VERDE VALLEY EDUCATOR OF THE WEEK: Dave Beery
Social Studies teacher, boys basketball coach Mingus Union High School, Cottonwood
COTTONWOOD – If Dave Beery was to change careers, he’d probably endeavor to become a chef.
“I like trying new things in the kitchen, and learning about different foods, flavors, techniques,” he says.
Good for his students and his student-athletes that Beery has no plans to leave Mingus Union, nor plans to reinvent himself.
It’s also good for Beery’s boss, who calls him “the heart of Mingus.”
“The heart that does what’s right for students,” says Genie Gee about Beery. “The heart that leaves it all on the court. The heart that is willing to try new approaches to serving students.
“The heart that unites staff and the big heart that shows he’s in the career he was meant to be in,” Gee says. “Dave is a loving family man, a great teacher, an inspiring coach, and an amazing person.”
Beery has a “calm, laid back attitude which his students appreciate,” says Mingus Union history teacher Cindy Bruchman.
“His projects are fun in the classroom and he knows his material,” Bruchman says. “Students love taking his classes.”
Says Mingus Union history teacher Susanna Ventura, Beery is “knowledgeable, professional, selfless, and has a great sense of humor, which he brings with him into his classroom every single day.”
“He is always willing to help, willing to offer a thoughtful and heartfelt opinion, and contributes so much to our learning community,” Ventura says.
It wasn’t Beery’s plan to teach, he says. But there came a point when he “needed a change,” he says because he “wasn’t ambitiously following a career path.”
“I got a part-time job coaching middle school basketball, a sport I love,” Beery recalls. “After that, I realized I loved working with kids, and immediately began pursuing teaching as a profession and substitute teaching when I could.”
“Facilitator, I guess. I haven’t really been asked this outside of interviews. I think the projects that work best in my classroom are the ones that allow students discussion, questioning, and some independent responsibility.”
“My current favorite quote? ‘The proper function of man is to live – not to exist.’”
“If my AP Psychology students quoted me? ‘Correlation does not equal causation.’”
“If my basketball players quoted me? ‘Way to finish through contact.’”
DID YOU KNOW?
In high school and in his first few years of college, Beery says he had “no desire” to be a teacher.
“I often felt I had teachers who were not doing a great job, or were not knowledgeable enough in their field to teach others,” he says. “It was not a profession that appealed to me until I started working with youth.”
When Beery decided he wanted to teach, it was mathematics he originally wanted to teach.
“But soon realized I was better at doing math than teaching it,” he says.
Beery likes to cook, he says. “I like trying new things in the kitchen, and learning about different foods, flavors, techniques.”