06 Jun 2018

Bermuda & The Saltus Grammar School Salutes Jon Beard

Jon Beard clocks up 40 years in teaching in Bermuda. At the age of 24, a fresh faced Jon Beard landed in Bermuda to start just his second job in teaching with no idea that the Island would become his home for the next four decades.

Taking up his new job as Head of PE at Saltus Grammar School, he could not have imagined he would still be at the same school 40 years later.

“Whilst in school, I didn’t even think about teaching, but once I got on that path everything simply seemed right ” said Mr Beard. “From being interested when it was suggested at a school assembly when I was 17, to going to teacher training college, to university and then to teach, I didn’t give it too much thought about the hard work involved. I was enjoying it and still do.

“I can still remember my first day of teaching practice - which is amazing as I can’t remember my own name half the time -  and the feeling of achievement and satisfaction at having taught a skill to a group of students that they had seemed to enjoy learning was incredible! I’m sure that is why people teach.”

To celebrate ‘40 outstanding years of making a difference’, Saltus Alumni Association will be holding a dinner on June 30 at the Hamilton Princess. The proceeds will go to the Alumni Scholarship Fund – an inaugural scholarship which aims to assist children of alumni who need assistance, to bring their passion for learning to Saltus.

The assembly that started it all was in Dursley Grammar School, Gloucestershire, England, and from there Mr Beard attended Madeley College of Education,  a specialist PE college, and then Keele University. He later obtained a Masters, from the University of Leicester.

His first job was at a school in Herefordshire for two years, before landing in Bermuda where he was Head of PE at Saltus for 25 years, Head of SGY for 10 years, Director of Alumni Relations for two years and now Deputy Head with responsibility for Advancement, for the last three years.

Mr Beard lists three highlights of his career as “getting my first job in a school in the UK where I taught for two years”, “getting my second job, at Saltus” and being “instrumental in the building of the Haygarth Gym and the Saltus Pool”.

“In terms of changes that have most impacted students here? I would say that the construction of the Goose Gosling Centre was very important as it pulled the school together physically, and also pulled the many departments into a closer more cohesive unit.

“Also, the development of the Advanced Placement programme at Saltus has prepared students more completely for university education.”

Mr Beard added: “I’m fortunate in that I’ve always worked with a terrific group of students, parents and teachers. Obviously the technology in the classroom has changed. I started with a blackboard and chalk, but it doesn’t make the job easier -  just different.

“The greatest changes have perhaps been moving  from a somewhat austere, basic buildings and environment to the bright, vibrant campus we enjoy today.

“I’ve been in the profession so long -  and at one place for so long - but one thing that has not changed is that our students are still outgoing, friendly, academic and caring. I enjoy coming to work.”

During his time in Bermuda, Mr Beard has been actively involved in many community organisations. He is a trustee at the National Sports Centre, Chairman of YouthNet, Chairman of the Bermuda Island Games Association, a member of the Bermuda Olympic Association; and has been: a member of the Bermuda Football Association Executive, Coach of the Bermuda Football Association Youth teams, President of the Bermuda Athletic Association, Chairman of Bermuda Council for Drug Free Sport (became Bermuda Sport Anti-Doping Authority) and Chairman of the Bermuda Schools Sports Federation.

“My parents instilled in me that if you live in a community you must be active in it -  don’t stand around moaning about something  - do something about it,” he said.

Head of School Deryn Lavell paid tribute to Mr Beard saying: “In my first year here at Saltus, I can’t imagine a better colleague and now friend than Jon. His sense of humour, thoughtful advice and yes, long memory, have really helped me get to know this dynamic school.

“Jon is a very respected member of the Saltus staff and the Bermuda community generally through his active  involvement with so many organisations. It is a great pleasure and privilege to work with Jon.”

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