February 10, 2014
I Care: Volunteer work with a family twist

Fourth grader Isabella Yan comes into the office at Peregrine Elementary School in Davis with a book of poetry. She's on a mission to make copies for her teacher and Mary Lee Fisher shows her how so she can get back to class. A kindergartner walks in protesting injury by another student. Fisher gives her an icepack and consoles her wounded dignity. She quickly recovers and returns to class. The 61-year-old grandma figure not only spurs the confidence of the 35 kids at the project-based learning school, her three hours a day of unpaid office work is a huge relief to teachers and staff. After 34 years as a CalPERS executive, she took an early departure to help out the community school where her daughter works as the administrative director and her two grandsons attend. Fisher said she was looking to add structure to her retirement while spending more time with family and doing something meaningful. "So I'm thinking this fits all the bills," she says.