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News Release
"A Teacher with a Broom:" Pioneer Middle School Head Custodian Named Regional Classified Employee of the Year - 03/12/18

PASCO, WA -- After competing against a pool of highly-qualified nominees across seven counties, Brent Bieloh, the Head Custodian for Pioneer Middle School in Walla Walla, has been named the Regional Classified Employee of the Year by Educational Service District (ESD) 123.

The Classified School Employee of the Year program recognizes excellence in the work of public school employees, including paraprofessionals, secretaries, custodians, food service workers, and others. Anyone may nominate a classified public school employee for this award, which is overseen by the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI). All completed nominations are sent to the regional coordinator at each ESD, who in turn selects a regional winner. Bieloh is one of nine regional winners who will go on to compete for the State Classified Employee of the Year award.

Bieloh has worked in the Walla Walla Public Schools for 26 years, and has been the Pioneer Middle School Head Custodian since 2014. In addition to his regular duties maintaining a safe and functional school environment, Bieloh leads a program for at-risk students, in which struggling students work alongside him for an hour a day. Through Bieloh's mentorship and the positive relationships he fosters with students, the program has helped reduce absenteeism and improve academic performance.

"I am very proud to be thought of as a Pioneer Middle School Staff member and not as just 'the custodian,'" says Bieloh. "I feel as though I am a teacher with a broom."

ESD 123 Assistant Superintendent of Instructional Services, Troy Tornow, says that, while the 2018 classified employee applicant pool was very competitive and difficult to narrow down, Bieloh's nomination and recommendations stood above the rest.

"Classified employees play a very important role in providing high quality educational experiences for students," says Tornow. "All of the nominees this year should be proud of their contributions to their school and district."

After advancing on to the statewide competition, regional finalists will be recognized by OSPI at an annual award ceremony in Olympia (date TBD), where OSPI will announce their selection of the State Classified Employee of the Year. For more information on these awards, contact OSPI Recognition Coordinator, Hilary Seidel, at 360.725.6117.


About ESD 123: Educational Service District 123, based in Pasco, WA, is one of nine ESDs in Washington. Dedicated to delivering collaborative solutions that promote learning, ESD 123 serves 23 school districts in seven counties of Southeastern Washington. Under Superintendent Darcy Weisner and its board of directors, this legislatively mandated, not-for-profit educational organization provides efficiency of educational systems and equity of learning opportunities for over 70,000 Washington students. For more information about ESD 123, please call 509-544-5700 or 888-547-8441 or visit

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