Frances Gates, who sent three children through Ready Springs in the early years and served as librarian for 36 years, recalls, “There were no kindergarten classes that first year and just a small primary building. After sixth grade students transferred to other junior high schools.” On May 9, 1969, the old bell from Rough and Ready School was brought and dedicated to Ready Springs School.
Penn Valley resident Cindy Smith was part of the first class of kids who went all the way through Ready Springs, from kindergarten through eighth grade, graduating in 1974. “We had our graduation ceremony on the cement area where kids catch the buses now. There were about 30 of us,” she says. There were 298 enrolled at the school that year. Other things that were different, Smith remember, “Kids still got paddled back then. Not me. Some boys in our class did. It was a long wooden paddle with holes in it.” While she was there they built the multipurpose areas where the upper grades are now.
Ready Springs School celebrated its 40th anniversary in 1996; enrollment was up to 720 kids. A ceremony honoring the original five board members was held, where the district’s first administrator, Del Pharis, spoke of them, “They were of true pioneer stock. They saw what needed to happen.” In august 2004 current principal Susan Pastorini was hired as a full-time principal, replacing superintendent/principal Merrill Grand. That spring the decision had been made for the Ready Springs and Pleasant Valley school districts to share administrations. Ready Springs school board member Amanda Wilcox observes, “It allowed for more sharing of resources, more efficiency, better service and using taxpayers’ money more wisely.” In March of this year the school launched its P.A.C.E. program (promoting academics, community and exploration) to expand course offerings for 6-8th graders and boosts its declining enrollment., Today the school has 273 students, 12 teachers and several part-time specialist.