Fittro and Westerbeck call it a career


Arturo Melgoza

Ken Fittro and Jennifer Westerbeck have both decided to retire this year after 33 and 25 years, respectively.

When it comes to retiring, many teachers feel sad and other teachers feel excited because they are looking forward to relaxing and spending time with their family. This year two of our teachers will be retiring this year – Jennifer Westerbeck and Kenneth Fittro.

Westerbeck has been teaching for 25 years total, the last 15 at Alisal. She graduated from Sacramento State University and National University. She holds a degree in computer science, a credential in industrial technology, math and engineering. She has been in charge of the Engineering Academy .“It is project after project after project, and there are real world important skills that you could make a career out of, like drawing in 3D and electronics,” She says. Westerbeck has taught other subjects besides engineering, like multimedia, science, and math.The decision to retire was due to a couple of factors. “My age dictated it was time because I’m 68 years old and also financially I was in a position where it made sense and I was ready to spend more time with my grandchildren,”she said. 

Besides spending time with her grandchildren Westerbeck purchased a home in South Lake Tahoe, along with six electric bikes and two man paddle boards.  She’s looking forward to  continuing to be part of the engineering program. If there is a way she could be part of it, like subbing, then she will be more than happy to be part of it.  

Westerbeck said she will miss the engineering academy because she sometimes has them for 4four years and “I get to know them very well. It’s just a big engineering family,” she said.

Fittro has been teaching for 33 years overall, with the last 14 years at Alisal. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Point Loma College in psychology and a master’s degree in special education and another master’s degree in education administration. He is an education specialist and he works with students in all academic areas.  The students he works with have a lot of different needs, but primarily social and emotional and he enjoys working with them. 

He has been an elementary school, middle school and high school teacher, and he is also one of the swim coaches for Alisal and he is a swim club coach.Before he was a teacher he was therapist for 10 years, so in total he has been doing this for 43 years. 

Retiring was a difficult decision for him to make, and it took him many months for him to make this decision, but when he made it he was happy with his decision. “I like to work with wood,” he said. “I like to make furniture and a lot of other things, so hopefully I will be spending some time doing that and also coaching swimming.” 

While he won’t miss the long days, Fittro said he will miss the students and teaching at Alisal once he retires, but he will still keep in touch because he will keep coaching the swimming team.