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Education Heroes: Margaret Zuercher

by: REVIEW PHOTO: JILLIAN DALEY - Margaret Zuercher, a longtime special ed teacher in Lake Oswego, is retiring.Special education kids have a wide range of disabilities — hearing or vision impairment, developmental delay, difficulty communicating, autism — and Margaret Zuercher has worked with this diverse group of children for more than three decades.

Although Zuercher might not call teaching work. She favors the oft-quoted axiom generally attributed to Confucius: Do what you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.

“I have been blessed to learn from all the children, parents and fellow staff members who have crossed my path,” said Zuercher, 64. “They made my job a delight each and every day. In special education, you need support from everyone, especially your fellow special education team members. For all of these friends, I am thankful. I have had great joy, due to the people who have given me support through the years.”

Coming to Lake Oswego School District in 1987, she officially retired as of last October from Hallinan Elementary School and continued on part time. She was a learning specialist for River Grove Elementary for 15 years, teaching at Lake Grove Elementary for 10 years and coming to Hallinan for her last two years.

Bob Barman, a Lake Oswego School Board member, said Zuercher is a likable woman who tutored one of his sons, who now is a freshman at University of California, Los Angeles.

Barman said Zuercher has “made a difference for our special ed kids.”

She’s been a Lake Oswegan since 1984 but grew up in Bakersfield, Calif., graduating from the University of California, Santa Barbara and devoting nine years as a teacher and learning specialist at schools in Saratoga, Calif.

Her fondest memories include tapping into the strengths of children with disabilities and building their self-esteem.

“I have been blessed to receive many loving and meaningful poems and letters throughout my career,” Zuercher said. “There is no greater gift than when you have made a difference in a child and left them with a memory.”

The mother of two adult children said her son told her maybe it was time to retire, although she hadn’t thought about it, feeling as energetic as she was in her 30s. Her time with the school district ends when the school doors swing shut this June, but Zuercher has plans to spend time with her mom and with her second husband, whom she married in December. Their previous partners both passed away, and she feels lucky to have found love again and to have a bigger family since he has kids, too.

“We are looking forward to making many fun memories,” she said.

With this occasional series, we’re spotlighting members of the education community. To nominate someone, email Jillian Daley at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .



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