Retiring is a hard thing to do for Ruth Aberasturi.
"It's really with mixed feelings that I'm leaving," said the 74-year-old director of student support services. "There's so much to be done, I'm just not one to leave a job unfinished."
Aberasturi, a native of the Bay area, is retiring after 37 years with the Carson City School District. What she feels she's leaving behind is the new face the district is putting on special education.
"I've made a lot of noise," she said. "But special-ed students need to be in a regular classroom. We should have done this from the beginning. ... If we're going to make (adequate yearly progress), kids need to be in a regular classroom."
This fall, Carson High School administrators will keep ninth- and 10-grade special-ed students in regular classes, like world history and science, instead of pulling them out for separate instruction. From there, changes will occur throughout the district, taking up to three or four years to complete.
"I think it's the right time to do this," she said. "Studies show that students with difficulties do much better in regular classrooms as far as picking up knowledge goes. ... I think we need to have a lot less kids in special education. When I left Corbett, I had 40 kids in my classroom. Five of them couldn't even read; five of them were gifted. The world didn't crash down."
Aberasturi and 16 other retirees from the school district will be recognized tonight at the school board meeting in the Sierra Room of the Community Center.
"(Aberasturi) is just a wealth of information, and she is respected in her school district and around the state," said district Superintendent Mary Pierczynski. "She is really going to be missed."
Aberasturi's 37 years with the district was a journey of many phases, beginning in 1968 as a teacher of fifth-graders at Corbett Elementary School, now the home to Pioneer and Opportunity high schools. From there, she become a special-ed teacher at Fritsch Elementary School, where her students worked in classrooms at the First Baptist Church across the street. Then she became a resource director for a year and soon the director of special education. Under her guidance, that department started a program called New Horizons to help pregnant teen mothers, a program still in use 15 years later at Pioneer.
"We started this program with a little grant, and it became extremely successful," she said. "We even received national recognition."
Aberasturi moved to Carson City with her late husband, John, in 1962. Her background in social work came in handy at the Northern Nevada Children's Home, where he was superintendent, and at which much of the raising of the Aberasturis'' four children occurred.
"I can't not do anything after I retire," she said. "I can't just sit around and watch TV or clean the house. ... I've worked my life toward this, and I really have a passion for helping kids."
n Contact reporter Maggie O'Neill at email@example.com or 881-1219.
What: Ruth Aberasturi retirement party
When: May 31 - cocktails 5:30-6:30 p.m., with a buffet dinner following.
Where: Carson Nugget, 507 N. Carson St.
Cost: $30, which includes dinner and a gift.
Call: Support Services at 283-2350
District to lose 17 employees
Seventeen people are retiring from the Carson City School District:
• From Bordewich-Bray Elementary School: Charis Marrin, ESL
• From Fremont Elementary School: Donna Hataway, Ann Krup, Dennis Rose and Sheryl Seaman
• From Seeliger Elementary School: Margaret Tamori, Dianne Tobey
• From Carson Middle School: Carol McQuirk, counselor
• From Eagle Valley Middle School: Dennis Tierney, art
• From Carson High School: Paul Ford Jr., art; Robert Komac, English; George Parmenter, math
• From student services: Ruth Aberasturi, director
• From prison/adult ed: Margaret Pugsley and Mia Aunkst
• From nutrition: Carolyn Sheeks, director of Nutrition Services and Kathleen Walsh, instructional assistant IV at Carson Middle
Overall 40 certified staff, including 15 above, will not be returning to the school district next year.