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Alumni Spotlight: Beth (Farnham) Peske

Beth PeskeBrookfield East Class of 1987

Beth Peske is a World Languages teacher at Brookfield East, helping new generations of students foster the same love for language that Elmbrook inspired in her many years ago.

Peske grew up in a family that valued education and she learned a lot from her father through his service on the Elmbrook school board. Beth started her journey at Tonawanda Elementary and then continued to Pilgrim Park Middle School before a district map shift took her to Burleigh Junior High and finally Brookfield East. At East, Peske played soccer, basketball, softball, and was involved in band and Spanish Club. She still keeps in touch with several of her friends from BEHS and has fond memories of her time there.

"I loved the pod structure and space flexibility at Tonawanda and how that environment helped me learn," said Peske. "Elmbrook prepared me well for college, and I knew my teachers and coaches cared about me, while pushing me me to do my best." Peske highlighted several teachers; Carol Grievell (Elementary), Jeff Stark (Spanish), Al Gusho (Soccer Coach), Jeanette Wojcuik-Graf (Spanish), Donn Goodwin (Latin), Earl Orlebeke (Science), and Francis Mitchell (Science) for their lasting impacts on her and for making learning, language, and coaching her lifelong passions.

Following her graduation from East in 1987, Beth attended Colorado College where she ran track, played ultimate frisbee, participated as a player and coach for their club soccer team, and completed work study jobs. She graduated cum laude from Colorado College in 1991 with a Bachelors in Comparative Literature and a thematic minor in Central American culture and society. Her first teaching position was at St. Andrew's Episcopal School in Jackson, Mississippi where she taught high school Spanish and coached varsity girls' soccer and track and field.

Two years later, Peske returned to Colorado to teach Spanish and coach varsity soccer at Colorado Academy (CA) in Denver where she taught for a total of ten years. During her time there she became a mentor teacher and created a new course offering in her department. Beth also won several coaching awards during her tenure at CA including the National Soccer Coaches Association of America's Coach of the Year for Private and Parochial schools in 2000, following her team's victory at the state tournament. Even when she decided to stay home with her young children she taught Spanish to K-3 students after school at Free Horizon Montessori school in Golden through her connection with the Elementary Spanish Program.

During her time in Colorado, Beth met and married her husband, Chris, a fellow Wisconsinite. In 2005, they decided to move back to Wisconsin and she began teaching at Brookfield East part-time. She began teaching full-time at Brookfield East in 2007 and earned her Masters in Education from Concordia University in 2008. "The people I work with and the relationships I have developed with staff and students are my favorite part of teaching," stated Peske. "I love sharing my passion for learning and connecting my students to each other and our community. I stress the value in learning another language and being able to communicate effectively with my students, regardless of the career path they choose. Being able to give back to the community that raised me is a truly empowering and special experience."

Today, Beth and her husband have two children, Maya and Cole, love to travel and participate in a variety of outdoor sports. Beth is also an advisor of the Spanish Honor Society, a member of the Equity Team, and co-leads bi-yearly student trips to Spanish-speaking countries . In 2018, the Equity Team was recognized with an Impact Award at BEHS and her World Languages Department was recognized as a finalist for Excellence in Teamwork at the Engaged in Excellence Awards.

 


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