MARILYN RUFFINLEADING SUN PRAIRIE THROUGH GROWTH AND DIVERSITY
“THIS IS NOT YOUR DADDY’S Sun Prairie,” says Marilyn Ruffin, who in April was elected as the first African-American school board member—and public official—in a crucial time of school expansion. With a laid-back smile belying her seeming laser vision, she serves Sun Prairie’s growing and increasingly diverse population.
Paving the way is old hat for Ruffin. She worked for nearly 25 years in the white male-dominated field of electrical engineering. She’s now a role model for African- Americans in Sun Prairie, vowing to advocate for students of color and engage more families. In a brief stint as a substitute teacher at Sun Prairie schools, Ruffin noticed children of color light up when she walked in the classroom. “You cannot underestimate the value of seeing someone who looks like you in an authoritative role,” she says.
Ruffin is active elsewhere, too, volunteering with Madison Chapter of The Links, Inc., Madison Network of Black Professionals and Black Women’s Wellness. Ultimately, she’s going to be a game-changer, especially in Sun Prairie, an expanding city of shifting populations.