Denair Retirees Honored for Combined 128 years of Service

Submitted by Denair Unified School District

An account technician, the longtime director of technology, two popular maintenance workers and a special education assistant and have announced their retirements from the Denair Unified School District at the end of this school year. Combined, they have 128 years of service in schools.

Those retiring are:

  • Ana Rush, Account Technician
  • Mark Ranes, Director of Technology
  • Maria Gomes, Custodian
  • Genaro “Willie” Lugo, Utility Worker
  • Sue Patterson, Special Education Paraeducator

The five retirees were honored with gifts and testimonials May 10 at an emotional Board of Trustees meeting. There were smiles, hugs and more than a few tears – of gratitude and happy memories, and from close friends who won’t be seen quite as frequently.

Also acknowledged and congratulated on a job well done was Superintendent Aaron Rosander, who is leaving after 4½ years and moving to the Bay Area to be closer to his elderly parents.

Ana Rush, 38 years in the district: Rush and her husband, Randy, are 1976 graduates of Denair High. So are both their children, something not at all uncommon in the close-knit community. She describes having four Coyote alumnus in the same family as being “very special.”

Rush said it “has been a pleasure working” in the business office for more than three decades, but that she’s excited about the chance to spend more time with her family.

“My plans are to do what I want when I want, to help with my six grandchildren when I’m needed and to wait for my husband to retire so we can travel throughout the United States,” she said.

Among her favorite memories are the morning pots of coffee brewed by Ranes in the district office. “He used to make the best coffee,” Rush recalled.

“The other wonderful experience was meeting and becoming friends for life with other parents by being involved with Sports Boosters and Sober Grad,” she said.

Mark Ranes, 34 years in the district: Ranes spent the first 13 years of his Denair career teaching science to sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders at Denair Middle School. But in the mid-1990s – when school districts could barely imagine the impact computers someday would have on education – he left the classroom to become the district’s first and only technology director.

“The biggest accomplishment early on in the technology area was being the first district in Stanislaus County that had a networked computer in every classroom. In 1996-97, that was unheard of,” Ranes said. “But overall, I think the biggest accomplishment of all is maintaining 20+ years of technology use in DUSD, where we stayed focused on the people using the technology, not the technology itself.

“Education is a people business. Empowering creative teachers with the ability to use technology as a tool, to open the minds of students, is what we do in the tech department.”

His responsibilities brought Ranes in contact with every district department, so it’s no surprise when he admits that his biggest adjustment will be making up for that daily interaction.

“Denair is my family,” he said. “Even when I’m not at work, I’m around people I’ve met through my career in Denair. This district is blessed to have some of the kindest, hard-working people I’ve ever met. They know their mission and want to provide the best education possible for Denair’s students. I will miss seeing these folks on a daily basis.”

Until his wife, Brenda – a teacher at Denair Elementary Charter Academy– retires and they can do more traveling, Ranes expects to spend much time on his twin passions – home brewing and baking.

“I’ll be able to brew on weekdays now!” he said with a smile. “I also want to master a couple areas in baking – sourdough bread and pies. Finally, I look forward to spending more time with our two Boston terriers. They can take me on walks.” Continue reading “Denair Retirees Honored for Combined 128 years of Service” »

Gaslight Community Conservatory Hosts Summer Dance Youth Programs

Submitted by Denair Gaslight Community Conservatory

Kids Summer Dance Camp

A week-long, half-day camp learning a variety of dance styles with a dance recital on Friday free for family and friends.

July 23-27, 2018, Monday-Friday, 9:00 am – 12:00 pm, K-6 Grade, $100 per camper

Dance Styles Taught: ballet, tap and jazz.

For registration or more information contact or (209) 664-9514

Dance Instructor Amy Gallegos from BellaLise School of Dance


Mommy and Me Dance Classes

Tuesdays, June 12, 19, July 10, 17, 31 and August 7,

Walking to 2 Year Olds, 9:00 am-10:00 am, Ballet and music movement

2 Year Olds – 4 Year Olds, 10:00 am-11:00 am, Ballet, tap and music movement

Cost:  $60 per adult/child, per 6-week session. There is a $10 registration fee.

Includes a warm up and cool down song, movement and balance games and an introduction to dance steps

For more information contact or (209) 664-9514

Dance Instructor Amy Gallegos from BellaLise School of Dance


Additionally, the Gaslight Theater has an upcoming Sparks Dance Recital.

Friday, June 8, 2018 at 7:00 pm
Denair Community Conservatory, Denair, tickets are $8.

Gaslight Community Conservatory to Host Shabby Chic Sign Design Fundraiser

Submitted by Denair Gaslight Community Conservatory

Join the Gaslight Community Conservatory for an afternoon of creative fun and get your Summer decorating started!

Step 1:  Prepurchase your tickets on our webiste ( to reserve your place in the class.  Classes are limited to 20 participants and all tickets must be purchased by 8:00pm on June 13th.

Step 2:  Choose one of the two sign designs.

Option 1:  Happy 4th of July or Option 2: Hello Summer

Step 3:  Email your sign selection to by 8:00pm on June 13th to allow for preparation of materials.

Step 4:  Come to the theater on June 16th and enjoy an afternoon of treats, beverages, and fun!

June 16, 2018
$45.00 per participant
3908 N. Gratton Rd.
Denair, CA 95316
(209) 664-9514

Top Denair High Students Lopez, Knox Reflect on Quality of Education, Academic Success

Submitted by Denair High School

Daisy Lopez is the Denair High School Class of 2018 valedictorian thanks to her 4.16 grade-point average. The salutatorian will be Hannah Knox, who compiled a 4.11 GPA in her four years. Both young women aspire to become veterinarians.

The graduation ceremony will be Friday, May 25 beginning at 7:30 p.m. at Jack Lytton Stadium. Gates open at 6 p.m. Tickets are not required.

After students receive their diplomas, there will be a Sober Grad Night party in the gym.

Lopez and Knox recently took time to answer 10 questions about their high school experiences.


Question: What are the key things other students should know about your academic success and how you achieved it?

Lopez: Keeping myself motivated and aware of the goals I wanted to achieve helped me continue working hard throughout my academic years at Denair High School. Also, enrolling in honors and AP classes really helped expose me to new and challenging material.

Knox:Always try to push yourself, but know your breaking point. I pushed myself too hard and it ended up backfiring for me. Also, good grades just don’t happen for most, so if you want a good grade, you have to go that extra mile in every assignment and every test. It’s always better to do more. I made this my philosophy when I came into high school and it really prepared me for honors and AP classes.


Q: How much time outside of class did you spend studying or doing homework?

Knox: I have never been a big studier, so I learned to cram right before a test, such as the night before or literally minutes before a test, which seemed to work pretty well for me. Maybe I’ll take a night off once in a while if I know I have time before the assignment is due.

Lopez: Outside of class, I spend about three to four hours every day doing school work.

Continue reading “Top Denair High Students Lopez, Knox Reflect on Quality of Education, Academic Success” »