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Alumni Happenings - October 2005
Grand County High School

Class of 1991’s Janna Cook Rogers
Returns to Alma Mater to Teach

by Jeff Richards

Janna Cook Rogers, a member of Grand County High’s Class of 1991, has finally come home again. Rogers is a new teacher at GCHS this year, following in the footsteps of her mentor, former history teacher Donna Brownell, who retired in the spring of 2005 after over 30 years of teaching.

Not only was it Brownell who inspired Janna to become a teacher, but Janna actually ended up succeeding Brownell in her position. Rogers is currently teaching two classes of Western Civilization and two periods of Geography at GCHS. She is also midway through the season as the head volleyball coach. The Lady Devils varsity team defeated North Sevier at their homecoming game Sept. 24 to improve their overall record to 4-3.

Rogers gives credit to her hard-working, talented players, and also credits other coaches, particularly Deb Hren and Deb Lema, who have been working with the girls for the past several years in city rec leagues and middle school competitions. “It really is a credit to them, that we are doing so well,” Janna acknowledges.
Rogers’ husband Marty is now working as a nurse practitioner in the office of Dr. Ray Andrew on Williams Way in Moab. Marty previously directed the CEU nursing program in Blanding and later worked as a nurse practitioner in New Mexico, a job they took as part of a program to earn federal assistance in paying off Marty’s student loans for medical school.

Marty, who grew up in Monticello and attended Monticello High School, first met Janna when he was a senior and she was a freshman. They had sung together in the same community ensemble chorale, and Marty later came up to Moab the following spring to participate in Jeep Safari. “We sat in the back of a Jeep together,” recalls Janna. “I was 16 so I was just old enough to date, and he said, ‘Remember me?’ And I said, ‘Yeah.’”
“Thank goodness for Jeep Safari,” laughs Janna, who finished high school and attended a year at Snow College while Marty served an LDS mission to Norway. They were married in 1992 and are the parents of three children: Baylee, 12, Zakkary, 9, and Erin, 5.

After their wedding, Janna and Marty first lived in Blanding and attended CEU classes there. They then moved to Price and attended classes at the College of Eastern Utah’s main campus. Marty was studying nursing while Janna was taking classes in drafting technology. They later moved back to Monticello and Janna became involved in coaching youth sports. “I really liked working with kids, and that’s when I decided to change my major,” Janna recalls. “The only thing I could think of was Donna Brownell, who had taught me in both regular and AP (advanced placement) history.”

After completing their studies at CEU, the Rogers’ moved to Provo while Marty pursued his master’s degree and Janna finished her teaching degree at Brigham Young University. After they were finished at BYU, they moved back to Blanding, where Janna taught at the middle school there for two years. They then moved to Logan, N.M., a small town near the state’s eastern border, and continued their respective careers there for three more years.

It was while she was living in New Mexico that Janna received a letter from GCHS principal Tom Brown asking her to write a letter in support of Donna Brownell for an award that Brownell was going to be receiving. “I then found out that Donna was going to be retiring soon, and I started thinking about applying for her job,” says Janna. Not only do Janna’s parents (Don and Sue Cook) live here in Moab, but so do four of her six siblings, including GCHS cheerleading advisor Amy Cox and assistant football coach Derrick Cook, a former standout athlete who also assists in coaching other GCHS sports, including basketball and baseball. Another sister, Kristen Risenhoover, has also worked for the school district as a paraprofessional at Red Rock Elementary.

The Rogers family is still getting settled in here in Moab, having just moved to a rental home on Tusher Street, not far from where Janna’s parents live. Another of their neighbors is retired teacher Jim Walker, another of Janna’s all-time favorites. “He’s always been like this big old teddy bear, and when he saw we had moved back, he just gave me a big hug,” Janna says.

Despite all the moving around they’ve done thus far, Janna says she hopes she and her family will be able to stay in Grand County for the long haul. Her first year at GCHS is going well so far, and they’re quickly adjusting themselves to living in the Moab community. “We love it here and hope to be here forever,” says Janna. says Kelsie.

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