End of an Era


Ruth Ruh, long-time administrative assistant, will retire Dec. 22

By Hannah Bensen, Editor in Chief

Ruth Ruh has been going to high school for nearly 30 years.

This streak will come to an end Dec. 22 when Ruh will retire as the administrative assistant to the principal, a job she has had since 1992. Ruh was a high school student herself at West Bend High School, and she graduated in 1969.

“I credit Mrs. Ruh for much of the success that I enjoyed at West Bend East,” said Mary Skalecki, who served as principal at East High School from 1988-2004. “She truly was my partner, very loyal and supportive to me and the administrative team.”

Ruh stumbled upon her area of employment unexpectedly. After graduating high school, she studied art in various areas of post-secondary education for two years. She then worked in retail until one summer when she discovered that Leslie Howard, the principal of Badger Middle School at the time, desperately needed office help.

“I went and talked to Mr. Howard, and he hired me on the spot,” Ruh said. “And I stayed there for eight years and never went back to school.”

After working at Badger from 1980-1988, Ruh worked as coordinator for the district’s gifted and talented program. She then became the attendance secretary at the high school for two years before being hired by Skalecki as the administrative assistant in 1992, and has worked in that position ever since.

Ruh’s tenure has been so long that she has worked with five different principals: Mary Skalecki, Cassandra Schug, Jim Curler, Bill Greymont and Tracey Conners, who is currently serving as the interim principal at WBHS.

“Mrs. Ruh was wonderful in my transition back to the high school,” said Conners, who previously worked as a teacher and assistant principal at the high school. “We will miss Mrs. Ruh’s smile, her welcoming personality, and her dedication to students and staff.”

Skalecki echoes a similar sentiment regarding Ruh’s dedication.

“Mrs. Ruh was the early bird in the East Office,” Skalecki said. “She valued the quiet time before the students and staff arrived so she could do the tasks that required her focus and concentration.”

ruh2Skalecki also remembers a quote by Steve Jobs that Ruh always had on her desk. “The ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do,” part of the quote reads.

“I think this quote speaks to the value and worth of every individual, especially those who color outside the lines,” Skalecki said. “Mrs. Ruh always knew that it was important to respect without judgment the individual student, or parent, or teacher and to do the best she could to support everyone in our school community. She was one who made a positive difference.”

Ruh’s responsibilities vary, but she works with all types of people in the district by communicating with parents, helping teachers, and working with students.

“Pretty much everything that crosses the principal’s desk comes to me in one fashion or another,” Ruh said.

She has been a valued member of the staff ever since she was hired. One of her final responsibilities will be training Jennifer Rausch, who will replace Ruh.

“It’s going to be a little scary [without her] because she’s been here for so long,” Rausch said. “She’s the person you go to if you have a question and she almost always has the answer.”

East science teacher Skip Clark agrees, saying that she is “the heartbeat of the school.” He recalls being Ruh’s Secret Santa a couple years ago and giving her cat-related gifts throughout the week.

As for her forthcoming retirement, Ruh said she plans to spend time with her family, read, and be with her beloved cats, Miles and Max. She is excited to retire, but will miss all the people that she works with.

“I have worked with incredible administrators, phenomenal teachers, and kids I will remember my whole life,” Ruh said. “Every part of it has been a blessing.”

(Photographs by Hannah Bensen, Editor in Chief.)


Ruth Ruh, left, with Jennifer Rausch. Rausch will replace the retiring Ruh as the WBHS administrative assistant on Dec. 22.


Filed under School News and Features

3 responses to “End of an Era

  1. Bethany Thiede Wray

    Thank you Ruth Ruh to your commitment to the West Bend High Schools and District. You have impacted so many lives. We are honored to have worked with you and for you to have been there for our children when they attended East High School. Best wishes – always. Bethany and Randy Wray

  2. Maria Hanrahan

    Best wishes on your retirement, Ruth! I agree; you always seemed to have the answers when I was a high school aide for a brief period of time about 5 years ago. You sure know your stuff! Good luck to you!

  3. Terry Brace

    Hannah, thank you for writing this piece. Ruth has been the backbone of this place for so many years, it’s hard for me to imagine being without her. She has earned a place in our hearts forever.

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