After school shootings, she made sure healing took place

During “that really difficult time,” Rochelle Lubbers of the Tulalip Tribes found knowledge and strength.

Rochelle Lubbers is one of 12 finalists for the Herald Business Journal’s Emerging Leaders award. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Rochelle Lubbers is one of 12 finalists for the Herald Business Journal’s Emerging Leaders award. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

This is one of 12 finalists for the Herald Business Journal’s Emerging Leaders award, which seeks to highlight and celebrate people who are doing good work in Snohomish County. The winner will be named at an event on April 11. Meet the other finalists.

Name: Rochelle Lubbers

Age: 38

Profession: Executive Director of Education at The Tulalip Tribes

Rochelle Lubbers knew she was college-bound when she was in the third grade.

“My family are huge University of Washington Husky fans,” Lubbers said. “So I felt deeply connected at a young age.”

As a teenager, she hit a snag.

“I became a mom three days before I turned 17,” Lubbers said.

Until then, she had been on another, less-sure path. The birth of her son gave her back her vision.

“Becoming a mother, I had a huge obligation to be the best I could for this new life,” Lubbers said.

Lubbers earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Washington and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Oregon.

“I come from a long line of strong native women who were/are community builders and resilient,” Lubbers wrote in her nomination statement.

Since 2008, she has occupied positions of increasing responsibility for the Tulalip Tribes and is now the executive director of education.

She’s been a member of the Tulalip Foundation Board of Trustees since 2012.

The foundation has been the driving force in making the Tulalip community’s dream of the Hibulb Cultural Center come true.

“Hibulb continues to display the rich and living culture of the Coast Salish peoples,” she said.

Lubbers served on the American Red Cross board in Snohomish County for nine years, including as board chairwoman from 2014-15.

“The experience enriched my life by seeing the commitment of volunteers to assist in the most trying times in strangers’ lives,” she wrote.

“In addition, I was able to help the organization solicit significant donations to assist with major disasters such as the Oso landslide.”

Lubbers has also served on the planning committee and as co-chairwoman for the Tulalip Boys and Girls Club Auction.

“This Boys and Girls Club is the hub for our tribal families. Our children depend on the nutrition program and the reliable and loving adults,” she said.

In 2014, she was asked to serve as the Tribes Recovery Manager following the tragic shooting at Marysville-Pilchuck High School.

On October 25, 2014, a 15-year-old student killed four classmates and wounded a fifth. The shooter turned the gun on himself.

At the time, Lubbers was again a new mother, with all the responsibility that entails.

“I decided to say ‘yes,’” she said. “I had a genuine love and interest to make sure the healing took place.”

Plus, “there were so many people who wanted to help, to foster healing and unity between the Tribes, Marysville and the school district,” she said.

She received training through the International Trauma Center, a nonprofit that provides resources to facilitate recovery.

Today she continues to use what she learned to develop new programs around education and preventing domestic violence.

But she sometimes struggles with the source of that knowledge.

“After the shooting — out of that really difficult time — we’ve been able to change the outcome of families. Some have had significant healing,” she said. “A mother gets healed, a father gets healed — the trickle effect of one person becoming healthy has a lasting impact in the community.”

Janice Podsada; jpodsada@heraldnet.com; 425-339-3097; Twitter: JanicePods

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