Making the Grade |

Making the Grade

Summit Daily/Brad Odekirk Debbie Ruckriegle is this week's educator of the week. She was out on the soccer field with some of her middle school students during physical education class Tuesday morning.

Debbie Ruckriegle teaches physical education at Summit Middle School. She has worked with preschoolers through high schoolers in Denver, Jefferson, Clear Creek and Summit counties for almost 30 years.Inspiration: My mother, who taught for 30 years.I actually remember the exact time and place that I made the decision to be a physical educator. I’m sure it was due to the fact that when I was in high school there were very few sports that girls could play, and that I had a horrible physical education experience at my secondary schools. I wanted to do a better job.

Motivation: Each year, there are a few students who stand out – not necessarily because of their academic excellence or physical prowess, but rather because of their exceptional character and their desire to learn.I need to be the best I can be for them so that these students can also help to bring about a culture and climate conducive for success. Working together is really what makes teaching fun!Philosophy: I feel very aligned with the philosophies and concepts that drive the International Baccalaureate Program, which are designed to provide students with the values and opportunities that will enable them to develop and sustain sound judgment.The emphasis on learning how to learn, how to evaluate information critically, intercultural awareness and communication is having a significant impact on our students and community. I recently earned a Masters Degree for English Language Learners, and have participated in several trainings to teach literacy, all of which continue to shape my ideas about education.

Modern challenges: Classes with too many students. Persuading the community to support funding and facilities that are crucial for our county to be one of the best school districts in the state.Accomplishments: Raising and educating three children through the Summit School District who have grown to love school, life-long learning, and to lead a healthy and active lifestyle.Role models: Carrie Balma, Jim Dossett, Betty Koenig and John Wooden are still at the top of my list.

If I had $100,000: I would start by bringing back the swimming program that we lost at Summit Middle School.Extracurricular: I love hiking, biking, skiing, gardening, and watching an Avs game or any cultural performance in the city.My students would be surprised to know: I still remember the cheer that I learned in high school to try out for the cheerleading team. They are not surprised to learn that I did not make the team when they see me perform it!- Julie Sutor

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