Sarah Wadsworth, a Petaluma High School teacher and coach and last year's Teacher of the Year, is near death following a brain injury she suffered Tuesday.
The 51-year-old Sebastopol resident was skiing at Squaw Valley with her 16-year-old son when she suffered an aneurism that doctors say has left her brain dead, according to her husband, Greg Brausen.
Wadsworth remains on life support at St. Mary's Regional Medical Center in Reno and her family was gathering there Wednesday evening to discuss her condition and options, Brausen said.
"Legally, she has not passed yet, but we know that that is the likely result based on what we've been told," Brausen said. "The doctors have said there is zero chance that she could survive this."
Wadsworth was riding up a chair lift with her son Cole and two family friends, joking and enjoying a rare day on the slopes this dismal ski season, when she suddenly slumped over.
"From that moment on, she was never responsive again," Brausen said.
Members of the ski patrol performed CPR, and paramedics airlifted Wadsworth off the mountain to Reno. But tests have showed no brain activity, Brausen said. Her 20-year-old daughter, Jordan, is by her side, as well.
Wadsworth for 26 years taught French, coached girl's tennis and on occasion also taught English, said David Stirrat, Petaluma High School's assistant principal.
She was usually at the top of the list each year of the teachers that students say make a difference in their lives, Stirrat said.
"She was always holding kids to remarkably high standards," Stirrat said. "She would push them hard and support them in that push. It is a rare skill."
Wadsworth helped nurture the French program at Petaluma Junior High School as a way to get students interested in French and steer them into her high school classes, Stirrat said.
"Her classroom was always vibrant and she managed to have children in her program all four years," Stirrat said.
Wadsworth was a naturally upbeat person who loved teenagers and cared about the students who struggled, her husband said. Because of this, her students returned year after year to express their appreciation.
"She touched many, many people in her time," Brausen said. "She had a spirit that they still carry with them."