Teacher Tribute: Hillary Beach


H. Beach

Holding her son Theo, Mrs. Beach takes on raising her child and teaching full-time like a champ. Her resilient attitude and dedication to teaching is admirable to her students and fellow teachers.

Hannah Hortman, Staff Reporter

  Mrs. Beach always knew she wanted to be a history teacher because of the impactful history teachers who taught her throughout high school. She went to East Carolina University and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in History and Secondary Education. Mrs. Beach soon found herself back at Millbrook, teaching at the high school where she was once a student. She said, “I loved the idea of coming back to my own high school and continuing that legacy.” She has been teaching for nine years, eight of which have been at Millbrook. 

  Mrs. Beach teaches two humanities courses: Civics and Economics and AP Psychology. In her Civics classes, Mrs. Beach strives to teach her students how to become better citizens and encourages them to apply what they learn to their own lives. For AP Psychology, Mrs. Beach approaches this course with the mindset that these students are taking an AP class for the first time and need to be taught what college rigor is all about. She also sees AP Psychology as a social-emotional learning opportunity where she can support students in ways that other courses may not be able to. 

  Teachers are more than just educators. They have lives outside of the classroom as well. During the 2019-2020 school year, Mrs. Beach was on maternity leave for most of the fall semester. With the help of her long-term substitute, Mrs. Stefanou, she was able to provide her AP Psychology students with all of the resources they needed to be successful. Students had to adjust to the asynchronous style of learning in which students were provided a schedule for when assignments, quizzes, and tests were due. Junior Lindsey Ioos said, “I liked not being restricted by a teacher’s plans, but when she came back, it was nice to have more in-depth instruction on certain topics.” While on maternity leave, Mrs. Beach gave reading materials, electronic resources, and classwork to help her students grasp a better understanding of concepts.

  In the past, she served as a sponsor for Mock Trials where students were guided through the extensive process that lawyers go through to successfully defend their clients in court. At the first Mock Trials competition she ever attended, Mrs. Beach recalled being extremely proud of all the students who had put in the time and effort to adequately prepare for cases. Mrs. Beach was also the African Student Association advisor for two years. At each meeting, student leaders would focus on a different country or dedicate the time to practicing cultural dances. She described this experience as a sharing of culture and community for students who did not feel like they had a place to belong. 

  Mrs. Beach rarely seems phased by the overwhelming challenges that come with balancing work and home life. She pushes herself to stay involved in the school community while also taking care of her son, Theo. This year she is the advisor for Psychology Club. She sees the club as a chance to explore fascinating topics that are not necessarily part of the AP curriculum. She explained that the club makes psychology accessible to students and also teaches them how to cope with the social-emotional aspects of their lives. In regards to her home life, she has recently taken up baking as a way to de-stress. Mrs. Beach also enjoys regular exercise and loves outdoor activities such as going to the beach or hiking. Mrs. Beach has demonstrated incredible perseverance and deserves to be recognized for her excellence within the Millbrook community.