Husband, wife team use their business to help prepare students for school

By Cilicia Anderson
Outlook writer

Striking up a conversation with a client isn’t unusual for Carlette and Brian Smith, owners of a cleaning service. But the talk they had with Dr. Valerie Brooks, a counselor at Hutto Middle school in Bainbridge, Ga., wasn’t like most others.

The conversation at Brooks’ home became ever engaging by the minute and one with a sense of purpose. At the core was the affect that COVID-19 is having on school-age children and their education.

Eventually the talk turned to finding a way for their business — Brian D. Smith Cleaning Services — and others in the community to help provide resources for children when they return to school. Some South Georgia schools are already in session, while schools in Leon County resume on Aug. 31.

The conversation struck a chord with Carlette Smith. She has a Master’s Degree in counseling and psychology from Troy State University and has experience as a high school and career counselor.

The couple agreed to a partnership that would allow their business to provide funds for educational resources and materials through Elite Educational Consulting.

Brian and Carlette Smith have used their business to stay engaged in their community.
Photo submitted

With some parents opting not to send their children to brick-and-mortar classrooms, Elite Educational Consulting could be especially useful. It evaluates students individually and derives a plan that gives parents a better-than-average chance of increasing their children’s success in the classroom whether in a building or virtually. The concept usually allows parents to communicate with the teachers to find strategies they can use at home.

“I am focusing on providing those resources to families to help students make this transition with all the things that’s going on with COVID,” said Brooks. “Different things to help them be better prepared for this transition that they are about to make (back) to school, whether face-to-face or the distance learning that some of the parents have opted to do.”

Though it’s only been three months since the partnership began, Smith and Brooks have been working hard to make sure families understand their educational needs ahead of the Leon County restart.

Brooks expressed optimism that the new partnership will be helpful for children who have been out of school since the spring. 

“I really enjoy what I’m doing and I just appreciate the support that I have been given from Brian D. Smith’s Cleaning Services because it has helped tremendously,” said Brooks.

At the beginning of the pandemic, Brian D. Smith Cleaning Services, like many small businesses in Leon County, experienced a loss of clients. The Smith’s immediately began to research the virus and ways they could help their clientele and revamp their company.

Business started picking up again.

“COVID-19 changed our business by having us rethink our approach and we had to find new ways of cleaning,” said Smith. “We clean to remove dirt and we sanitize surfaces. Now we perform deep cleaning and disinfect to kill viruses, we have PPE gear and we also invested in an electrostatic machine.”

The Smith’s business has been in Leon County for 16 years. Their commitment to the community makes hiring locally a priority instead of subcontracting work, Carlette said.

“Hiring locally is very important to me, I’m really passionate about that,” said Smith. “Being a small business owner, I realized the need for employment in Leon County and we have many citizens that need supplemental income.”

In addition to hiring senior citizens, the Smith’s have made it a practice to give ex-felons a second chance with employment.

Working with other local businesses to continue providing for the community will be an ongoing effort, Carlette said, encouraging interested business owners to reach out at

“If the community needs disinfectant services, if it’s an issue with COVID, if the buildings start getting a lot of COVID cases, we just want them to call us,” said Smith. “We want our community to feel safe and we want them to be able to work and play in the community like they’re supposed to.”