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Judy Beirne Spent 40 Years as an Educator

Apr 24, 2014 08:25PM ● By Steven Jack

Submitted photo

Judy Beirne, Second Grade Teacher Homestead Elementary 

Years with district: 19

“Mrs. Beirne has been a ‘big cheese’ at Homestead since our doors opened in 2002. We are grateful for her dedication to our students, staff, and community. If anyone had a need, Judy was there to lend her time and talents. Her smile and presence will be greatly missed.”

Principal Melinda Renier, Homestead Elementary

Judy Beirne, who spent 40 years as an educator, joined the district in 1995 as a first grade teacher at Long Beach Elementary. 

During her 19-years with the district, she served as part of the original teaching teams at Old Post, The Wheatlands, and Homestead elementary schools. After eight years of teaching first grade, she “graduated” to teaching second grade. As a district employee, Beirne served on several committees including elementary curriculum, district technology, and elementary math and science. 

She was also a member of Homestead’s building leadership team and school webmaster. She initiated the Homestead Information Team, called the H.I.T. Squad, which invites third, fourth, and fifth grade students to research and write school and community news articles that are then published on the school’s website. She was a co-sponsor of the Homestead Yearbook Club and taught several Homestead Enrichment for Youth (H.E.Y.) after-school classes.

She received her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Valparaiso University in 1974 and her master’s from National Lewis University in 1995. Prior to joining the district, she taught fifth grade, worked as a substitute teacher, taught preschool while raising four sons, served as a preschool director, and taught kindergarten.

Some of her most unique memories stem from her classroom pets, including the time one of her classes at Long Beach hatched a duckling. “Durby, a white Pekin duck, imprinted on our first grade class and followed us everywhere. He would line up for outside recess and cuddle up in someone’s lap when it was story time,” Beirne recalled. “At Old Post, I had an adorable tan-and-white bunny, ‘Nibbles.’ My teammate, Stephanie Gorscak Thomas, also came to possess a classroom bunny, ‘Sydney.’ The rabbits were so cute when they played together and chased each other between our two classrooms. It was cute until mine went into labor the evening of parent teacher conferences. I am pretty sure that I contributed to the reason ‘no classroom pets’ was written into the elementary school handbooks.”

Beirne eventually plans to relocate to her retirement home in western Michigan. “I hope to remain involved with young children through my hobby of puppet ministry and possibly part- time teaching or tutoring,” she said. She is looking forward to spending more time with her grandchildren, including the newest addition expected in early October, and having lot of pets. 

Courtesy Oswego District 308