Rufina Flores

For 26 years, Rufina Flores has been teacher to young students at Valley Oaks. Students and faculty were grieved to hear of her passing last week after having been sick since November. Ms. Flores started out teaching kindergarten, but for 22 years has been a bilingual first grade teacher.

Principal David Nelson notified parents and students of her passing in a letter.

“There are no words to describe what she’s meant to so many students, families and staff,” Nelson said. “Rufina had such a big heart and caring personality that all of her students and their parents loved and appreciated. She was extremely devoted to preparing for her students, often arriving to school when it was dark and leaving school when it was dark. Rufina worked with parent groups for many years and, because of her work with so many students and families, she had a very strong connection to the school and the community.”

Nelson said he knows it will be a difficult time for all who knew her, especially her young students.

“We will continue to do all that we can to help students and staff with the feelings of loss and grief that have and will come,” Nelson said.

The Valley Oaks staff, as well as students, has felt a great loss, according to Nelson.

“Rufina worked with dozens of colleagues and always had great working relationships with them,” Nelson said. “Her colleagues at Valley Oaks will miss her sweet spirit and dedication to both students and staff.”