Rutigliano retires, leaving behind a more inclusive school community


Priya Maraliga

Special Education teacher Felicia Rutigliano retires from Algonquin, and looks forward to visiting her family during retirement.

Zoe Manousos, Managing Editor

Special Education teacher Felecia Rutigliano will be retiring at the end of this year, after making a positive impact at Algonquin for 17 years. 

Rutigliano remained a Special Education teacher all 17 years, but she was also the Special Education Department Head for eight years and she co-taught some classes. 

“[Co-teaching] made life interesting,” Rutigliano said. “Those kinds of things add to your experience as a teacher. It gives you something different.”

Current Special Education Department Head Caroline Flynn speaks highly of Rutigliano not just as a teacher, but also as a friend. 

“Mrs. Rutigliano is a very kind person and a very kind teacher,” Flynn said. “That is one of the major things that I’ve always noticed about her. She also can be very calming when she speaks to the general education teachers about issues or students. She was always available for me to help me solve problems. I think her kindness comes from her personally, but it also just comes from a subset of Southern qualities that people have in that you kind of feel drawn to those qualities.”

Both Flynn and Rutigliano grew up in the South, so when they first met, they shared an instant connection. 

“What happens is that when you have two people who are southerners, you sort of seek out those characteristics that they have,” Flynn said. “We both got together in 2010 when I needed to do some hours in special education, and not knowing anything about her, they asked if she would take me in and I went into her learning center. That’s when I found out that we both had all these similarities.”

As they’ve worked closely with each other throughout the years, they’ve discovered that they both embrace their southern sides. 

“She’s a big University of Alabama fan,” Flynn said. “She didn’t go there. She went to Spring Hill College in Mobile. But she’s a big Alabama fan and she lets everybody know that. We say this: Roll tide, y’all.”

Flynn values the way Rutigliano always strives to make the school inclusive for students of all abilities. 

“One of the things that I always remember about her is that she was always very enthusiastic about some of the separate programs that we had,” Flynn said. “For example when there were the Titan Games, she always asked the entire school community to go out and form a tunnel for [ students] to cheer them on.”

Flynn explained how Rutigliano was a driving force in developing additional unified clubs at ARHS. 

“She started the Unified Singing Club and this year she got a grant from Northborough Southborough to start the Unified Art Club,” Flynn said. “ And that has since evolved now. That’s going to evolve into a unified art class. I can see those things that she did that she personally was involved in…and it’s spurred me on to help, to want to continue that in other general subject areas.”

As Rutigliano reminisces on her time teaching, she remembers all of the fond memories she made with her students. 

“I have a lot of great memories here,” Rutigliano said. “I think my favorite memory would have to be the first year I followed my students from their sophomore year, when I started with them, through their senior year. Some of them were not going to go to their Senior Ball and I said, ‘No, you’re going. I don’t care if you have a date or not, I’ll be your date. We’re going together.’ So a group of my seniors and myself went to their Senior Ball that year. It was so much fun.”

After retiring, Rutigliano looks forward to visiting her family more.  

“I’m primarily looking forward to visiting my family down in Alabama,” Rutigliano said. “I’ve been up here for a long time, and having to travel during the breaks when everyone else is traveling just makes it more expensive, first of all, but secondly, I just don’t have as much time to stay. So it’ll be nice to go down at different times of the year.”

Though she is looking forward to spending more time with her family, she reassures everyone that she will come back. 

“I will definitely miss the students and the staff the most,” Rutigliano said. “They’ve always made me feel welcome and I enjoy working with the students. I will definitely miss that piece in my life. I’ll be back though! I definitely plan on subbing.”