Ranta stays involved with school after retirement
January 6, 2017
Jeff Ranta taught a varying assortment of sciences, but retired abruptly last June after 36 years. Ranta was involved in the changes that will be completed at SAHS for the ninth grade transition and was a common name in the halls. Now that he has retired, his life looks much different.
Ranta, after teaching for many years, had suffered some troubling health difficulties a year before he was planned to retire. Although he recovered, Ranta decided to step back from his career a year early, and now is traveling and relaxing.
The start of something new
Ranta first began teaching 36 years ago, deciding that teaching would be the most fitting job for his family-based lifestyle.
“I happened to really like the sciences, and I liked working with teenagers. I had been a camp counselor so I think that really motivated me the most. I like that engagement. I had the option of working at the YMCA like my daughter did, but I decided to teach instead. I was also a naturalist at the Bell Museum of Natural History teaching young kids about the natural world and science. Then I got so involved as a student, as a student board member and as a student director, and I saw how busy everybody was and they didn’t have time with their families. So I did a shift, went back to school about 23-24, and got my teaching certificate,” Ranta said.
After Ranta’s 36 years of teaching biology, earth, physical science and astronomy, decided to retire quickly after a health complication.
“We have the rule of 90, our age plus years of experience. When you reach that you are able to pull out your retirement. I was three years beyond that, so I knew I had reached that financial part. And my last child was done with college, and then I had this pacemaker. This on-demand pacemaker that was put into me and I said ‘Okay, I don’t know how much longer.’ So that kind of pushed me, I was thinking of going one more year, but it was a chance to do other things. Otherwise I could just keep teaching. I love it enough still and I loved it my whole career,” Ranta explained.
Involvement at SAHS
Despite his retirement, he has decided to stay active in the school community, attending multiple school events.
“I’ve been to a couple of sporting games, and went to a bunch of soccer games. I went to the soccer game when they won the state tournament,” Ranta said. “It hasn’t exactly been a step back. I’m quite involved with the next astronomy teacher. I’ve met with her many times. It’s only my second time back here at the school though.”
Travel and the future
Ranta has been grateful for his decision, as he has been given the opportunity to do some traveling that he would never have been able to do before.
“For the first two three months [of retirement] it was probably travel across the United States and Canada. From the mountains for a few weeks to being with my daughter down in Indiana and Ohio for a week, to up in Duluth for a week with my daughter who moved up there. Just traveling, and extended weekend trips,” Ranta explained. “Now it’s been remodeling, I’m remodeling at home, projects I have to get done. A new deck and stuff like that.”
Ranta has not considered substituting very much, but he has contemplated other volunteer opportunities instead.
“Right now I’m focused on volunteering. I’m looking at getting involved with a couple of international schools, either Africa or South America. I’m looking at getting involved with a tutoring or food program. But I’d like to get involved with Habitat for Humanity, but those are all volunteers. I’m throwing around right now possibly helping with student teachers. Subbing, not yet, but I’ll probably work with the college level,” Ranta said.
Ranta has had a very busy schedule from all of the travel and work he has been doing, but is incredibly happy with the place he is at now.
“I miss connections with students, and as soon as I see a student I’m so excited to see them, but I enjoy it. I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how quickly I’ve been able to adjust to it after 36 years,” Ranta said. “I think I’m right where I expected to be, I really do. I think that I’ve always looked forward to every big change I’ve made, so I think I’m as happy as I could be.”