Meet the Two-Time Green Cleaning Winner Who Champions Children’s Health
Patrick Pizzo, assistant to the superintendent for administration and special projects at East Meadow School District on Long Island in New York, is one of seven members recently appointed to our Green Clean Schools Leadership Council. The Council brings together award-winning school facility managers to provide up-to-date guidance to us here at Healthy School Campaign on new developments in green cleaning in addition to directly advising other school facility leaders.
East Meadow School District is comprised of 10 school buildings in the bustling suburbs outside of New York City. Under Pizzo’s leadership, the district won our Green Cleaning Award for Schools & Universities not once, but twice. The first time around, the school district won the Honorable Mention in 2009. The very next year, they won the Grand Award.
“The first award really gave us a clear goal post to shoot for,” said Pizzo. “When we originally won we were happy with the direction we were going, but we also realized we could do a lot more. So we looked at what other, more successful programs were doing and used that to evaluate what we could improve.”
In the year between awards, Pizzo and his team eliminated chemicals where they could, embracing new procedures like changing the way they treat their Terrazzo floors and using new technologies like ionized water. Pizzo also found a way to prove that this choice makes financial sense.
“What we actually did was quantify our program to see if it was more or less expensive,” said Pizzo. “When you do a system looking at efficacy, first you find that cost savings are just a byproduct. If you change the process and do it properly, this form of green cleaning is drastically cheaper than traditional cleaning.”
Committed to Children’s Health
One of the big reasons for Pizzo’s interest in green cleaning is his research. Pizzo has always been an education guy; he has his MBA and is currently in the dissertation phase of his doctorate in educational leadership. He also teaches at Hofstra University in the School Facilities Management program there. Pizzo comes from a traditional cleaning background but was introduced to green cleaning many years ago through New York State’s green school standards. Around that time he started reading medical journals and looking at data about the health effects of certain cleaning chemicals.
“You can never go back after reading about the effects on children of certain cleaning products,” said Pizzo. “The more you look, the more you realize it’s the right thing to do. There’s a real basis in fact that children are even more vulnerable to chemicals. That’s why we have more responsibility.”
He has since devoted his career to protecting the health of the children at his schools through safer, healthier and greener cleaning methods.
Connect with the Council
Pizzo is joining forces with Healthy Schools Campaign and six other leaders in the field to provide in-depth, focused and comprehensive green cleaning guidance to schools across the country as part of the Green Clean Schools Leadership Council. Fill out our program assessment to begin your relationship with the Council and to start learning from award-winning experts like Pizzo. The Council’s guidance is customized to your program’s needs and desires, plus it is completely free of charge.
If you have any questions about the Council, contact Mark Bishop at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photographed: Mike Ewald, Head Custodian at the Campo Center