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A Career of Caring: Jane Greer

A Career of Caring: Jane Greer

For someone who "never ever" wanted to follow in her mother's footsteps and become a teacher, Jane Greer sure changed her mind in a big way. Now, after a long and rewarding—if unexpected—teaching career, Jane has pledged a significant gift through her estate to establish an endowed scholarship to support future Western students studying to become teachers.

Greer spent her 36 years of teaching, 28 of which she spent working in Tacoma schools, taking on the toughest challenges, connecting with the hardest to reach students, and turning around failing schools. And she did it all with a sharp wit and a seemingly endless supply of patience.

But if you had asked a young Jane if she would ever become a teacher, she would have said "no."

"My mom skipped several grades, graduated from Pacific Lutheran University (then College) at 19 and became a teacher. My grandfather trained as a teacher but became a logger and a blacksmith. A love of education ran in my family."

Similarly, Jane started kindergarten at four, graduated from high school at 17, and began teaching special education at 22. That fall, she enrolled in Western to get her teaching certification in general education and special education.

Jane spent 16 years of her teaching career working with profoundly disabled students, many of whom were wheelchair bound. She distinguished herself as a teacher and trained other teachers how to shape a curriculum for these specific teaching challenges.

She had a great principal and followed him to two failing middle schools where she spent her last five years of teaching.

"I thought I'd never, ever go to a middle or high school."

But just as she never thought she was destined to be a teacher, she was similarly unexpectedly skilled in another challenging area: taking on failing schools and turning them around. With Jane at the helm of special ed and her principal working on community-building and teacher morale, they turned both schools around within a year and half.

In her years of teaching, Jane witnessed students who needed good teachers, solid teachers, teachers who don't shy from challenge or commitment. She wanted to support students who are talented and deserving and give them the ability to become great teachers, so she created the Jane Greer Scholarship Endowment fund.

"I'm fortunate that I'm able to leave behind something of value to Western and to give back to the school I care about. We just really need good teachers in the world, and if I can help make that happen, I'm happy. I wanted to do anything I can remove barriers for good teachers."

Jane spends her retirement traveling and spending time with the folks who have adopted her as a "mom," "grandmother" and "aunt" along the way.