Ruth Hertzberg draws on decades as educator, student |

Ruth Hertzberg draws on decades as educator, student

Special to the DailyRuth Hertzberg

Editor’s note: This is the fourth in a series of profiles on the six Summit school board candidates. On Sunday, read about the campaign of Jim Shaw.

SUMMIT COUNTY- Dr. Ruth Hertzberg hopes voters will give her the opportunity to lend over 40 years of teaching expertise to the Summit school board.

Hertzberg has steeped herself in education for all of her 71 years, and she shows no signs of slowing.

She has worked in public schools, private schools, foreign countries, high schools, community colleges and state universities.

Looking back over her many years as a teacher and a student – Hertzberg earned her Ph.D studying the Chinese cultural revolution – she takes the most pride in her 15 years as a high school social studies teacher in the public schools of Pittsburgh.

“That was such a hard job,” she recalled. “I bet you I did the most valuable work of my life in those schools, and I didn’t even know it at the time.”

One of the biggest challenges in the Pittsburgh schools for Hertzberg was working with an overbearing administration.

“I saw so many gifted young people come into those schools, and they were turned off by degradation and humiliation,” Hertzberg said. “And I lay it at the feet of the administration. The relationship between administration and teachers is critical. If it’s not good, it comes out onto the kids.”

Hertzberg has not limited her educating or her education to the United States. In 1974, she traveled to Pakistan on a Fulbright Scholarship with 23 other teachers to study the country’s history and culture.

She taught English in China to students in the Chinese civil service program in 1985 – what she described as “the most marvelous year of my life.”

In 1995, she journeyed to Chile on another Fulbright grant to study the Chilean economy.

Despite Hertzberg’s globetrotting, she is deeply rooted in Summit County. She has taught American history, Western civilization and psychology at Colorado Mountain College and now sits on the Ten Mile Planning Commission, through which she plays a critical role in shaping the future of Copper Mountain.

“I want to use my talents and abilities to benefit the beautiful community in which I live,” she said.

Hertzberg had the opportunity to return to China this year, but she declined when she heard about the open seats on the school board.

“There’s so much in national politics that I object to,” she said. “This is my way of thinking globally and acting locally.”

When Hertzberg isn’t at planning meetings, visiting Summit High School, writing letters to politicians, visiting her grandchildren or biking/running/swimming (she’s training for the 2003 world triathlon championships in New Zealand in the 70-74 age group), she’s working on her latest book, “It’s Trying to Teach.”

“The gods know I’ve tried,” she said. “And the gods know it’s trying.”

Julie Sutor can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 203, or at

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