Back to where it all began

Former Ready Set Teach student to work at Johnson Ranch


Shauna Douglass

Valerie Grona (far left) meets with other ‘Ready Set Teach’ graduates May 5 in the senior dining hall.

Grace Bush, Staff Writer

Walking into the noisy classroom, full of colorful decorations and giddy children, Valerie Grona knew that this — teaching — was her future. Now, Grona will begin her first year teaching at Johnson Ranch Elementary school, the same school she attended 11 years ago. 

The former Ready Set Teach student spoke at the program’s banquet on May 5 to share her experience and inspire others. 

“Be extremely open minded to see anything and everything,” Grona said “You really never know what you want to do for people. I’ve always said that kindergarten is the grade I will never want to teach; now that is what I’ll be teaching.”

Grona joined the Ready Set Teach program in high school and worked at Johnson Ranch. Now she will teach at the same school where it all began.

When she was in elementary school, doctors diagnosed Grona with epilepsy. 

“I struggled with school very heavily,” Grona said. “It was something very hard for me, They had me repeat fifth grade, and that’s when I went to Johnson Ranch. I know what it’s like to struggle at school; therefore I just want to change education for other students and get students a better education than I had.” 

Grona said Ready Set Teach program was a great way to get a start in the career of teaching.

“Go through it everyday with love in your heart,” she said. “You not only there to teach them but love them as well.”