Rutten retiring from recess at Forest Glen
By Ben Rodgers
SUAMICO – For the past two decades Marcia Rutten has gotten to know every student who walked the halls of Forest Glen Elementary School.
Now the lunchroom and recess supervisor will retire and embark on the next chapter of her life.
“I wasn’t expecting to do it as long as I did, but it worked out well for our lifestyle,” Rutten said.
She started 20 years ago as a volunteer when her daughters, Alison and Amber, were in first grade and kindergarten.
After one year as a volunteer, Rutten found out there was a job opening and she applied and got the job.
The three-hour workdays and summers off allowed Rutten to be there for her family at home, but be involved in their schooling as well.
The Howard native and Bay Port graduate was able to get home by 2 p.m. on get her children off to whatever sports practice was going on.
“It’s not optimal, but it’s doable,” she said. “You have to get all your stuff done in the morning and then you get to meet the kids your kids talk about and their teachers.”
As a lunchroom and recess supervisor, Rutten’s job was to keep students safe and happy.
“I’m here to keep them safe, not make friends with them,” she said. “I love them to death and I’ll hug them, but I don’t want to be out on the playground when an ambulance arrives.”
Rutten also acted as a filter for teachers. If students were reprimanded on the playground she would make sure the teacher knew so no teaching time was taken up with redundant discipline.
Rutten was so good at her job that she took on new responsibilities like setting the schedule for other supervisors, substituting for secretaries, ordering playground equipment, organizing the flow of 500 students during recess and even serving on a committee for the past six years.
The Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports Committee works to encourage good behavior.
“The premise behind it is how can you expect them to behave a certain way if your not teaching them a certain way,” Rutten said.
The extra responsibilities made her feel more welcomed at Forest Glen, and happy to be a part of the educational process.
“It was a neat opportunity,” she said. “It wasn’t just a three-hour-a-day job. You feel validated and your opinions matter, too.”
Over her 20 years, Rutten has met a lot of people through the job she calls friends. Close to 50 people in one way or another were on staff and worked with her at some point.
She will miss them, and the opportunity to be a part of so many students lives on a daily basis.
One of the happiest days for her and students is the annual Halloween parade.
“I like when they started the Halloween parade here,” she said. “Instead of 1 hour where the kids have to scramble to get into their costumes and have a party, now they can wear their costumes all day and they get to parade where all the other kids can see them.”
Forest Glen Principal Angie Sorenson said Rutten will be “greatly missed.”
“She was always counted on,” Sorenson said. “The teachers knew her, the kids knew her, we knew when Marica was handling things, she just handled it and it was being taken care of.”
HSSD Superintendent Damian LaCroix said Rutten and the rest of the support staff in the district play an important role.
“Our support staff play a vital role in supporting our mission of ‘working with families and community to ensure that our students have the knowledge and skills to succeed in a changing world,’” he said. “Regardless of role or title, every position within our school system holds the power of positive influence in the lives of the children we are entrusted to serve. Working in partnership with our teachers and administrators, support staff members are individuals of impact who make the Howard-Suamico School District a great place for students to learn, grow and achieve.”
As for Rutten’s next step in life, she has a new assignment from her daughter Amber and her new granddaughter Braelyn.
“I probably wouldn’t have retired this year, but my daughter had a baby…,” she said. “I was asked to watch my granddaughter and supervise a different life.”