2023 Classified School Employee of the Year

Leslie Taggart is passionate about helping students to spread kindness every school day

TUMWATER – July 28, 2022 – Capital Region Educational Service District (ESD) 113 has named Leslie Taggart as their 2023 Regional Classified School Employee of the Year. Taggart is a Bus Driver in Centralia School District. 

Taggart believes that a little kindness goes a long way each day. This is a belief that she’s instilled in the many students she has bussed through the years and her colleagues at work. Her students have done both anti-bullying and random acts of kindness campaigns that she was able to put together. Her hope is that through showing empathy and kindness to others, they’ll never hear her name without a smile coming to their faces. “The most important part of my job, I feel, is leaving people better than when I find them,” says Taggart. “If you come to me and are having a rough day, then I work diligently to ease concerns, help sort out situations, and find solutions, all while making you smile.” 

Theselection committee chose Taggart for this award because they see her passion for helping children and her ability to step into a leadership role despite not originally seeing herself in this position. “She believes in restorative practices and works with students in order for them to be able to learn from mistakes and continue to grow,” the committee states. 

The Capital Region ESD 113 Regional Classified School Employeeofthe Year serves as one of nine candidates chosen by their respective ESDs, who will be considered for Washington State Classified School Employee of the Year. The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction will select and announce the state winner this fall. 


  • Leslie Taggart works as a Bus Driver in the Centralia School District. 
  • In 2014, Taggart won a $500 contest for her bus’s anti-bullying campaign. 
  • She worked as a secretary for 4-H for nine years. 
  • She is the Union Transportation President.


  • “When I think of Ms. Taggart, a quote from the Author Les Brown comes to mind: ‘In every day, there are 1,440 minutes. That means we have 1,440 daily opportunities to make a positive impact.’  Leslie takes advantage of her minutes and routinely pays it forward.” – Gibb Kingsley, Centralia-Chehalis Pupil Transportation Cooperative Director of Transportation  
  • “Her commitment to building strong relationships with her students is unmatched. She truly knows each of her students well, and the level of mutual respect that she has built with each of her students is evident the minute that you board her bus.” – Danielle Vekich, Washington Elementary Principal 
  • “Leslie is one of those examples in this community that truly shines. She is always ready to teach, share, unconditionally love, encourage, motivate, and advocate for children and families.” – Tina Kendall, Community Member 

For more information

About Capital Region ESD 113

The purpose of Capital Region ESD 113 is to ensure excellent and equitable education for all students through service and collaboration. Led by Superintendent Dr. Dana Anderson, ESD 113 provides services for 44 school districts, one tribal compact school, and approved private schools in Thurston, Mason, Lewis, Grays Harbor, and Pacific counties. Our goal areas include closing gaps, growing people, influencing change, and eradicating racism.


Kristen Jaudon, APR
Senior Director
Communications, Government Relation & Public Engagement