Thursday, December 13, 2007

Quinn Remembered As Outstanding Educator

Longtime teacher killed in Arnaz Grade crash

By Nao Braverman
Deborah Quinn, 58, a longtime Ventura teacher and Ojai resident died in a traffic collision Tuesday on Highway 33, just south of Oak View. A beloved specialist at Sheridan Way Elementary School in Ventura, where she had been working for the past 20 years, Quinn was an outstanding educator and a deeply caring teacher to all her students, said Susan Eberhart, principal of Sheridan Way.
The West Ventura Elementary School has 600 students, all of whom qualify for free breakfast or lunch, Eberhart said. Quinn, fluently bilingual in Spanish and English, worked with the school's recent arrival students, helping introduce them to American culture while embracing their traditions, said Eberhart. "She had a way of welcoming students into our school and our community. She even invited many to her house," said Eberhart. "This is a community of students who need strong advocates and she was one of our most passionate advocates.” Co-workers remember Quinn as a radiant personality lover of nature, a champion of crossing cultural lines, and a celebrator of life. She wore bright colorful clothing and extended her generous spirit to everyone she connected with at the school, said Janis Emhardt, a friend, co-worker and fellow Ojai resident. Quinn was married to Neil Quinn, who was a Ventura County chief deputy public defender turned private attorney. She had three daughters, one of which is currently a senior at Nordhoff High School. A staunch environmentalist, Quinn had converted her second home to solar energy and drove an energy efficient car. She loved to travel and explore nature, but always felt most at home in Ojai, said Emhardt. "The staff had a day of disbelief," said Eberhart. "There is a lot of sadness but we are really trying to celebrate everything that Deborah was about."

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