Ms. Berish’s contributions go well beyond the roles she has held at Windward. Thanks to her forethought, passion, and dedication, she and a small group of educators formed the foundation upon which thousands of lives (students, their family members, and Ms. Berish’s colleagues) have been transformed. Her impact will be felt for generations to come.
Ms. Berish has proudly served at The Windward School since 1977 when the former Westchester Lower School at 13 Windward Avenue housed grades 1-8. Over the decades, Ms. Berish has seen Windward change from a small, independent school that spanned, at times, and served all the way from kindergarteners to high schoolers, into a premier, internationally recognized program for students with language-based learning disabilities that serves 941 students across four campuses in grades 1-9.
Beginning as an assistant teacher for a combined fifth-and sixth-grade class, Ms. Berish quickly learned the skillful practices of following an evidence-based curriculum to teach reading from her mentor teachers. At the time, Windward had about 70-80 students total per year, but Ms. Berish recalls that she and her colleagues had a dream to see Windward flourish into a more structured program and grow to reach more children. The passion to see that dream through is what has kept Ms. Berish fulfilled for the past 44 years.
After serving as an assistant teacher for two years, the late Margaret Stanback, Ed.D., asked Ms. Berish if she would like to work together on administering admissions testing and overseeing the tutoring program, to which Ms. Berish agreed. They worked side-by-side for 25 years until Ms. Berish took over full responsibilities as Dr. Stanback retired. In her role, Ms. Berish has been instrumental in conducting testing for admissions applicants and overseeing achievement testing for Windward students at the beginning and end of each school year. Additionally, she oversaw and trained tutors when additional support for students was needed. Ms. Berish has also been an esteemed faculty member of The Windward Institute and led professional development workshops on interpretation of testing results for the classroom.
As Ms. Berish has noted, her tenure has been guided by a lifelong love and success for Windward students. She remarked, “I never wanted to be anywhere else.” In her next chapter, she looks forward to well-deserved time reading in her home library, spending time with family and friends, travelling safely, and attending the opera.
More details will be shared soon on ways to recognize Ms. Berish’s contributions and those of our other esteemed retirees, Ms. Zuckerwise and Mr. Littell.
The entire Windward community wishes Ms. Berish well in her retirement, and her steady presence will be truly missed by the community. So many in our community have been helped, guided, or somehow positively impacted by Ms. Berish and her commitment to Windward.