ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Until this year, Julian Wyler hadn’t met many of his wife’s colleagues at Montezuma Elementary School, where she taught special education.
“She told me a lot about the people she worked with,” Wyler said. “She told me how wonderful they all are, and now I’m meeting them.”
The circumstances of these meetings are far from happy. Wyler’s wife, Regina, 33, has been diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor from which she will likely not recover. But in the midst of this sadness, Wyler said he has been overwhelmed by the outpouring of help from Regina’s colleagues.
|If you go
What: Garage and bake sale to benefit the Wyler family
Where: Montezuma Elementary cafeteria and gym, 3100 Indian School NE
When: Saturday, 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.; Sunday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
“They’re like angels in all the help they’ve given, and they’ve been willing to take time out of their lives to help us. It means a lot to us,” Wyler said.
The Wylers have three young children, ages 10, 7, and 18 months. This weekend, Montezuma staffers are planning a major garage and bake sale to help cover medical costs and start a fund for the children’s education. The event will fill the gym and cafeteria of Montezuma Elementary, and items have been donated from the school staff, their families and their social networks.
“She’s only a Level 1 teacher now, so she was making the bare amount,” said Lucia Lower, a colleague who is spearheading the fundraising effort. “Once that income is gone, it’s all going to be her husband and three children, so we want to make sure there is something put aside for their educations.”
Regina Wyler was in her fourth year of teaching. All teachers in New Mexico start as Level 1 teachers under the state licensure system and cannot advance to the next level until they have completed three years of teaching. When her health began to fail in the fall, Wyler had been working on a master’s degree in education from the University of New Mexico.
Regina had spent all four of her teaching years at Montezuma, and she also did her student teaching there. Lower was her mentor when she first started, and the two later team taught together.
“Her little students follow behind her like a mother duck with her ducklings in tow down the hall of the school,” Lower said.
Julian Wyler said that, although he is overwhelmed by the support of all those who know Regina, he is also not surprised, because her energy has always affected those around her.
“I’ve known Gina since I was 15 years old – we’ve been together for about that long – and she’s just an amazing person,” he said. “I’ve never met anyone like her in my entire life.”
He said she always wanted to be a teacher.
“She adores kids. That was her passion,” he said. “She loves children and that’s why she was so special, you know? She’s like a mother to all these kids. She’s just a really special person.”
— This article appeared on page C1 of the Albuquerque Journal