Monica Beaudoin’s service to Idaho, the Idaho Education Association and public education continues to inspire members. A teacher, state legislator and IEA President, Monica remained very engaged in the association after her retirement. She served on both the IEA and NEA Board of Directors for many years as a retired representative and was a dynamic member of the North Idaho Education Association Retired Chapter. The Monica Beaudoin Retired Award was created to honor an IEA member who has continued to be active and make significant contributions in retirement. 

Mary Lee Ruch
North Idaho Education Association Retired Chapter
Nominated by: Jan Studer, Bette Price and members of NIEARC 

For 44 years, Mary Lee Ruch has been an untiring and energetic “force for change and growth” in her union.  

Her work ethic is legendary. She served as an Idaho Education Association board member for 16 years, organized meals for the negotiations team in her local and worked diligently as an IEA leader.  Ruch’s commitment to the teaching profession and public education has inspired generations of educators and students.  

“Her leadership style models virtues such as tolerance, humor, curiosity, honesty, fairness and respect,” said Tama Meyer, a fellow retired Region 1 council member, in her nomination letter for the award. “She inspires all who come in contact with her.” 

Ruch’s engagement with IEA only increased with her retirement. She’s a founding member of the North Idaho Education Association Retired Chapter (NIEARC), serves on IEA’s budget committee, and has filled countless roles over the years of her membership.  

“Mary is a passionate advocate for IEA members and Idaho’s public school students,” wrote Rick Jones, also a retired IEA member from Region 1, in his nomination letter. “While she may have left the classroom, she is far from ‘retired.’ Mary’s passion for improving Idaho schools is evident in her everyday life.” 

Ruch plans seminars for members on the cusp of retirement. She’s heavily engaged in her region’s work to raise money for the IEA Children’s Fund. She has served as a consistent delegate to IEA’s Delegate Assembly and has represented Idaho and her fellow retired educators at the National Education Association’s Representative Assembly.  

Robin Nettinga, a former president and executive director of IEA, wrote in her nomination letter that few better represent the principles Monica Beaudoin lived than Ruch. 

“As the award reminds us, the Monica Beaudoin Retired Award was created to honor an IEA retired educator who has continued to be active in retirement and made significant contributions to the IEA Retired Organization. That description perfectly fits Mary Ruch.” 

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