Alyssa Ranker runs AAC on positive momentum

Alyssa Ranker is the new lead teacher in the Academic Achievement Center.Photo: Sam Cove

Alyssa Ranker was hired as the new lead teacher in the Academic Achievement Center at ARHS, after Sarah Bourbeau, who ran the center last year, assumed a full-time social studies position.

Ms. Ranker was interviewed on the last day of the 2017-18 school year and hired.

“I heard about the job through my friend Crystal Garrity, who actually works as the new secretary in the guidance office,” Ms. Ranker said. “She knew I was looking for a teaching job, and this job has a great balance between teaching and student support which I like about it.”

Prior to working at ARHS, Ms. Ranker was employed at  Foundations Pioneer Valley. “It’s a school for working with students who have needs that can’t be met by traditional schools,” she said. “Before that I was a history teacher at a traditional high school where I went to high school myself. I was just out of college when I started working there.”

Ms. Ranker said she was 22 or 23 at the time. “I was barely older than the seniors,” Ms. Ranker joked.

Ms. Ranker attended Smith College, which connected her to the Pioneer Valley. “I got my teaching degree as an undergraduate,” Ms. Ranker said. “I was able to start teaching right away; that was the benefit of doing the program I did there.”

Ms. Ranker has not chosen to attend graduate school but she thinks it is a definite possibility in the future.

In her spare time, Ms. Ranker enjoys spending time with her cat Harriet.

“I love watching TV, and just relaxing and hanging out,” she said. “I also like to go outside when the weather’s nice. Living in this area there’s no shortage of nice things to do.”

Ms. Ranker enjoys spending time with her partner or her dad, who is a mechanic.

“I had a lot of great teachers in my high school who helped me through a lot, like when my parents got divorced,” Ms. Ranker said, explaining why she wanted to be a teacher. “Teaching seemed like a pretty solid career and I already was good at the subject matter and like working with people.”

Ms. Ranker was even a substitute teacher at a preschool for a time as well. “I’ve worked with pretty much every grade from preschool to highschool,” she said. Ms. Ranker taught history and sociology during her time teaching older grades and enjoyed the subject matter.

In her first year at ARHS, Ms. Ranker is enjoying meeting all of the students and teachers. “I feel like the people here can really see me and appreciate me for who I am,” Ms. Ranker said, “I look forward to supporting people in that way as well.”

For the future of the AAC, Ms. Ranker intends to keep moving forward, with a “positive momentum.” She also hope to encourage students to share their ideas so that she can make it the best environment for students to learn and grow.

“There are a lot of people with different needs in the AAC and I want to be able to meet all their needs in the best way possible,” she said.