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Retiree Rita Yund is celebrated for 41 years of service at San Juan Unified

Retiree Rita Yund is celebrated for 41 years of service at San Juan Unified

In Rita Yund’s classroom, she carefully packs storage boxes full of memories from her time at Carriage Drive Elementary School. It is a bittersweet time for Yund and her school community, as she closes a chapter of serving 41 years as a teacher at San Juan Unified School District, and transitions to her next chapter as a retiree.

“My favorite part of teaching has been the connection with my students,” said Yund. “I always tell them that once you are my student you will always be my student. It brings me joy to see how they have grown and to see all of their accomplishments.”

Yund began teaching at Cameron Ranch Elementary School in January 1982 but her story at San Juan Unified began when she was a student. As a Citrus Heights native, Yund attended Leighton Littlejohn Elementary School, Will Rogers Middle School and San Juan High School. Her passion and drive to become a teacher started as early as her second-grade year.

“In sixth grade, I taught my first reading class to a group of second graders and created bulletin boards for my teacher, Mr. Dion,” said Yund. “Throughout my schooling, I always came back to Littlejohn to help with tutoring or anything else the teachers needed.”

Her passion for teaching expands beyond education in the classroom - she is equally as thrilled about building school spirit and pride. Yund has led with spirit during her time at Carriage, and this was exemplified by her time as the teacher for student council. Teachers and students could always rely on seeing Yund fully dressed up for spirit days, and ready to compete in school spirit competitions.

“Rita has a passion for fun competitions, like our school shirt Fridays - the class with the most school shirts wins for the week and gets the flag that she created,” said Darnell. “She also loves a dress-up day and will go all out. My daughter is in her class and she loves to see what Ms. Yund will do.”

Beyond the school day, you would find Yund supporting students before and after class. Throughout her career, she took time to support students with varied learning styles and needs, empowering them to become independent learners. 

April Green, a parent of students who were in Yund’s class, testified to Yund’s impact and commitment to each student who entered her classroom.

“My son has moderate autism and has significant support needs,” said Green. “During his time at Carriage, Rita played a pivotal role in helping him reach an academic achievement.”

Students, guardians and staff alike are deeply appreciative of Yund’s positive contributions to the campus, and her length of service to San Juan Unified as a whole. 

“Generations of families and hundreds of kids are better for knowing Rita and being in her classroom,” said Darnell. “Rita’s coworkers are better for knowing her and working with her. She is the oak tree and her roots spread deep. Her impact will be felt long after she retires.”

“Her influence and love for teaching will be woven in the fabric of San Juan and Carriage for a very long time to come,” said Green. “I am unable to accurately articulate how much she will be missed, but her legacy will live on not only my life and my children’s, but in our schools, families, and coworkers.”

As for Yund’s post-retirement plans, she is ready to travel, complete yard work and continue her crochet and art hobbies. Of course, her retirement activities don’t end there - Yund plans to return to Carriage Drive and continue supporting the school’s activities as a volunteer.

“I will come back to read to classes in the library, take fourth-graders on nature hikes, do art lessons and drive on field trips,” said Yund. “In other words, all the fun stuff.”

San Juan Unified congratulates and thanks all of this year’s retirees for their commitment to serving our community. As our retirees move on to the next phase of their lives, we hope they remember that their impact on San Juan Unified is immeasurable.