Jess Richardson

Teacher Profile:
I am a native of the Seacoast area, raised in Portsmouth, NH and currently living in Dover, NH with my husband and 14 year old son, who will be a freshman at Berwick this fall. I started my teaching career at a small, private school in Maine, Hebron Academy, teaching 6th, 7th, and 8th grade History. I fell in love with the unique sense of community and comradery that living and working in a private school setting provides. After 11 years of teaching in public schools, both in Exeter and Greenland, I feel like I have finally returned to familiar ground. I hold dual certification; K-8 Regular Education and K-12 Special Education, and have taught a variety of grade levels, most recently 5th and 6th at Greenland Central School. I have a strong passion for anything to do with the outdoors, hiking and kayaking being my favorite pastimes, and dream of someday hiking the Appalachian Trail.   

Why do you love teaching Fourth Grade?
I am thrilled to be teaching 4th grade, an age group that is so enthusiastic and joyous about learning and school in general. My own son started at BA in 4th grade and he still refers to that year as his favorite year ever. It is my goal to create that same experience for my own students, to build on their interests and energy, so that they too have “the best year ever”.

What defines a great teacher? 
I believe a great teacher has to be a great learner as well. I remember my favorite teachers as the one’s that inspired a love of learning. I have had many students who were wonderful teachers simply because of their enthusiasm to share their interests and knowledge. I believe a great teacher encourages that desire to know more. Sometimes, great teaching happens when we simply provide the resources and challenges and get out of the way.

What is your favorite lesson to teach?
I couldn’t begin to pinpoint a favorite lesson, or even a favorite subject, however, I do tend to get a little more excited about certain units.  For example, I LOVE to teach fractions, and no matter how many times I read the book Because of Winn Dixie, I can’t seem to get sick of it.  

What is your classroom motto?
I believe in the importance of creating a safe and comfortable learning environment where students are at ease asking questions, exploring, and making mistakes.  Creating a strong sense of community, building empathy and compassion within the classroom, are as important as the actual curriculum.   I believe in providing learning experiences that are differentiated for all learners, student focused, and high interest. I love helping students develop a healthy ability to respect mistakes as positive learning experiences and to persevere when faced with difficult learning challenges.
Berwick Academy, situated on an 80-acre campus just over one hour north of Boston, serves 600 students, Pre-Kindergarten through grade 12, from Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine. Deeply committed to its mission of promoting virtue and useful knowledge, Berwick Academy empowers students to be creative and bold. Berwick strives to graduate alumni who shape their own learning, take risks, ask thoughtful questions, and come to understand and celebrate their authentic selves. Founded in 1791 and rooted in a tradition of college preparation, our culture of innovation prepares students for a complex and dynamic world.