Debra Guthery has been teaching 1st grade at Jeremy Ranch since 2006. She received her undergrad in Communications at Lewis and Clark, and thought she would go into PR. But there was a recession in 1991, and no jobs. "So, I volunteered in the 3rd grade classroom of a family friend, and I was hooked. I got my post baccalaureate and Master's in Education at the same time, at Portland State. We moved to Cincinnati when my husband was in medical school, and I taught reading, 1st and 4th grade. "
"My husband is from Colorado, and when he finished med school, we wanted to get back to a small mountain town. Park City is the perfect place! When my son was in kindergarten at Jeremy Ranch, I started volunteering in the classroom, and I got the bug to teach again. I was able to get the job teaching 1st grade. It's been so fun to see him and my daughter go through the system here."
"The biggest difference teaching in Park City versus other districts is the high standard of expectations for our students. And my colleagues are amazing professionals. We brainstorm each year about our students, helping each other with ideas. No one just puts their head down and closes their door."
And the best part of teaching? " I have THE best job. It's the hardest grade I have ever taught, but I love it. They come in August as babies, and their brains are open and they blossom and change and become independent. They love being at school and they have an endless amount of exuberance. They are just so proud when they master something."
Debra loves to garden, camp, hike and travel with her family and dogs. "It's the Utah life!" Fun fact: Debra was an exchange student in Germany in college, and was in Berlin when the wall came down!
Kerry Griffith has been teaching 6th grade Language Arts at Ecker Hill since it opened, and was at Treasure Mountain before that. "I grew up in New England, and went to college to become a teacher. After getting my undergrad and graduate degree, I taught 6th grade in Connecticut one year. Education is very different back east. It wasn't the best experience."
"I heard about Park City from some friends, and decided to move to try the outdoor life. I met some remarkable people teaching at Treasure, and they convinced me to try teaching again. And I've been teaching 6th grade ever since!"
When asked about the best part of teaching, Kerry replies, "It's the kids. There are an extraordinary number of kids with whom working is a privilege. I was inspired to be a teacher to know that when I was done, that I had made a contribution. And 6th graders have a charming blend of the innocence of children and the intellectual curiosity of teenagers. That's why I love it."
And the best moment of the day? "It's the magic that happens when talking and listening to the kids. When a kid has an insight about a book that I've read 1,000 times, that I haven't heard before."
Kerry loves reading literary fiction, of course. He counts Shakespeare, David Foster Wallace, James Joyce, and William Faulkner as favorites, among many. He also plays piano, guitar, and writes songs. "One of my student's parents once commented I am a musician moonlighting as a teacher." He enjoys music as varied as Beethoven, Charlie Parker, and Keith Richards.
He also enjoys time with his family, including his son who is a senior this year, and their family toy poodle named Brody Miller. Fun fact: Kerry is a horologist!