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After 49 Years, Judy Berry Will Retire...Kind Of

Judy Berry has been a teacher for 49 years, 42 in Menomonee Falls, and she'll retire at the end of the year. Patch sat down with Berry for 10 questions Friday.

Judy Berry, a devote Brett Favre fan, joked that she would retire when ol' number four hung up the cleats. That time has long passed, but she's certain this will be her last year at Shady Lane Elementary School. She also promised she's not planning to pull a "Brett Favre." 

Berry has been teaching for 49 years, and spent 42 years Menomonee Falls. Patch sat down with her to ask 10 questions about her career: 

If you could have had one other job other than teaching, what would it have been?

“My friend and I in college wanted to be nurses, but we decided we couldn’t stand the sight of blood. Teaching was the only thing that really interested me. I can name any teacher I’ve ever had, and I always played school when I was a kid.”

What’s the first thing you want to do in your retirement?

“I’m going to come back and volunteer. I really am…I have no plans except to come back here and spend time with the kids. I want to work with kids, so that’s what I’m going to do. I have all kinds of ideas for projects that teachers just don’t have time to do. Maybe relax a little bit!”

 How many apples have you received over your 49 years as a teacher?

“Candy is what’s given now. We get a lot of candy, but I haven’t received too many apples.”

What’s the most inspiring thing one of your past students did in or out of the classroom?

“One of my students – they all do wonderful things – has become a doctor at Froedtert. I think I inspired him to become that. Seeing kids grow up, and what they can do with their life, is amazing.”

What is one life lesson you’ve learned from your students over the years?

“They teach me all about computers. I am not the computer whiz that I should be. Just today I asked one of my students to come up and show me how to do something.”

What’s been the biggest change in the teaching profession from when you started to today?

“We are teaching so much more now. When I started we taught math, reading, and phonics. Now we have so much science and social studies. There have been so many things brought into the curriculum.”

How often do you bump into former students?

“I see them occasionally. I keep in contact with some through letters. Right now, I have a student in the classroom, and I had his father in fourth grade. His dad has kept all the report cards and letters from me when I was his teacher.”

What will you miss most about this job?

“Just working with the kids and seeing the progress they make. All of a sudden things click in their minds. This has been my room for 35 years, this has been my room since 1985. Now I need to turn in my badge and key? Each day is getting a little tougher. I’m still agonizing over the decision.”

What makes Menomonee Falls special in your eyes?

“We’ve got good kids and families here. It’s a nice place to raise children. I don’t have any children myself, these are my kids.”

Pretend this is the last lesson you will teach in your profession, what is something you want embark on every student? 

“I want them to love learning. I want them to be motivated, to do more, to achieve more. And they can, if they want to. I wish I could have reached every child I worked with, but I can’t. I just want them to do the best they can, and always strive for more.” 

james May 18, 2013 at 11:02 AM
good article Carl . good question's
Nuitari (Grand Master Editor) May 18, 2013 at 12:56 PM
Here is a teacher that IS for the children. Too bad I went to Ben Franklin.
Kathy Shurilla May 18, 2013 at 10:55 PM
Judy Berry is a gem. I am so thankful two of my children got to be in her wonderful classroom. She has inspired countless kids over the five decades she's taught. Thank you, Mrs. Berry, for your outstanding dedication to children in Menomonee Falls.
Kathy Shurilla May 18, 2013 at 11:02 PM
Nuitari, Mrs. Berry would be the first to tell you there are many, many teachers that ARE for children throughout the Falls. I'd be willing to take you through the schools and introduce you to them all. Your second comment is hurtful.
Kristen Petersen Staszak May 18, 2013 at 11:08 PM
I wonder if she remembers me breaking a potted plant she had on her desk? Somehow my bow from the back of my blouse got caught on it...and crash!! :'( This had to be about '78-'79
Carrie Edwards May 19, 2013 at 02:19 AM
Mrs. Berry taught students far more than the 4th grade curriculum. She is beloved by many! Thank you Mrs. Berry, you will be missed!
Judi Boettcher May 19, 2013 at 03:12 AM
I can't believe you will finally leave Shady Lane! I know you will be missed by the kids, parents and the staff there. I've not had a student there for many years, but I know how much my kids (only 1 had you out of 3) adored you. You are loved and will be missed, even by those no longer at Shady Lane!
Moriah Cummens Simpson May 19, 2013 at 04:31 AM
Congrats, Mrs. Berry ... My favorite elementary teacher. I loved your passion for teaching and for animals. You've inspired many, including my two siblings and me - we all were blessed to learn in your classroom.
Nuitari (Grand Master Editor) May 19, 2013 at 12:10 PM
I agree. I have had the privilege to experience these teachers with the exception of a few fuddy duddies throughout my entire time through the district. That was then though, and I cannot attest to the quality now after all these Act 10 tantrums. I only hope my children will be afforded the same quality education I received and teachers such as Ms. Berry delivered.
Erin Wentworth May 20, 2013 at 02:20 AM
Mrs. Berry-Everytime I think of my childhood, I think of you! I have such fond memories of you as my teacher! You even took me to the zoo during the summer. You inspired me to get into teaching and to love learning. You believed in me! I could see you years later, and you still remembered me! When you found out that I went into teaching, you were so happy, it made my heart melt! You have touched so many lives and made me into the caring, motivated person I am today! Thank you!
james May 20, 2013 at 06:30 PM
my two brothers, sister and I all had judy. an absolutely wonderful person.

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