Granby Elementary welcomes five new teachers
As the young students of Granby Elementary make their way through the first few weeks of class there are several new faces leading them on their educational journeys.
Granby Elementary School welcomed five new teachers onto the staff at the start of this school year: Michelle Colton, Laura Veenstra, Sarah Beth Bankert, Alex McGuan and Megan Janes.
Colorado native Michelle Colton enters her 18th year as an educator this year with Granby Elementary. Colton is working at a fourth-grade interventionist and as well as Granby Elementary’s teacher on special assignment assisting Principal Kelly Martin with various administrative duties. Originally from Denver Colton grew up in Fort Collins and has spent the last several years working in school districts along the Front Range including the Sheridan School District as well as Douglas County and Cherry Creek, where she work as an administrator.
Colton and her husband have been coming to Grand County on a regular basis for several years, staying in a condo the couple owns in the area. The couple made the move to Grand County, which Colton called “our happy place” at the beginning of the summer.
Laura Veenstra is technically a new teacher at Granby Elementary but the Illinois native is not new to East Grand School District or even the Granby Elementary building. Last year she worked as a long-term substitute teacher, spending over half the school year instructing second graders. The Illinois native, who grew up in the Chicago suburbs, is working at a half-time teacher this year covering science classes for kindergarten through second-grade.
The 2018-2019 school year marks her first year as an official teacher and while she is relatively new to her current profession she has spent the last decade in Grand County, working at the National Sports Center for the Disabled and the Fraser Valley Library among other positions.
The unique lifestyle afforded to residents of mountain communities like those in Grand County was the drawing force for Sarah Beth Bankert when she decided to move to Grand County from the mid-west this year. Originally from Ohio Bankert spent the last six years teaching in Indiana. This year marks her first in Grand County and her seventh year as an educator.
Bankert will be working at a kindergarten teacher at Granby Elementary though her past experience, in Fort Wayne, was as a special education teacher. Banker said she was came to Middle Park in order to enjoy the lifestyle she is afforded by living in the Rocky Mountains.
Alex McGuan’s last name might already be familiar to families with students in the East Grand School District. East Grand’s current Food Service Director, Kritsen McGuan, is married to the brother of Alex McGuan’s husband and their sister, Maggie Michalowski, maiden name McGuan, is head of the Grand Crew program at Middle Park High School.
Originally form Alaska, McGuan her husband and their two sons moved to Grand County in January to be closer to their extended family, who were already in Middle Park. McGuan was a teacher in Alaska for over a decade and where she taught an integrated special education and preschool program. She will be teaching kindergarten at Granby Elementary this year.
Denver native Megan Janes begins her eighth year of teaching this school year. She will be instructing fifth-grade students at Granby Elementary. Janes moved to Grand County initially because of a job opportunity her husband found though the couple has spent several years living and working in Colorado’s mountain towns.
Prior to making the move to Grand County Janes previously worked as both a high school and middle school Spanish teacher in Eagle. She also previously taught dual languages classes for the Avon Elementary School. Janes, who grew up in Centennial, has past teaching experience in Greely and Steamboat Springs as well. Janes said her move to Grand County meshes well with her love of small communities and the sense of kinship and belonging that small towns engender.
“I want to support students in their passions and help them see beyond the classroom to find their strengths,” Janes said. “I love helping students find their strengths, motivations and passions.”
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US Forest Service officials have closed Willow Creek Reservoir in Grand County because of a potential blue-green algae bloom.