtaking views.  Though Clayton’s primary focus is providing a clean and healthy environment for student learning – a task he takes very seriously - he also drives the school bus in the afternoon, is seen at a number of community events and constantly seeks self-improvement;  he is a true-life long learner.  Mr. Achey has earned respect the old fashioned way.  Board Chair N. Lynn Wilson noted that   Clayton “has quietly and humbly assumed a leadership position in our district…by going above and beyond to make Forest Hills School a safe and beautiful place.”


     Award runner-up Edward Patterson, born and raised in Corinth, attributes his success to his wife, Sharon.  They have had quite a journey together, but he works for “The Kids.”  He started out as a part-time employee, and, under the tutelage of Mr. Dan Clarke, he became the Supervisor of Maintenance and Custodial Services for MSAD #64 in just 7 years.  Mr. Patterson applauds his administration, teachers, and staff for their overwhelming support and encouragement.  When asked about what students might feel about the condition of their building and what kind of impact it had on their education, Ed reflected on a recent comment from a female student - “The bathrooms are the cleanest…”  Of course, Mr. Patterson followed the story with “I only wish we could keep them and the rest of the school that way all the time.”  Superintendent Leonard G. Ney noted that Ed “anticipates needs and pre-empts requests.”


     Award runner-up Phil Rundgren of Massabesic High School in Waterboro is a former Navy Seabee who left his $7.50 per hour carpentry job for a school department job that paid $2.50 per hour for a guaranteed 44 hour work week (yes, guaranteed four (4) hours of overtime each week).  That was 1975 and, except for some stints away at college, Phil has been there ever since.  The nomination package highlighted that Mr. Rundgren “is a friend to anyone needing assistance.”  According to Superintendent (Dr.) Fred Bechard, Phil “commands respect…views “extras” as opportunities…(and) is a true gentleman.”


     The Educational Plant Maintenance Association of Maine (EPMA) is strongly supported by its member vendors, conducts monthly professional development programs during the school year, hosted its first one day Northern Chapter Conference at Caribou High School during April vacation, and continues to pursue learning and training opportunities for all school facilities professionals across the State.  With the support of the Public Utilities Commission, they have arranged Building Operator Certification courses across the State.  EPMA is also working with the Community College system on developing a two-year degree program in facilities management.  However, the primary focus of EPMA remains the annual conference held at the University of Maine at Farmington.  This year’s conference topics included the principles of service (leadership); changes in boiler and elevator codes as well as a review of maintenance and inspection requirements; “new” Efficiency Maine programs sponsored by the Public Utilities Commission; bleacher safety; asbestos awareness; floor care; roof management (attendees went on the roof in the rain to examine areas of concern); workplace safety with an emphasis on ergonomics; energy management; Integrated Pest Management; playground safety; OSHA compliance; school threats; field maintenance; hazardous and universal waste; green products; and updates from the Maine Department of Education.  The two and a half day conference also included a trade show where over 20 vendors display and demonstrate their wares. 


     The three finalists – Mr. Clayton Achey, Mr. Edward Patterson, and Mr. Phil Rundgren – each received a small cash award and attended the conference free of charge.  Mr. Achey’s name will be engraved on a “traveling” plaque to be displayed in Jackman until the next winner is announced.  Clayton will also receive his own plaque to display as he sees fit.  The plaques will be presented in Jackman or at the Department of Education in Augusta later this fall.


     The Educational Plant Maintenance Association of Maine is also accepting applications for Clean-O-Rama’s Paul Sferes Memorial Scholarship, a $500 college scholarship, which are due by August 1, 2004.  The National School Plant Management Association also has a scholarship program.  Forms and documents are typically due by March 1st for the following semester.