When Mary Liebl graduated from St. Anne’s High School in Wabasso, her future was wide open. Little did she know she would spend her career in education without ever attending college.
“After high school I started a job helping out moms,” said Liebl, adding today one might call that being a nanny.
Having grown up on a farm north of Wabasso, Liebl knew what it meant to work hard, and when war left the family short-handed on the farm she filled in however she could.
It was in 1960 when Liebl married her husband, Mel, and as he worked for lumber companies, the couple called a number of area communities, such as Clements, Granite Falls and New Ulm, her home. During that time the Liebls started a family.
Liebl has six children, Dan, Shari, Julie, Connie, Al and Randy, and all of them are graduates of the local school district.
For a while Liebl operated a daycare. During that time she was first exposed to a child who had special needs, and that led her in 1977 to a job at Reede Gray Elementary School where she served as a special education paraprofessional.
“I have always loved kids,” said Liebl, providing an explanation for her decision to begin and continue a career in the local district.
In 1983 Liebl became an office assistant at Reede Gray, and that role allowed her to take on a variety of tasks from running off papers for teachers to watching students in the lunchroom and on the playground. She was also responsible for collecting lunch money.
A decade later, in 1993, Liebl made the move to work with older students as an office assistant at RVMS, and she continued in that role until retiring in 2006.
During that time, Liebl worked with a variety of administrators including Jerry Meschke, Shelley Miller, Jeff Scherber and Wade Mathers.
“The number of years I spent in the Redwood Area school system, the many staff I worked with and the many students I have known have given me great satisfaction in my career there,” said Liebl, adding she worked with very good administrators over the years, too.
Liebl said she learned various tasks on the job, adding two individuals, Clem Stramel and Greg Stoffel helped her keep up with technology in the school.
While Liebl said it was always the kids who kept her on the job, she also enjoyed the change to work with new technology.
“For me it was the perfect job,” said Liebl.
For a generation of students, Mary Liebl was the friendly face who met them on that first day of school, helped them find their way and provided that smiling face when they needed it.
Page 2 of 2 - When asked for special memories, Liebl simply said there are millions of them.
She added, however, she cherished the times when students honored her when she turned 50 and 60. She said that demonstration of appreciation for her and for what she did confirmed for her she was in the right role.
Liebl is one of six people who are going to be inducted into the Redwood Valley Hall of Fame May 1.
Liebl said she is very honored to have been nominated and selected.
Many of the Liebl grandchildren have also attended the local school district, and Liebl said there are still a couple attending.
While she is not in the middle school office answering phones and writing out passes anymore, Liebl still volunteers at the school in various capacities.
Now she also spends time polka dancing, sewing, gardening, crocheting, traveling and spending time with family, including five great-grandkids.