Liz Baer is the Alumni Council’s Communications & Engagement Committee Chair. As a lifer at Friends, which in Liz’s day was 14 years, Liz has always been devoted to the School. “I have felt very fortunate to have been shaped by the Quaker values that help me see the world the way I do. When Michael contacted me to consider joining the Alumni Council, I thought this might be a way I could contribute something meaningful.” Liz remains in contact with her fellow alums through a number of social media platforms. “Just recently I was able to see Terri Bender Greewald ’81 because of a Facebook post which alerted me to the fact that she was going to be in my area!”
In Liz’s day job, she spends her time trying to emulate Phil Schwartz. “I've been teaching Latin (and sometimes Greek or English) for more years than I care to count. I’ve worked with students in grades 6-12, in both independent and public schools.” Liz also enjoys her side gigs: writing a food column for the Berkshire Eagle, her regional newspaper, and posting her columns to her blog, culinursa.com; proofreading and copyediting. Liz gives special thanks to Kathy McKay ’76 for numerous referrals. Kathy was also a favorite babysitter when Liz’ sister, Linda ’85, and she were kids. In addition Liz tutors high school students in Latin and Greek on Zoom.
One of the aspects that stood out for Liz as a student at Friends was how the teachers showed an appreciation for student work relative to each student’s progress on the educational journey. Liz also takes into consideration in what ways each student is succeeding or struggling rather than having any one set, absolute goal for everyone. “I have worked with plenty of talented Latin students, but the students who make me feel most proud are those whom I can support through their struggles, whether with the material itself or whether due to poverty, family dysfunction, or something else.” According to Liz, the Quaker education has also allowed her to value the moments in between, in the silence when she can “reflect, recharge, or even just relax.”
As for Liz’s fondest memory at Friends, Liz shares, “In an overarching way I treasure the relationships I developed with my teachers. Then there are the memories that make me chuckle, like when Ms. Young, in second grade, had us sing “Joy to the World” for an assembly—the Three Dog Night song—and had the boys alone sang the verse that started, “You know I love the ladies…” That would never happen today! Or when I was sent to the “think-it-over bench” in K-4. I loved the way that in the lower grades teachers could create units on things that were interesting to them, which included a production of the Rama and Sita story with Ms. Hayeem in fourth grade. I loved the English electives in high school. The department took my class up on our proposal to teach a class called American Film and Fiction with Ann Sullivan for which we would read the book and then see the movie. This was in the days when VHS was just beginning, long before everything was readily available with the click of a mouse!”
Looking ahead to her work leading the Communications & Engagement Committee in the new year Liz says, “One of the most exciting endeavors will be to develop ways for alumni to connect for career networking, information, or advice. We may come from different generations, but I hope that with the common foundation of a Friends education, alumni can offer support and collegiality to one another.”
In the future, Liz hopes to continue to enjoy the varied facets of her life—Latin and Greek, cooking, proofreading—as well as time with family and friends. “Mostly I hope that the new year will bring more peace, justice, and health to our world.”