DUMAS, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — “She’s that person that people aspire to, but it makes you nervous because you don’t know if you can ever get there. That’s kind of how I walk around it, but she’s kind. She’s the person that everybody calls when they need anything,” said JaNan Grice, the Dumas Junior High School Principal while describing her mother.
In 1984, Ruth Grice became a first year teacher. Later in July of 1984, Grice moved to Dumas.
Fast forward to the present, Grice has been a key component in the teaching industry for the past 38 years, while transitioning through numerous titles.
However, it was 1988, when Grice wrote and published “Basic Skills for Writing Compositions.” This is what Ruth Grice contributes to being a game changer in Grice’s career.
Grice continued, “I had done a lot of things here. I had been president of our Classroom Teachers Association and involved a lot, and I was involved in the community of Business and Professional Women… but a lot of people didn’t know who I was until then.”
While she traveled around the state of Texas to assist schools to improve standardized testing scores, Dumas ISD also benefitted directly from Grice’s words of wisdom.
“But that program and that book I wrote raised our scores. We went from a 56 to a 92 the first year that we taught it,” said Grice.
It was later in 2015, when Grice became an instructional coach at Dumas ISD. Additionally, Grice is well known for being a beacon of kindness.
“People will need.. you know, they just need help, or they just move here and they don’t know somebody or they– their kids need help or ‘we’re not having Christmas or we don’t have clothes’.. or maybe.. the kids know they can come by here if they don’t have food,” explained Grice.
Additionally, it is no surprise that such a brilliant and remarkable woman has been nominated and received multiple honors. In fact, those honors and recognitions include the Golden Apple Award from Amarillo for excellence and was nominated by Dumas for Teacher of the Year in 2009. Grice has also spoken at many conventions and was the school’s Student Council sponsor for 18 years.
However, nothing has been near as rewarding as watching all three of her daughters, at some point, follow in her footsteps.
Grice’s oldest daughter, JaNan Grice, is an assistant principal at Dumas Jr. High, where she’s worked with her mom and role model for the past 13 years.
“Her enthusiasm for what she does, working with kids, working with people, kind of just was contagious into me and my sisters obviously, cause they went into education as well,” said JaNan Grice.
Ruth Grice also shared that she found her lifetime sweetheart back in high school. Since then, she has been married for 40 years now, as they were married in Dumas in 1980.
“We found each other when we were sixteen, and literally knew… I mean, the first date I went on with him,” said Grice. She continued “He was a football player here at Dumas and after the football game, we went to the Pizza Hut and I came in that night told my parents I was going to marry him.”
Some of the lessons Grice passed down did not come from a textbook. Instead, she used her commitment to family and community to establish a legacy of learning and love.
Besides the core subject, English, Grice shared that she teaches her students life lessons and qualities such as honesty, truth, respect, and kindness.
“I always tell her, you know, ‘man, you’re going to have- you’re going to sit right next to Jesus when you get to heaven. He’s saving you a chair and your crown is going to have all the stuff, because you deserve it because you’re such a good person,” said JaNan Grice.
Additionally, Ruth Grice shared that her inspiration to start a career in education stems from the fact that her mother and aunts were all teachers.
Looking back, Grice stated, “I would not change the passion I had, because I’ve always.. I loved it before I did it, and I love it now. It’s really hard to think about retiring, because I mean I laugh every day. If you want to have and find joy or love, just be around the kids.”