Elementary Education Student Success Stories


Mike Monahan

Mike was in the restaurant business for 17 years, doing everything from waiting on tables to being a partner in four restaurants. “The hours were long and often late,” he says – not what he and his family wanted. Having a lifelong desire to help others and “make the world a better place for our children,” Mike decided to change careers. As he completed his A.A. degree, he was co-enrolled at the University of Colorado-Boulder, where he is seeking a place in the elementary education program. He credits history professor Andy DeRoche’s teaching methods for making “an invaluable contribution to my educational life.” As Mike works toward his goal, he knows that “the rewards are all about the children and helping to create their futures.”


Kelly Roth and Justin Gronewold

This couple has a shared goal of becoming teachers.

A veterinary technician for four years, Kelly was ready for a career switch. She knew she liked working with young people. “I came to FRCC because I had been out of classes for a while,” she says. “I wanted to take a few courses to get back into things.” And she wanted to see whether teaching was what she wanted. One class she took was EDU 221 – Intro to Education. That confirmed it. “Tony (Garcia ) is an excellent teacher,” she says. “He got us excited about teaching.” Having a Bachelor of Arts degree in biology from the University of Colorado and now working on a Master of Education and teacher licensure at Colorado State University, Kelly wants to teach secondary science or math.

Justin attended college for two years in his home state of Nebraska before moving to Fort Collins a dozen years ago. He worked a number of jobs. For the past three years he has been the head cook at a vegetarian restaurant. It’s a great job, but with both parents and a grandparent having been teachers, he’s got teaching in his blood. It’s what he wanted to study back at that Nebraska college. So he started taking classes at FRCC “to see if I enjoyed being back in school.” He did, and he plans to stay at FRCC for guaranteed-transfer classes before transferring to Colorado State University. He’s interested in teaching biology or earth sciences in a high school.