Rule celebrates 45 years with Faribault schools
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When Deborah Rule began working in special education, her mother teased her and said she wouldn’t last two weeks.

So far, her mother was wrong by about 44 years and 50 weeks.

Rule celebrated 45 years with Faribault Public Schools on Aug. 23. This week she begins her seventh year as an Educational Assistant at Lincoln Elementary.

“My mom said she didn’t think it would be my cup of tea. She gave me two weeks and here I am still doing it,” Rule said. “I can’t imagine doing anything else. I love the kids and I think they respond well to me. I love what I’m doing and I feel like I get back more than I give.”

Rule was born in Iowa Falls, Iowa, then moved to Lincoln, Neb., for three years before her family moved to Faribault for her senior year of high school. After graduating in 1972 she worked for a state program called Project Teach for a year before she started at the Faribault Area Training and Education (FATE) Center. When she began working with special needs students at the FATE Center, many of them lived in the state hospital full-time.

“When I started there was no inclusion. They had students living in the state hospitals and now they’re at home and being supported by their parents. That has made a big difference,” Rule said. “With the loving support of their families, I think kids come so much further.”

Rule has also been happy to see more opportunities become available to her students over the years.

“We have kids go to music class, art class and physical education class. If they can do it, they do it,” she said. “We want them to be as independent as they can be.”

The FATE Center eventually incorporated into Faribault Public Schools and Rule worked with students at several buildings before moving to the high school in 1992. She worked there for 19 years before moving to Lincoln Elementary in 2011.

“It’s been kind of nice, working at the high school for so many years I got to see the kids before they go into the 18-21 program. Now I get to see where the kids start at Lincoln. It’s nice seeing it from both sides,” Rule said. “I love working for this school district. At all the buildings I’ve worked in we’ve had very dedicated, supportive, wonderful staff that loves what they’re doing.”

With a job she loves and a supportive staff, Rule hasn’t seen a reason to work elsewhere in 45 years.

“I can’t imagine myself doing anything else.”

PROFILE

Deborah Rule, Lincoln Elementary

Graduated from Faribault High School in 1972. Faribault Public Schools employee, 1973-present

Family: Married Tim Rule in 1982. Tim taught special education in Faribault Public Schools for 33 years. Daughter Jenny (’93) is a veterinarian and son Jesse (’95) is a chef at Carleton College in Northfield.

Is there a staff member you would like to see in the Staff Spotlight? Contact Matt Steichen at msteichen@faribault.k12.mn.us.