Scholarship Celebrates the Legacy of John Reuschlein: An Advocate for Students and Educators

Aug 31, 2020 9:00 AM

By Ty DeMartino ’90

From all accounts, the late John Reuschlein ’72/M’76 was a born educator. He loved his students. He loved education. And he loved inspiring others.

“He was a natural teacher,” said Elaine Reuschlein, John’s wife of 41 years. “John was an advocate for the kids.”

Reuschlein, who spent 45 years in the Allegany County Public School System as an elementary teacher and administrator, died suddenly in 2018, just months after his retirement. He left behind countless inspired students and a rich legacy, including a scholarship in his name at Frostburg State University.

The John P. Reuschlein Scholarship is awarded to full- or part-time educational professions majors with junior or senior status who are residents of Allegany, Garrett, Washington, Frederick or Carroll counties in Maryland. Preference is given to students who are members of the FSU Education Association, of which Reuschlein served as a supporter and off-campus advisor.

A native of LaVale and a graduate of Allegany High School, Reuschlein was an avid biker, hiker and tennis player. He decided to attend Frostburg State and lived on campus for a short time until the untimely death of his father. Reuschlein returned home to live with his mother and commuted to campus, obtaining his bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

Reuschlein’s career in education zigzagged him across Allegany County, where he served as a third, fourth and fifth grade teacher to schools in Cumberland, Flintstone, Oldtown, Cresaptown, Mount Savage and back. He also acted as vice principal of several schools, all the while participating as an executive member of the Allegany County Education Association (ACEA) and the Maryland State Education Association, where he was instrumental in the passage of the Maryland’s Fairness of All Educators Bill in 2013.

Reuschlein would eventually leave the classroom when he was appointed full-time president of the ACEA. Elaine recalls her husband’s personal struggle in hanging up his elementary teacher hat. However, he took his love and advocacy of education and put it into his role as ACEA president, building strong relationships with colleagues locally and across the state.

His compassion was reflected by many personal stories from former students and co-workers shared with Elaine at her husband’s funeral.

“When John asked you how things were going, he truly cared,” Elaine said.

His colleagues were the ones who approached Elaine about creating a scholarship in her husband’s memory at his alma mater. “I knew he would love it,” she said.

To this day, Elaine still runs into students who talk about how “Mr. Reuschlein” influenced their lives. She hopes the FSU scholarship will help a new generation of educators inspire students, just like her husband did.

For information on the John P. Reuschlein Scholarship or to contribute to the fund, contact the FSU Foundation, Inc., at 301-687-4068 or visit www.frostburg.edu/foundation.