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Teacher leaves legacy at school

Teri Vance
tvance@nevadaappeal.com
Shannon Litz/Nevada AppealFremont Elementary School third-grade teacher Kathy Rothchild reviews math assignment with Matthew Gantan, Maria Juarez and their group on Thursday.
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When talking about third-grade teacher Kathy Rothchild, students and colleagues often describe her as kind and dedicated.

“She honestly loves children and brings this kindness and empathy to every occasion,” said former student Bridget Gordon, 28, who also worked as a long-term substitute for two years with Rothchild. “She carries herself in a way that is authentic and genuine and full of kindness at all times.”

Rothchild says she’s just doing what she would want others to do in the same situation.

“After I had children, I started treating every child the way I thought their mothers would want them to be treated,” she explained. “I started looking at them as my own children. And what would I want for my own children? Of course, that would be the best, the very best possible.”

Rothchild came to Carson City in 1973 after teaching five years in Concord, Calif. She taught at Bray Elementary then took off a few years to spend time with her children.

She returned to teaching at Fremont Elementary School in 1988, where she’s been since.

“Kathy is one of those natural born teachers,” said teaching partner Debbie Mariskanish. “She really and truly believes that all kids are special and all can learn. I have never, in my 26 years of teaching at the same school with her, and the five years we have team taught, seen her give up on a child. She always finds the good in all of them.”

After 42 years of teaching, Rothchild is retiring at the end of this school year.

She doesn’t have any really pressing reason for leaving, other than “you just know when it’s time.”

“It’s good to leave while you still enjoy it,” she said.

She plans to read, garden, sew, work around the house and spend more time with her husband, Lary, two sons, two step-daughters, and other family members.

“I want to spend time with my family,” she said. “There just hasn’t been enough time.”

Although Mariskanish has been teaching for 32 years, she said she still learns from Rothchild.

“She is an amazing teacher,” Mariskanish said. “She brings love of learning and especially humor to all of her classes.”

Rothchild said she has also particularly enjoyed these last five years having a team teacher.

“When a child says something funny, there’s someone in the room to laugh with,” she said.

Mariskanish has also learned from Rothchild’s example outside of the classroom.

“She takes food and clothes to kids who don’t have,” Mariskanish said. “She will buy coats in the winter.”

Rothchild said she has received just as much in return. She said her job can sometimes be exhausting, but mostly it’s invigorating.

“You cannot be down for long when you’re working with children,” she said. “When you walk into the classroom, any personal problems you may be having just aren’t that important.”

Sam Jones, now a sixth-grader at Eagle Valley Middle School, had Rothchild as a math teacher when he was at Fremont.

“She let us research stuff in different ways,” he remembered. “We were allowed to use computers instead of just doing math pages, and we learned about Egyptian numbers and stuff. It was really fun.”

His sister, Delaney Jones, is in Rothchild’s class this year.

“She’s really awesome,” Delaney said. “She always has a smile on her face, and she’s so understanding. I feel like I have learned a lot.”

Rothchild said her students have kept her teaching all these years.

“It gives me a great satisfaction seeing them grow and develop and learn,” she said. “I will miss the students the most, although I have worked with wonderful, wonderful teachers.”

Rothchild, too, will be missed.

“This profession and this school will truly miss her. I will also,” Mariskanish said. “I am a better teacher because of her, and a better person.”

However, Gordon said, a piece of Rothchild will remain at the school.

“She’s left her mark on Fremont with a lot of the teachers,” she said. “Her legacy is in the culture there.”

Other Carson City School District employees retiring this year, along with their length of employment, are:

Executive Staff

Fe Boether, special projects accountant, fiscal services, 2005-2011

Certified Staff

Julie Balik, first-grade teacher, Fritsch Elementary School, 1990 – 2011

Sherry Caston, art teacher, Carson High School, 1993-2011

Mary Covington, fourth-grade teacher, Mark Twain Elementary School, 1984-2011

Celia Davis, seventh-grade social studies/eighth-grade art teacher, Carson Middle School, 1999-2011

Joan Emehiser, first-grade teacher, Mark Twain Elementary School, 1989-2011

Sharon Meier, special-education teacher, Bordewich-Bray Elementary School, 2004-2011

Shirley Oxoby, counselor, Mark Twain Elementary School, 1989 – 2011

Mona “Deirdre” Pederson, professional development trainer, PDC, 1990-2011

Kathleen Rothchild, third-grade teacher, Fremont Elementary School, 1988- 2011

Karen Scott, counselor, Fritsch Elementary School, 1991-2011

Melodie Skudlarek, special-education teacher, Fremont Elementary School, 1987- 2011

Jean Spell, instruction & curriculum mapping coach – reading, PDC, 1984- 2011

Donna Works, special-education teacher, Carson Middle School, 1984 – 2011

Classified Staff

Bonnie Eastwood, director of nutrition services, Nutrition Services, 1988-2011

Barbara Kepley, cook/baker, Fremont Elementary School, 2001-2011

Carl Meier, paraprofessional I, Empire Elementary School, 2009-2011

Patricia Temple, cook/baker, Seeliger Elementary School, 1998-2011

Barbara Spain, office manager, Seeliger Elementary School, 1990-2011