2020 PSE Awards!

Since we could not gather together at Convention this year to recognize the incredible accomplishments of PSE members, we are going to be announcing and celebrating each winner virtually on our social media channels and here on our website.

Starting October 1, every weekday through October 23, we will reveal a new PSE 2020 Award Recipient, so please join us in extending your congratulations and thanks for everything these incredible members do for our schools and our union.

The last recipient announced will be PSE’s 2020 Education Support Professional of the Year! So make sure to stay tuned, follow/like us on our Facebook pageTwitter pageand Instagram, and join us in recognizing some incredible Education Support Professionals!


PSE Leadership Award: 

This award is for PSE members who demonstrate outstanding leadership in their local chapter or who make special contributions to PSE members through their role in their chapter or by serving on state committees.


Minnie Castro

“She makes us all realize that we have a voice, and we all need to make sure to be more involved. She helps us understand our contracts and everything else about being PSE members.” – Christina DeLeon, Co-Worker/Fellow PSE Member

Congratulations, Minnie, and thank you for your leadership in our union!









Cheryl Blum

“She has been highly involved in our union to obtain her co-workers a comparable pay scale that competes with other school districts. She represents her co-workers with respect.” – Dennis Faber, Co-Worker/Fellow PSE Member

Congratulations, Cheryl, and thank you for your leadership in our union!


Emily Freet

“Emily has energized our union members and has given us 100% of herself. We wouldn’t have gotten our COLA or the respect that we deserve without Emily’s determination. Emily’s voice and actions have changed the way our district and other districts look at their Classified Staff.” – Jeri Justice, Co-Worker/Fellow PSE Member

Congratulations, Emily, and thank you for your leadership in our union!


Kim Capitan
“She is passionate about making sure that her drivers are properly represented and she works well with management and human resources to get things accomplished.” – Monica Uepa, Co-Worker/Fellow PSE Member

Congratulations, Kim, and thank you for your leadership in our union!

Tammy Oommen

“Countless years/hours of supporting members in need over her 26 years of being a paraeducator. She has brought the current chapter leadership team together and is continuing to bring on additional members to the team.” – Jennifer Tolf, Co-Worker/Fellow PSE Member

Congratulations, Tammy, and thank you for your leadership in our union!


Debi Hansen

“Debi has helped provide a positive experience for new hires. She makes sure all new employees have access to workplace and contract issues. Debi is a great role model for her transportation team and all PSE members.” – David Nowotny, Co-Worker/Fellow PSE Member

Congratulations, Debi, and thank you for your leadership in our union!


Lauri Velasquez

“Lauri has worked hard for our chapter for years. Negotiating, labor management and always willing to sit in with a member if needed in disciplinary meetings. She is a true leader.” – Alice Benner, Coworker/Fellow PSE Member

Congratulations, Lauri, and thank you for your leadership in our union!



Higher Education Award for Outstanding Achievement:

This award is granted to a PSE-represented employee who has demonstrated a commitment to higher education.


Heather Christianson

“Heather has fought hard for Classified employees as a bargaining team member and as one who thoroughly educates herself on issues before tackling them, whether in bargaining or legislative.” – Rich Dustin, Co-Worker/Fellow PSE Member

Congratulations, Heather, and thank you for your leadership in our union!


Alyson Rode

“Aly has actively participated in negotiations for the most recent contract and plans to for the next contract cycle. She also volunteers to be on committees. She reports back to our constituents on what is happening in different areas of the university so there is transparency and we can make informed decisions.” – Heidi O’Donnell, Co-Worker/Fellow PSE Member
Congratulations, Alyson, and thank you for your leadership in our union!

Honorary Member of the Year Award

This award is intended to honor principals, superintendents, teachers, or other non-PSE educational personnel. Honorary memberships are reserved for individuals who are non-members but who have demonstrated concern for or aided classified school employees in a significant way.


Doug Nelson

“Doug has spent his career working to support PSE members and improve their working conditions and financial security. During his nearly 30 years of service to PSE, Doug activated many members to become involved in the legislative process. He has advocated for classified employees and helped secure wage increases, SEBB insurance, and the Paraeducator training program.” – Charlotte Shindler, PSE State President

Congratulations, Doug, and thank you for your leadership and dedication to Education Support Professionals!



Christine Callaham

“Chris exemplifies the qualities of a fair and compassionate leader. She has transformed the relationship between our chapter and her office. Chris is open to our ideas and concerns. She views Classified staff as equal in value to any other group in the district. Because of Chris, our members have realized equity and respect. What is exciting is that we, as a chapter, are writing a new and hopeful history. For that, we owe Chris a lot.” – Building and Classification Representative Jennifer Saladis, Auburn-PSEA Chapter

Congratulations, Christine, and thank you for your leadership and dedication to Education Support Professionals!



RISE Award

The RISE Award is for Education Support Professionals who are doing extraordinary and inspirational things in their schools and communities to promote quality education, foster safe and positive learning environments, and ensure student success. This award is presented in partnership with United Classified School Employees (UCSE), a coalition of state and national unions (including PSE SEIU Local 1948) that together represent school support employees nationwide.


Colleen Winski

“Colleen has and is wearing many hats while working at our district. She worked 7 years as a classroom aid at one of our local preschools until 2018 when she received the full-time position as the district bus driver trainer, which conflicted with her preschool hours. She had purchased and fixed up an old school bus to transport the preschoolers on their field trips and has remained their volunteer driver with her bus. She serves as a volunteer for our local fire since 2015. In 2016 she became an EMT and in 2019 was promoted to Lieutenant with them. She has also worked part time since 2016 for AMR, our local ambulance service. She is an asset to have in our world.” – Randy Martin, Co-Worker/Fellow PSE Member

Congratulations, Colleen, and thank you for your dedication to your students, your school, and your community!



Life Member Award

This award is for a PSE-represented employee who has been active in PSE for a minimum of ten (10) years. Additionally, they must have made outstanding contributions to the general welfare of employees through PSE. This can be a retired PSE-represented employee. One life membership may be granted for every 5,000 PSE members, as computed at the time the Awards Committee makes its selection. This award should recognize someone who has completed most of his/her contributions to PSE (a lifetime of achievements).


Ed Angelbeck

“Ed is passionate about his responsibilities as the President. He is passionate about ensuring all members are provided their rights according to our collective bargaining agreement, and he is passionate about his position as a paraeducator. He often goes above and beyond the call of duty and is fearless at negotiating for a positive result for all involved parties, at all times. We would be remiss if we didn’t address Ed’s enjoyment of delighting the young and old alike. All year long he maintains a natural white beard and every December (& sometimes November too) he adorns a Velvet Suit (sewn by his lovely wife, Mrs. Claus) to entertain for anyone who loves “Santa”. Mr. & Mrs. Claus are always a BIG hit!” – Wanda Liner, Bremerton-BPEA Vice President and Cindi Probst, BPEA Negotiations Chair

“For years he has led our local chapter and assisted other chapters as well.  If you ask anyone in the Bremerton School District who is the “face” of PSE, I know that most would say ED!” – Joyce Cowdery, Co-Worker/Fellow PSE Member

Congratulations, Ed, on becoming a PSE member for life!



Genelle Ackley

“Genelle lives and breathes union. She is union through and through. She gives her time and energy daily to union business. She has been through negotiations several times with the district and never backs down when it comes to fighting for our members. Her knowledge is invaluable. I have only worked with her for 5 years, but in that time I do not know anyone that has put as much time and energy into working for our members.” – Kayla Luke, Co-Worker/Fellow PSE Member

“PSE is dedicated to its members and the communities that they serve and Genelle is a great example of a leader implementing their mission. Genelle works hard on behalf of her members to provide the best information and training available. She is always prepared, informed and ready to share her ideas and listen to other leaders’ concerns.” – David Nowotny, Zone 11 Director

Congratulations, Genelle, on becoming a PSE member for life!



Ross Wood

“Ross goes above and beyond the call of duty to help out his fellow coworkers and to promote our union. Ross has proven himself to deserve this award with his participation and time given.” – Melody Foil, Co-Worker/Fellow PSE Member

“Ross’ accomplishments are many. To name a few, he has been a PSE member for 29 years. During these dedicated years of service Ross has served as a Zone Director, a State Bylaws Committee and Elections Committee Chair, Welcome Chair and a Legislative Council member. He has served various Chapters as Chapter President 3 times and as a Chapter Membership officer. No matter where life has sent Ross, he has volunteered his time and effort to not only merely belong to PSE but to serve in any capacity required.” – Dick Sanderson, Zone 8 Director

Congratulations, Ross, on becoming a PSE member for life!



Archie Blakely

“Archie has been a dedicated member to PSE for 35 years. He is a blue true proud union member that is always willing to help other members.” – Jennifer Saladis, Classification/Building Rep, Auburn-PSEA

“Archie is a strong PSE member stepping up to assist new members navigate their way through Convention and at Legislative Conference. He is an exemplary union member and truly personifies what the union stands for.” – Janice Oten-Jensen, Zone 7 Director



Education Support Professional of the Year

Congratulations to Paraeducator and White River Chapter Vice President Nicci Richards!
“I am so impressed with the amazing work ethic Nicci consistently shows. She is dedicated, loyal, persevering and truly a hard worker committed to providing her students and team with 110%. Nicci is always willing to lend a listening ear, provide honest feedback, and if there is something she doesn’t know the answer to, she will go out of her way to find the answer. She supports her co workers and quickly jumps in to lend a hand.” – Chris Entrop, Co-Worker/Fellow PSE Member
“I cannot think of another individual who is as deserving of the Education Support Professionals of the Year Award than Niccole. I believe she has made a huge impact in students’ lives, and I believe she will continue to do so as she is unwilling to do anything less than whatever is required to help students succeed.” – Robert Hester, Co-Worker/Teacher

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