After 30 years of teaching, Karen Berry retired with a host of appreciative students, parents and fellow teachers cheering her work. Upon graduating from high school, Karen attended Bowling Green State University and graduated from Kent State University with a Bachelor of Science in Education degree in 1971.
Karen first worked in the Willoughby-Eastlake system for four years and left to begin her family of a son and two daughters; and at the same time, she earned a master’s degree in Education from Lake Erie College as a reading specialist in 1982. She returned to work in 1983 teaching for the Painesville Township schools (now Riverside Local School system) in 1983 where she taught at John R. Williams Jr. High School for one year. She then transferred to Auburn Middle School (now LaMuth Middle School) where she spent the remainder of her career, retiring in 2009.
The Hall of Fame Faculty/Staff division selection committee found Karen is an exemplary teacher and mentor to fellow educators. As an example, several student teachers who interned with Karen were later hired by the Riverside Local Schools district for permanent teaching positions. Karen also implemented a new program, “I’ve Been Back to School,” which invited community members to come to her classroom and co-teach for a day. This effort certainly created better “town-gown” relations and a better understanding of the multiple demands on those in the classroom.
Karen further exemplified her leadership by sponsoring/advising a variety of student extracurricular groups. From bowling club to Core group (drug and alcohol prevention), to the Power of the Pen, parenting groups and the school newspaper, The Roadrunner, Karen’s influence was strongly felt. As a result, she was named LaMuth Teacher of the year.
Within the school system Karen served the Riverside Local Education Association (RLEA) as vice president, president, chair of the public relations committee, and member of the scholarship selection committee. During her tenure as an officer of RLEA she participated in monthly meetings with the superintendent to discuss issues and often find solutions in a timely manner. This led to building a better relationship between the administration and the association.
Karen’s service also extended to her work in the community. She served the Mentor Methodist Church Vacation Bible School and their scholarship committee. She also serve the First Church Congregation as Chair of the Board of Ministries. Additionally, she was secretary of the Preserve Condo Association.
The Hall of Fame selection committee admires Karen’s relationship with students, parents, fellow teachers and the community.