As a child, Gretta Layman learned early on that you can set goals at a young age and achieve them. When she was in fifth grade, Layman told her father that she would one day play basketball. …
As a child, Gretta Layman learned early on that you can set goals at a young age and achieve them. When she was in fifth grade, Layman told her father that she would one day play basketball. “I’m going to get a basketball scholarship and play college ball,” she said and added that at that point she was “terrible and uncoordinated.” But Layman went on to play volleyball and basketball in high school and developed the skills necessary to obtain the goals she made in fifth grade. Added together with a height of almost 6’2”, Layman quickly excelled in her basketball career and her childhood determination paid off as she become the basketball player she set out to be. After graduation, Layman was offered a scholarship to play Division II Basketball at Mankato State before transferring her senior year to UW Stout to be closer to her family.
“It was kind of cool that you can set goals as a fifth grader and achieve them. That’s a big goal of mine that I accomplished, and I loved it,” she said. Basketball taught Layman many things including, perseverance, resiliency, patience and even empathy. All of those strengths and skills shaped Layman into the person and teacher that she is today.
Layman’s father was the first to spark the idea of her teaching when he told her while she was in high school that she would be a good teacher. She quickly realized that father knows best. Graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Secondary Science Education, Layman continued to pursue her master’s degree in Teacher Leadership and additionally obtained a Reading 316 Certification. She went on to teach in Thorp, Rhinelander, and Chippewa Falls before making the decision to settle in Stanley. Born and raised in Chippewa Falls, Layman grew to love the small-town life which influenced her decision to teach in Stanley. She explained, “I realized how much I missed teaching in the smaller community. I wanted to stay near family so Stanley-Boyd felt like the right choice. I really enjoy the smaller town feel, just the community.”
At her previous schools Layman taught high school students which she enjoyed but this past year, Layman switched gears to teach second grade. “I am eager to work in a different age group and see if this is where I belong in my career goals.”
Layman enjoys being a part of the Stanley-Boyd School faculty and has felt very welcomed.
“I really enjoy being a part of a team. I just feel I can lean on my team and they’re always there with smiles on their face no matter how hard the day is. It’s really nice to have that,” she said of her fellow teachers and mentors. As teachers can face harsh criticism but Layman hopes that parents would understand that teachers want what is best for their students. “I want what is best for your child to help them succeed. I will be nurturing and try to instill a love for learning from them.” She shared what she enjoys the most about teaching. “When the light bulb goes off and the student take on the next challenge.”
Layman’s hardest challenge as a teacher has been balance. She explained, “Balancing stress that led to some mental health issues and still providing stability for my students. To overcome this, I made a change in my career to elementary and so far I have been able to balance the stress while still loving teaching.”
In her free time, Layman enjoys working at Riverbend Winery and Distillery in Chippewa Falls, coaches basketball for Chippewa Falls High School and also referees for sports in the area. But her passion is to be outdoors, especially hiking.
“I’m on a state park binge. My goal is to hit all of the state parks in Wisconsin,” she said and added that she has visited 20 parks so far with her mom, sister-in-law, and roommate. Layman enjoys travelling and shares that she traveled to New Zealand in 2016.
“I went out there for a couple of weeks. It was gorgeous!”
She also enjoyed visiting Arizona. “I like places where you can do stuff outdoors. I like to be outdoors. I like kayaking. I grew up on Lake Wissota so I’m a water baby. I love to be on boats and swimming. We spend a lot of time on the water,” she said explaining that her family lives on Lake Wissota. Given the opportunity, Layman would visit Ireland or go back to New Zealand. “I want to go back to New Zealand. I want to go to the ends of the island, like way north and way south. I want to venture out more because I loved it there.” Talking about the casual atmosphere, she commented, “It’s so much more laid back. It’s family before work.”
For the upcoming school year, Layman is excited to work with her second graders at Stanley Boyd. She remarked, “I like building character and kindness and just awareness for the kids to understand you need to be open minded. You need to have empathy for other people. I’m a very nurturing person and I’m the type of person that leaves my emotions on my sleeve.” She explained that younger students are able to understand that and feel gratitude even when they are pushed to succeed. When asked what her students have taught her, she quickly said, “Patience. I learn from them just as much as they learn from me, that’s for sure.”