Julie Groce teaches fourth grade at Tanque Verde Elementary. A Detroit-area transplant, Groce came to Arizona six years ago and is in her third year at Tanque Verde.
Groce is from Lake Orion, Michigan. She says she was drawn to Arizona because of the teaching jobs available here and because the state “sounded exotic.”
“I wanted to teach music at first,” explains Groce, “but math kept calling to me. I always knew I wanted to be a teacher.”
Groce fondly recalls when her teachers would give out brain teasers in math in middle school. “Those were the best days!” she exudes. She says back then her favorite subjects were math and music, she did not enjoy reading.
“Believe it or not, I did not like reading in elementary,” Groce says. She explains that it was not until college that she borrowed a humor book that sparked her love of reading. Until then, “I didn’t know reading could be fun,” she says.
This makes her empathetic to students who do not like reading. She says she understands seeing pages as hurdles until you find the right book that can pique an interest in reading. Now Groce loves to read. She also enjoys running, swimming and spending her free time with her family.
“Mrs. Groce is great because she always has a smile on her face,” writes student Isabella. “She’s like a brick wall, nothing can break her down. Not even a bad day,” Isabella adds.
Isabella nominated her teacher in part because, “She makes us laugh and smile every day.”
Groce notes, “I am 6 months pregnant, so I feel like everything gets under my skin." She is happy that her students don't see it that way.
Whether she is encouraging her students to keep searching for that special book, or cheering them when they keep practicing their skills, Groce champions a growth mindset.
“I always tell my class, it’s all about progress, not perfection,” she says. “Mistakes are proof that you