(916) 686-7732 egusdcom@egusd.net

(UPDATED 7/12/2017)

WHAT: Zehnder Ranch Elementary School will hold a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the opening of the 42nd elementary school in the Elk Grove Unified School District (EGUSD). Home of the Longhorns, students and their families will be part of history as the first student body at Zehnder Ranch. The ceremony will take place at the start of the first day of school in the 2017-2018 school year. At the end of the celebration, just like on Wall Street, the Zehnder Family will ring the school bell to signal the start of classes.

A year-round school, Zehnder Ranch Elementary school buildings are CHPS Verfied (Collaborative For High Performance Schools) and the school is also solar-ready.


WHEN: Thursday, July 13, 2017, at 8:00 a.m. PDT


WHERE: Zehnder Ranch Elementary School, 9880 Denali Circle, Elk Grove, CA 95757


WHO: Students, staff and families of Zehnder Ranch Elementary School; EGUSD administrators; local elected officials; community members.


WHY: With the goal of having students attend their neighborhood schools, Zehnder Ranch Elementary School is the first elementary school in the Laguna Ridge community and will feed into Elizabeth Pinkerton Middle School and Cosumnes Oaks High School. 


About Zehnder Ranch and the Zehnder Family

The Zehnder family has been an integral part of the Elk Grove community in agriculture, business and community services for nearly eight decades. The Zehnder Ranch was located along Highway 99 and West Stockton Road, near what is now the Auto Mall.

Alfred Zehnder purchased the property in 1939 and established a dairy there. Later, the property expanded to 210 acres and was sold to and operated by his brother, Louis. He and his wife, Anne, raised milk cows and chickens. Their sons, John and Louis Jr., and daughter Joanne, all attended Elk Grove schools and graduated from Elk Grove High School (Classes of 1945, 1946, 1952).

In 1961, John and his wife, Nancy and their sons, lived on the ranch. All seven of them are graduates of Elk Grove High School, and they all live in the Elk Grove area. In 1982, the dairy business ended, and the ranch was converted to a beef cattle operation. Later, the property was purchased for a school and for development.

John Zehnder, Sr. has supported and contributed to the Elk Grove community for nearly 70 years. He and his wife Nancy are Elk Grove High School graduates, and so are all their sons, John Jr. (Linda), Tom (Nancy), Mike (Kathy), Dan (Richelle), Steve (Paula), Bryan (Colleen), and Paul (Shelly). All of the sons have pursued careers and raised their own families in Elk Grove, continuing their father and mother’s tradition of community involvement and passing it on to their children. All of the 23 grandchildren graduated from Elk Grove schools.

Currently, nine of the 18 great-grandchildren attend Elk Grove schools in the 2017-2018 school year. two of the great-grandchildren will attend Zehnder Ranch Elementary. John, Sr. has tremendous loyalty and pride for Elk Grove. He is past president and lifetime member of the Elk Grove Lions Club which recognized him with the Melvin Jones Award. He has been an Elk Grove Fire Department volunteer for 43 years and was president of the Firemen’s Association.

John Sr.’s love of sports is reflected in his active involvement with Elk Grove High School football for over 60 years operating the scoreboard clock during Thundering Herd home games. He has been president of the Elk Grove Softball Association; a Cub master for Boy Scouts of America; has coached Pop Warner, Little League, soccer and basketball; and helped start the Western Festival Parade. John is a member of the California Cattlemen’s Association and the Knights of Columbus. John served on the Board of Directors of First Security Bank of Elk Grove for 20 years, and was a member of the Cosumnes College Agricultural Board and the Northern California Peace Officer Association. He was named Elk Grove’s Citizen of the Year in 1969 and is in the Elk Grove High School Hall of Fame.

Additional examples of the Zehnder family community involvement: John Zehnder, Jr. a 34-year retired Elk Grove High School teacher, has coached football for 40 years; Dr. Tom Zehnder designed and developed the Franklin Ranch Pet Hospital which he currently owns; Mike Zehnder is a retired Battalion Chief after 36 years at the Elk Grove/Cosumnes Fire Department and his wife Kathy retired from the Office of the Superintendent after 36 years serving EGUSD; Mike and Kathy’s daughter, Kelly Zehnder-Olson is a counselor at Sheldon High School and her husband Jason Olson is an engineer at the Elk Grove/Cosumnes Fire Department; Mike and Kathy’s daughter Julie Zehnder Steffen is a teacher at Elitha Donner Elementary School and her husband Matthew Steffen is a teacher at Cosumnes Oaks High School; Mike and Kathy’s youngest daughter is Tracy Zehnder Lesher. Her husband, Tim Lesher, is a Firefighter/Paramedic at the Elk Grove/Cosumnes Fire Department; Dan Zehnder’s son, Scott, is an engineer at the Elk Grove/Cosumnes Fire Department; Dan’s son, Brandon, is an automotive technology teacher at Florin High School; Dan’s son, Tyler, is a teacher at Markofer Elementary School and his wife, Amanda, is a teacher at Carroll Elementary School; Dan’s daughter, Danelle Zehnder Smith, will teach 2nd grade at Zehnder Ranch Elementary School; Steve Zehnder is a retired Captain at the Elk Grove/Cosumnes Fire Department; Bryan Zehnder is a current Captain at the Elk Grove/Cosumnes Fire Department and his wife Colleen is a teacher at Ellen Feickert Elementary School; Paul Zehnder was recently promoted to the position of Deputy Chief at the Elk Grove/Cosumnes Fire Department.

John Zehnder Sr. and his son, Mike, have been honored as Elk Grove’s Citizens of the Year and both currently serve on the Board of Directors of the Elk Grove Regional Scholarship Foundation. The contributions of the Zehnder family to the Elk Grove area will always be remembered at Zehnder Ranch Elementary School.


About the Elk Grove Unified School District

The Elk Grove Unified School District (EGUSD) is the fifth-largest school district in California located in southern Sacramento County. EGUSD covers 320 square miles and includes 67 schools: 42 elementary schools, nine middle schools, nine high schools, five alternative education schools, an adult school, one charter school and a virtual academy. Offering a multitude of educational programs, including over 70 career-themed academies and pathways within 15 industry sectors, we prepare our students for college and career by supporting them with the means to be creative problem solvers; self-aware, self-reliant, and self-disciplined; technically literate; effective communicators and collaborators; and engaged in the community as individuals with integrity. We integrate rigorous academics with career-based learning and real world workplace experiences and ensure that Every Student is Learning, in Every Classroom, in Every Subject, Every Day.

For more information about the Elk Grove Unified School District, please visit www.egusd.net and follow us @ElkGroveUnified on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and Eventbrite.

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