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Guide Feature – Darla Ruggiero



Darla Ruggiero is a guide in the Hummingbird Casita on the Springs Campus.

Darla grew up living abroad, traveling being a core part of her childhood. She lived in Mexico and Guatamala into adulthood and has spent time traveling to China, throughout Central America, and the United States, and she continues to travel with her family. Darla says, “Other cultures and worldviews have molded who I am and my philosophy of education and life in general. My husband, Dom, and I love having our daughter tag along with us now! Nothing better than having these experiences together as a family!”

Darlas love for working with children started early with babysitting and working in her church’s nursery and continued to working with orphaned high schoolers. After five years of volunteering with indigenous tribes in Mexico while working with all age groups, she decided to pursue a degree in Spanish and Communications Studies and was certified for public education. Her career path led her to work with at-risk students for eight years.

A lot of things led Darla to Headwaters, and she started working with us as a substitute teacher on all three campuses. Darla says, “The energy of this place was palpable. There was a genuine, deep belonging and commitment to the work here, on all campus levels, that connects students, teachers, and families in a way I have never witnessed before. It was something I wanted my daughter and myself to be a part of.”

Fun Facts from Darla:

  1. I made the varsity girl’s basketball team in ninth grade. It was my first chance to shoot a basket in a game, I shot at the wrong end of the court, and basically shot for the other team. It also happened to be right in front of the student section. In my defense, it was just after halftime. Also, I did not score. Epic fail.
  2. I can windmill my arms in opposite directions.
  3. I am a master sauce creator and can combine things like ketchup, salsa verde, and mayo into a dip for any breakfast taco. This has led my family to think I can pull a meal out of a bare pantry. My cousin and I used to play Iron Chef the day before grocery day to challenge ourselves!
  4. When I was 11, I created the recipe for my “Famous with Anyone Who has Tried It” peach cobbler/cake. YUMMO!

Read more about Darla here.

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