Washington Custodian Wins RISE AWARD, Honored at Ceremony in Washington, D.C.

Carol Leibelt, a custodian at George Elementary School and member of Public School Employees of Washington SEIU Local 1948, was honored on Wednesday, June 12th in Washington D.C. as one of the 2019 Recognizing Inspiring School Employees (RISE) Award winners. She was presented with the award at a ceremony at the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center.

The award was presented by United Classified School Employees (UCSE), a coalition of classified school employee unions from across the nation that work together to advocate on behalf of our members and the students they serve. The coalition recognizes four individuals from across the country who are doing extraordinary and inspirational things in their schools and communities to promote quality education, foster positive learning environments, and ensure student success.

“Carol is the heart and soul of her school, and she is everything that RISE stands for,” said Charlotte Shindler, President of Public School Employees of Washington SEIU Local 1948. “She challenges her students to build bridges and make a meaningful impact in each other’s lives. She gives selflessly and inspires a welcoming and inclusive learning environment.”

Carol Leibelt has served the students and families of Quincy, WA since 1992. On Thanksgiving 2018, she helped provide a place of shelter following the serious bus accident on I-90 near George that involved 56 marching band members from the University of Washington. This March, she was awarded the Red Cross Hometown Hero Award for her actions alongside her husband Tony Leibelt, who was the first responder from the fire department on the scene.

“Carol’s selfless sacrifices on that night of the accident and beyond prove…that she truly has a heart of gold and cares about the students that she serves,” said Congressman Dan Newhouse (R-WA), who spoke on Carol’s behalf at the ceremony. “There are a lot of definitions for what a hero is, but if this isn’t the definition of a hometown hero, then I don’t know what is. Carol works every day to make sure students are safe, comfortable, and she encourages them to be the best they can be.”

A union member for 27 years, Carol serves as her chapter’s treasurer and is a union advocate who supports and works hard for members. In her district, Carol has been named School Employee of the Year four times and Custodian of the Year twice.

Click here to download additional photos from the RISE Award Ceremony.

There are more than 2.8 million classified education support employees in our nation’s public schools, colleges, and universities and they make up one-third of the public education workforce. They keep students fed, emotionally and physically healthy and safe, engaged and connected to the larger school community, and provide instruction and support that leads to academic success.

Classified education support employees work in the following nine career families:

  • Child nutrition services
  • Clerical services
  • Custodial and maintenance services
  • Health and student services
  • Paraeducators
  • Security services
  • Skilled trades
  • Technical services
  • Transportation services
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