READY FOR CLASS — John Kranz in room 418 in the two-story building on Sunnyside High School campus is ready to greet his first set of 10th grade English students. “I’m pretty excited about the first few days of school,” he says. Sunnyside public school students are back in the classroom today Aug. 28.

SUNNYSIDE — His first classroom is decorated with a few superheroes’ posters and Washington State University Cougars gear on the walls. first year teacher John Kranz says, it’s a work in process.

Obviously, a recent WSU graduate, John Kranz is already at home in his

Sunnyside High School classroom, although, “…having my own classroom to decorate is new and a little difficult,” he admitted.

But Kranz is not worried as soon those blank walls will be covered in student work.

His outward appearance is calm, but he admits being a little nervous.

“Still, it’s great to be able to work in a place I know,” added Kranz, a hometown boy, who once wore the Grizzly “Hercules” mascot costume at SHS games and special events.

Now he’ll be known to students as “Mr. Kranz” as he shares his love of English as a new 10th grade English Language Arts (ELA) instructor.

Today, Aug. 28, marks the 2016 SHS alum’s 17th first day of school.

“That’s sort of weird,” Kranz admitted. “I hadn’t thought about that, but it is pretty cool.”

This past week was spent in staff meetings, lesson plan meetings with his mentor teacher Ryan Cullen, another local man, and signing tons of papers.

“They throw a lot at us first year teachers, but it’s all good,” he remarked.

“I’m eager to be a part of the SHS community. I know I’ll have a lot of support from the administration and fellow staff,” Kranz commended.

He attended Sunnyside School District from kindergarten through 12 grades, then earned his bachelor’s degree in education in record time.

“I did two years of Running Start, while in high school,” he explained, which made his WSU experience a three-year adventure.

Having done his student teaching in the Prosser and Sunnyside School Districts, he was successful when he applied for the high school English teacher job.

Just down the hall is fellow schoolmate, Alyson Spidle, also a hometown girl, who is teaching freshmen English Language Arts. “We’re in the two-story building on the second floor at the east end of the campus,” he said. “She really decorated her room and has plants in her room,” he shared.

Both Kranz and Spidle were high school class leaders. While Kranz was busy in high school serving as senior class president, Spidle was serving as Miss Sunnyside. Both were quite active in the community.

“I love to help people and want to give back to my community,” he said of the decision to teach in his alma mater.

Both their moms also work at the high school: Rosie Kranz is in the school office and Diana Blumer is in the counseling office.

“I’m very proud of Johnny and happy he is working on campus,” Mrs. Kranz said, “even if he is clear at the other end of the campus in the two-story building.” A sentiment Blumer shared. “She and John are ready to teach.”

Julia Hart can be reached at 509-837-4500, ext. 123 or at

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