Alumni Profile: Ruth Anderson and Mike McGranahan
Ruth Anderson and Mike McGranahan met while they were high school students at Hill School. They developed a friendship, went their separate ways for a while, and then were married in 1996. They are the parents of Chloe and Liam and while they have each had their own journey, their stories are intertwined.
Ruth attended Hill School (then the Learning Development Center) from second grade through high school graduation in 1989. She was a student when Hill was a full-day school in the yellow house. “I don’t remember not being there.” She had struggled in first grade, especially when work was written on the chalkboard. “The words would dance around,” she remembers, “so I would copy them wrong.” Hill’s structured approach to reading, written language, and math worked well for Ruth. After graduating from Jordan High School, she went on to attend West Virginia Wesleyan College, Durham Technical Community College, and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She has a bachelor’s in community health and early childhood education and a master’s in early childhood education. She taught in the Durham Public Schools for several years.
Mike enrolled at Hill in the eighth grade and continued through eleventh grade. He returned to Northern High School full-time for his senior year so that he could graduate early. Mike found the small student-teacher ratio to be a good fit. He remembers being able to “disappear” in a large class at his base schools. “I tried hard and behaved, so I was passed along. But I couldn’t read,” he confesses. At Hill, Mike remembers the teachers caring about his success and being “good negotiators” when it came to helping him find motivation. After graduating in 1988, Mike went to Durham Technical Community College and earned an associate’s degree in electronic engineering.
As parents, Ruth and Mike are strong advocates of Hill Learning Center. Their children have attended the Hill summer program and utilize Hill’s tutoring services. “Hill is a valuable resource for our family and for the community. It has made a difference now in two generations of our family.”