November 15, 2017

Honoring the Human Side

1st grade teacher Beth Huennekens
With an undergraduate degree in human development and family studies, our 1st grade teacher Beth Huennekens is uniquely qualified to recognize the human-ness in our Friends School classrooms and culture.

Beth is in her ninth year at Friends School, eight of them as the lead teacher in the Kindergarten-1st grade loop. She has been an integral part of our community for so long because she is inspired daily by her teaching colleagues, who challenge her to become a better teacher in a completely supportive environment.  Her colleagues are her friends, her peers, her mentors, and her family. She is energized by knowing the human side of her colleagues, as well as respecting them as outstanding professionals.

In addition to her undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin Madison, Beth has a Masters in Educational Psychology from University of Colorado Denver and is a graduate of our own Friends School Teacher Preparation Program.

She believes that her role as an educator is to guide and honor her students' natural curiosities, individuality, and passions for the world around them. This is something she realized in her own educational experiences and is also what drew her to the field of education.

Beth was drawn to Colorado from Wisconsin because of the like-minded people that she met from here.  So determined to move to Boulder after college, she first took jobs here as a nanny, before serving as the registrar at Bear Creek Elementary School.  Drawn to teaching, she entered a teacher training program at CU, but withdrew after realizing she would be spending almost all her time in graduate classrooms and not learning through and alongside children.

Beth and a friend during the Lead King Loop
Beth heard about Friends’ unique TPP and how the program immediately puts our TCs into a co-teaching role with direct student interaction. One visit to our school and she was hooked!  The delicious smell of Dacia’s lunches helped!  Beth completed the TPP, with her Masters degree and a Colorado teaching license, was hired at Friends in the K-1 loop and the rest, as they say, is history.

In her free time, Beth’s curiosity and love for new adventures are fulfilled through trail running, snowshoeing, seeing live music, reading, and travelling. She loves the balance and meditative nurture that running brings to her. Just this fall, Beth completed the Lead King Loop 25K race in Marble, CO. She loves being outdoors!

Beth tells me that she is inspired on a daily basis by the supportive, passionate, deep thinking, and unique learning environment that the Friends School families and teachers help her create. Like her first graders, she learns a little something every day and she knows that she will still be learning as long as she is teaching. And likely far beyond that.

As one of our staff members told me this week, when I mentioned I was writing this piece about Beth, “I love Beth. The few times I get to be in her classroom, there’s a vibe of pure joy! Those kids are happy, Beth is happy, it feels good in there. Yay, Beth!”

We are lucky to have this amazing human being teaching at our school.

I wish you and your family a happy Thanksgiving with time to celebrate, relax, laugh together, and express gratitude for the gifts we enjoy in our lives.  I feel truly blessed to be part of a school community where every day we are surrounded by kindness and human-ness. 

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