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Governor Ducey reinstates teacher fired during battle with cancer

Posted at 7:31 PM, Aug 12, 2016

A Valley teacher who was fired because her cancer treatment was taking too long has her job back.

Tarah Ausburn said she has been fighting breast cancer for 10 months – and fighting her employer for about seven of those months. 

The Arizona Department of Juvenile Corrections runs Adobe Mountain School, where Ausburn is an English teacher. Ausburn said the school fired her when she ran out of unpaid medical leave and wasn’t yet well enough to return to work.

“I have told some of my family that the cancer battle is not nearly as stressful as the battle I’ve had with my job and just trying to keep my employment,” said Ausburn, who had another surgery on Thursday.

Complaints flooded into the office of Governor Doug Ducey and he set out to investigate. Late this week, Governor Ducey’s office confirmed it will reinstate Ausburn’s job. Ausburn said one of the Governor’s aides called her and told her she would have full pay and benefits for as long as it takes for her complete recovery.

“I don't necessarily feel that great about the agency I work for, but when I’m able to separate those things and focus on my students I really do love my job,” said Ausburn, adding she can’t wait to see her students again this fall.

Ausburn said she has one more surgery and, worst case scenario, she'll be back in the classroom full-time by December.  However, she said she will push herself to get back sooner than that if possible.