Ms. Kari LaBellSchool Board Member, Catoctin District
Committee Assignments: Ms. LaBell chairs the Student Behavior & Accountability Committee and serves on the Student Services Committee and the Specialized Programs & Centers Committee. She also serves as the liaison to the Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC) and the Virginia School Boards Association (VSBA).
Kari was born in Jamaica, New York and grew up in Smithtown, Long Island. When she was sixteen, her family moved to Pennsylvania where she graduated from Chambersburg Area Senior High School in 1969. Kari attended Indiana University of Pennsylvania where she enrolled with the intention of majoring in Spanish and becoming an interpreter at the United Nations, but in her junior year, Kari realized that, due to her younger sister who had Downs Syndrome, her heart was really in the world of Special Ed. Kari changed her major and has been a Special Education teacher for the last fifty years.
After graduating from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 1973 with a bachelor’s in Special Education, Kari went on to earn a master’s in Special Education at George Mason University in 1980 and an Educational Specialist Degree from George Washington University in Special Education Transition with a concentration in Vocational Assessment in 2009.
She taught in Washington, D.C. where she had the opportunity to work with the Congressional aides in developing IDEA, the Education for All Children Act of 1975. She went on to teach in Maryland, Florida and Virginia. She started in Loudoun County in 1994, where she worked as a special education teacher, an educational diagnostician, a transition teacher and a career assessment specialist for the entire special needs population in Loudoun County. She developed a work skills training center called “The World of Work” at Loudoun Valley High School, and through a Congressional Sliver grant, created three living skills and work skills labs across the county known as PAES labs. As speaker and president of her state professional association for eight years, Kari worked to assist programs across the state in developing their own programs. Her work has been published by the Federal Education Policy Institute and she has coauthored the “Life-Centered Education Transition Curriculum.”
As she begins this new chapter in her life, Kari is looking forward to working with all our Loudoun students to find their passion in life and the path to reach it.