When Amy Grgich, affectionally known as Mrs. G., was in 10th grade, she dreamed of engaging in two possible careers – becoming an actor on Broadway or becoming a kindergarten teacher.
She chose to pursue the latter but still finds ways to bring elements of acting into her classroom. From talking in different sounding voices to dressing up like the Lorax, Johnny Appleseed, a Mad Scientist, or a 100-year-old woman, she consistently finds ways to bring her other talents into the classroom to accentuate the principles she is teaching.
“Walking into her classroom is like walking into another world. She has created a learning environment that is warm, caring, and exciting to students,” said SPES Principal Ronda Silva.
Silva added, “Learning is truly fun in her class, so fun that students don’t even realize they are working hard to learn. She instills a love of learning that continues to follow them throughout their years in school.”
Ava Van Moorlehem, a senior at Stansbury High School, currently works as an intern in Grgich’s classroom. She was also in Grgich’s kindergarten class the first year Grgich was a teacher.
“I really admire her,” said Van Moorlehem. “The way she teaches is so good that it has inspired me to become a kindergarten teacher myself. She totally deserves this award.”
Fellow SPES kindergarten teacher Sharon Jensen agreed Grgich was deserving of the honor.
“Kids are mesmerized when they are in her class,” said Jensen. “When she comes to school, she goes into teacher mode and leaves her outside cares behind. She is always focused on her kids and they love her. Parents think she’s the greatest because she is.”
Grgich has taught kindergarten at SPES since 2008. She said she has learned over the years that kindergarten is a lot about socialization, making connections, and building relationships.
“I do what I can to support my students and make them feel comfortable coming to school,” said Grgich. “I want them to engage in never-ending learning.”
She said learning she had been selected as the 2020 Teacher of the Year at SPES and then at the district level was a dream come true. She was elated when she was also selected as one of the top five candidates for Teacher of the Year in the state of Utah.