If there were a degree for life experience, Larry Manch would have earned one by now. Manch worked in the retail services industry until he was in his late 40s. He had years of management experience under his belt and had even owned his own business. He worked hard to create a successful career and lifestyle for himself, but after getting married and the birth of his first child, Manch decided it was time for a career change. He wanted to spend more time with his growing family and decided to pursue his lifelong dream of becoming a teacher. While he saw no way to attend a traditional brick and mortar school, he looked for other opportunities to complete the degree he had started years earlier.
In 2004, after moving down the career ladder so he could work less hours and make time for school work, Manch enrolled at Western Governors University. In his determination to finish his degree quickly and begin teaching, Manch finished his B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies (K-8) in less than two years. After completing his student teaching in early 2006, he worked as substitute teacher and was hired later that fall.
Since graduating, Manch has worked as a second grade teacher and serves as grade level leader for Montague Village Elementary School, located on a military base community in Fort Hood, Texas. His position as a teacher on a military base is no different than most other educators; except that it is not unusual to see Blackhawk helicopters fly over the playground or hear fighter jets throughout the school day. His wife, who also received her teaching degree from WGU, works at the same school.
This year, Western Governors University selected Larry Manch as an outstanding graduate for the Accrediting Commission of the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC) 2010 Outstanding Graduates and Famous Alumni book. Manch is among 45 graduates from 37 accredited DETC member institutions to be recognized this year. The graduates represent more than three million distance education students now studying with DETC member institutions, including WGU.
Manch also serves on the WGU Alumni Advisory Board, contributes regularly to WGU alumni and student newsletters and participates in the WGU Ask-A-Grad program. He also hosted a networking event for WGU students and alumni.